By KBB.com Editors
Suzuki's reputation was built, at least in part, with small and rugged SUVs, but changing market conditions and rising gasoline prices are placing emphasis on more efficient cars. So, building on the success of its SX4 subcompact, for 2010 Suzuki is introducing the all-new mid-size Kizashi sedan. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominate the mid-size sedan market, and there are numerous other strong contenders, but even in that tough arena this new Kizashi is a solid entrant. With up-level interior appointments, eye-catching style, a generous list of standard features and a modest asking price, the Kizashi is a very appealing choice in Suzuki's efforts to win the hearts and minds of car buyers.You'll Like This Car If...
You might like the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi if you want a mid-size sedan with lots of features and style but don't want to spend a lot of money. The Kizashi also has a fun-to-drive nature that should appeal to drivers who are actually young – or just young at heart.You May Not Like This Car If...
You might not like the Kizashi if you prefer major name brands. Suzuki is making substantial strides with its lineup, but Honda, Toyota and some others still hold stronger positions in the minds of the car-buying public – as well as better residual values.What's Significant About This Car?
Suzuki partnered with Daewoo for its previous mid-size offering, the lackluster and ultimately unsuccessful Verona. This time around Suzuki handled the engineering and design work itself. The result is the 2010 Kizashi, a car that may transform the way consumers look at Suzuki-badged automobiles.Driving It Driving Impressions
Suzuki is well known for its small SUVs, but based on our time in the 2010 Kizashi, it also has a solid grasp on how a car should drive, ride and feel. A solid structure, well crafted interior and good exterior design result in a relatively quiet, rattle-free freeway ride, while a well-sorted suspension gives the Kizashi a nimble cornering feel without sacrificing ride quality. Whether paired with the easy-shifting manual transmission or the seamless and quick-reacting continuously-variable transmission (CVT) we found the Kizashi's four-cylinder engine to be a strong performer – as long as it's kept in the higher rev ranges. Some buyers will long for the extra power of a V6, but most should find the four-cylinder meets their needs.Favorite Features
Rockford Fosgate Audio System
Music fans who step up to the GTS and SLS trims will enjoy the awesome sound of a 10-speaker, 425-watt audio system. Tight lows, crisp highs and zero buzzing or rattles (even at deafening audio levels) make this one of our favorite features.
We wouldn't usually focus on something as mundane as sun visors, but lots of miles spent driving the Kizashi with the sun low on the horizon proved the effectiveness of its sun visor extensions.
Like the exterior, the interior of the Suzuki Kizashi appears to have been plucked from a more expensive car. Red backlit gauges, modern metallic trim and extensive use of soft-touch materials give the Kizashi a premium look and feel. And, although it is smaller inside than all its key competitors, there is still ample room for front and rear-seat passengers. At 13.3 cubic feet, the Kizashi's trunk is also slightly smaller than those of its competitors, but we found enough space for a decent amount of luggage and split-folding rear seats help accommodate bulkier cargo.
There was an era when cheap cars looked, well, cheap. The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is one of a new breed of cars that look stylish in spite of their modest prices. Up front, the vehicle's nose is dominated by a prominent grille opening flanked by large headlights, while the sides feature bulging round fenders and a distinct shoulder line that accentuate the width and planted stance of the Kizashi. In back, shapely tail lights, a kicked up spoiler-like trunk lid and attractive chrome exhaust surrounds complete the Kizashi's stylish design.
Considering the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi's modest asking price, its long standard feature list is impressive. That list includes keyless entry and engine start, power windows, power mirrors, automatic dual-zone climate control and a seven-speaker audio system with steering-wheel controls and a USB input. Supplementing the standard equipment list is a similarly impressive list of standard safety features, including anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and eight airbags. Among the eight standard airbags are rear-seat side impact airbags, which are typically found only on premium automobiles.Notable Optional Equipment
Buyers who want to upgrade the Kizashi must move up to higher trim levels. Features offered include fog lights, a moonroof, heated power-adjustable front seats, cruise control, 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels and a leather-trimmed interior. Included on GTS and SLS trims is an excellent 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. All-wheel drive is offered at additional cost on all Kizashi trims, while a navigation system combined with a rear-view camera is available only on GTS and SLS versions.Under the Hood
The only engine offered for the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder. An optional V6 or turbocharged four-cylinder is rumored for the future but most drivers will find the current engine plenty powerful for daily driving, at least when it's kept in the middle and upper rev ranges. Manual transmission-equipped models felt slightly quicker leaving from a stop than their continuously-variable transmission-equipped counterparts, but in all other regards the CVT performed quite nicely. Front-wheel drive is standard for the Kizashi, while all-wheel drive is offered as an option for all trim levels – but is available only with the continuously-variable transmission.
2.4-liter in-line 4
185 horsepower @ 6500 rpm (with manual transmission)
180 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (with CVT)
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 (manual, 16-inch wheels), 20/29 (manual, 17/18-inch wheels), 23/31 (CVT, FWD, 16-inch wheels), 23/30 (CVT, FWD, 17/18-inch wheels), 23/30 (AWD with 16-inch wheels), 22/29 (AWD with 17/18-inch wheels)
At a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $19,500 the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi undercuts the base prices of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Mazda6 by several hundred dollars. Opting for the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) adds $1,500, while all-wheel drive tacks on an additional $1,250. When fully equipped with all-wheel drive and navigation, the price for the range-topping SLS trim tops out around $29,000. To find out what smart buyers are really paying for this vehicle, check its Fair Purchase Price before heading to your local Suzuki dealership. While we expect the Kizashi to hold its value better than Suzuki is traditionally known for, we also expect its competitors from Toyota, Honda and Mazda to offer superior residual values over time.