The Kizashi’s features, materials, seats, ride, and overall refinement are all those of a much more expensive car, and not those of a compact sedan. Key Features Dual-zone climate controls and keyless entry – coupled with convenient push-button start – give you a good solid set of base features. What we took away from our time with the Kizashi is that Suzuki spends its money in the right places, with fit and finish that are pleasing to the touch, if not to the eye. One mild reservation: the Dunlop SP Sport 7000s might be rated “all-season” tires, but their traction on snow is marginal. Handling is crisp