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2012 Suzuki Kizashi

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2012 Suzuki Kizashi Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.4

The 2012 Kizashi is arguably the most important car in Suzuki’s meager and aging automotive lineup, which includes three of its own models and a Nissan-supplied pickup. The Kizashi sedan was introduced as a 2010 model and represents the newest vehicle for the Japanese automaker. Its name translates loosely to “something great is coming,” and was meant to rejuvenate Suzuki’s U.S. auto division. While the success of the car’s long-term mission is still to be determined, in the here and now the Kizashi represents one of the few bright spots for the automaker. Available in front or all-wheel drive, the 5-passenger Kizashi has a budget-friendly price and offers solid handling, power and fuel economy in a package that looks good on the inside and great on the outside.

You'll Like This Car If...

Standing out from the crowd is a strong suit for the Kizashi, which, in addition to being relatively new, doesn’t sell in the big numbers of most of its competitors. All-wheel drive is a smart option for those who travel in inclement weather and, because the Kizashi was targeted at premium, slightly larger cars, such as the Acura TSX, instead of compacts such as the Toyota Corolla, this underdog was built to do more for less.

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Regardless of how good a car or its warranty may be, without a strong dealer network behind it the customer can end up losing out when it comes to service and repairs. Suzuki franchise dealers have been dwindling for years now, and its vehicle lineup in general continues to fly under the radar. Also, the Kizashi may require some explaining from its owner, not the least of which is how to pronounce its name: “kee-zah-shee.”

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Kizashi carries over mostly unchanged from 2011, in which the Sport version, that included lighter alloy wheels and aerodynamic modifications, became available with the GTS and SLS upper trim levels. The base S continues as is, while leather seating is now an option for the mid-level SE version.

Driving the Kizashi
Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi feels solid and relatively comfortable. Despite what those big tailpipes might suggest, the Kizashi is not fast, but posts decent 0-60-mph times around...

... the 8-second range, depending upon the transmission. Speaking of which, in the Kizashi we actually prefer the CVT automatic (with available paddle shifters) over the 6-speed manual. For models equipped with Suzuki’s “intelligent all-wheel-drive” (i-AWD), a driver can easily switch between front-drive and an AWD mode that can split the torque 50/50 between the front and rear wheels for superior traction. In everyday driving, the Kizashi provides commendable driving dynamics while also offering pleasant around-town comfort.

SIZE AND CARGO CAPACITY
At 183.1 inches in length, the 2012 Kizashi is larger than most compact sedans but smaller than those in the midsize category. This in-between sizing pays off with increased rear-seat legroom and generous cargo capacity in an easy-to-park package.

ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Rare among cars of this price and size, this option adds an extra measure of driving confidence by giving the Kizashi additional grip on any road surface. For those living where it snows, it’s another reason to put the Kizashi on your consideration list.

2012 Suzuki Kizashi Details
Interior

While the interior is more conservative than the exterior might suggest, the Kizashi’s cabin is inviting and laid out well. Front seats are supportive and comfortable, and rear legroom is roomy but still not greater than the space found in the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic sedans. Among the highlights is the tactile feel of the Suzuki’s controls, such as the steering-wheel-mounted audio functions. The trunk is spacious for this class, and the rear seats split and fold for added capacity.

Exterior

One of the best aspects of the 2012 Kizashi is the aggressive look that sets it apart from popular compacts such as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and even the relatively fresh Kia Forte. A forward stance, large honeycombed grille, short rear end and a pair of large trapezoidal tailpipes give the Kizashi a sporty appearance. Sport GTS and Sport SLS versions have a slightly lower ground clearance and an even sleeker profile. Move up from the 16-inch steel wheels on the base version to the 18-inch alloys, and you’ll be rewarded with a truly premium look.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Except for the glaring omission of a radio as standard, even the basest of 2012 Suzuki Kizashi models comes comfortably equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat vents, keyless entry with push-button start, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and eight air bags, all at a price under $20,000. Laudably, all Kizashi models use a timing chain instead of a belt to drive the camshafts in the engine, meaning less worry and maintenance down the road.

Optional Equipment

All-wheel drive can be added to any trim level of the Kizashi, meaning you can get an AWD automatic S model for just over $23,000. Other ways to spruce up the sedan include a 10-speaker, 425-watt Rockford Fosgate AM/FM/CD audio system with subwoofer, navigation unit, Bluetooth streaming audio, leather seating, redwood dash trim and rear sonar-based parking assist. Skiers will appreciate not only the rear-seat pass-through, but the optional ski bag to keep the interior clean and dry.

Under the Hood

All Kizashi models are powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that runs on regular unleaded gasoline. Transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or CVT automatic. Perhaps disappointing some enthusiasts, the 6-speed is available only with front drive. The engine provides enough thrust to confidently get the Kizashi up to speed and for passing purposes, but it’s not exactly a tarmac burner.

2.4-liter in-line 4 cylinder
185 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm (manual transmission)
180 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (with CVT automatic transmission)
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Kizashi S: 21/31 (manual, FWD), 23/31 mpg (CVT, FWD), 23/30 mpg (CVT, AWD)
Kizashi SE: 23/30 mpg (CVT, FWD), 22/29 mpg (CVT, AWD)
Kizashi Sport GTS: 20/29 mpg (manual, FWD), 23/30 mpg (CVT, FWD), 22/29 mpg (CVT, AWD)
Kizashi Sport SLS: 23/30 mpg (CVT, FWD), 22/29 mpg (CVT, AWD)

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2012 Suzuki Kizashi Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.5
Out of 10

Based on 64 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Luxury sedan for less! Best car ever owned

By on Monday, July 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "AWDi system, Rockford fosgate 425 watts, size"

Cons: "Fuel economy not very good in city/traffic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I owned a few cars in my life (two Audi A4, Acura TSX, etc.) and this is the best car by a good margin. The handling is top notch, very reliable, audio system is incredible (same as BOSE quality), the look makes heads turn, etc. No issues yet (40k miles). I have an habit of changing car every 2 or 3 years, but I am planning on keeping this one for another 6 years (10 years total)...that is how I like it...especially how unique it is."

Very reliable and Nice Looking Car

By on Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 151,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, high value, top safety rate"

Cons: "No rear camera, poor MPG,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"14 months ago I decided to buy a Kizashi, something that I wanted since the Kizashi was launched. I bought a 2010 SLS with 144000 miles; inside still looks like new and outside it has only some light scratches and dings due to flying objects. Other than regular maintenance, no repairs at all and still runs very strong with an average of 27 MPG combined. Recently I switched to royal purple oil for high mileage engines and MPG is going up, I estimate 29 MPG and runs smoother. I definitely recommend this car. I got it for $5600.00 and I am pretty sure that it will run flawlessly for several years to come. There is no need to pay 20, 30 or even 40 thousand dollars for a new car."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

If you could live in it, I would!

By on Sunday, September 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Beautiful, quality car"

Cons: "service network?"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Fast, nice revving sound, maneuverable, excellent brakes, quality interior, seats are firm but give great back support, Rockford Fosgate 450 W. sound system kicks and I can play my music on the phone thru Bluetooth, distinctive looks, stands out in a crowd even with far more expensive vehicles, gets looks and compliments and unfortunately tickets. Paid $12.000 for it and it is still worth that retail. May have collector value since this top of the line vehicle is no longer sold in the USA. The only complaint I have is that both front plastic seat bottom liner brackets have broken off and had to be retrofitted. Oh and watch out when you have to change the headlight bulb. You have to drop the entire plastic front end but it is easier than it sounds and there are videos on line."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

The car has treated me well. Worth the money.

By on Saturday, August 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price, good looking car, cheap on gas."

Cons: "Small interior, could be more luxuries inside"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"If you are looking for a roomy car....then this is not it. No great if you have a big family. The back seat is not that roomy. In town mileage is not so hot, however the highway mileage is impressive. The car looks good though from the outside and has a bit of a sporty edge to it in my opinion. I would recommend to someone as a great starter car that looks good and has some needed luxuries on the inside that you would expect, but it is not over the top....don't be expecting a benz on the inside."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

best car I've ever hammered relentlessly

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "handling ride MPG cabin comfort quiet reliability"

Cons: "sluggish off the line; no cheap gofast parts; low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

what others see

"Zero repairs; replaced spark plugs, brake rotors and pads one time, both headlamp bulbs, 4 license plate bulbs. And tires, lots of tires. That's it. No belts or hoses or battery or struts or shocks or nothing; nothing. Absolutely stunning ownership experience, my best ever (bought my first new car in 1974, and been piling on miles ever since). Best. Ever."

13 people out of 19 found this review helpful

what others see

After 13 Cars I've found "The One"

By on Friday, July 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Paddle shifters, power everything, memory seats"

Cons: "Mileage - Averages about 28MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I purchased this car in 2014 after going through a serious midlife crisis with a souped up Toyota FJ Cruiser. Now When I say this car has it all - I am serious - This car has it all! I took the test drive, played with the paddle shifters, jacked the bass up on the 10inch sub that comes stock and let the good times roll. So far I've driven this car from Milwaukee, WI to Nebraska - Let me just say - I drank 4 redbulls set the cruise control to 80 MPH and I covered that distance in 7.5 hours - ABSOLUTELY amazing and fun to drive - this car moves. If you know anything about downshifting gears it'll get you off the line with a chirp - LOVE IT!"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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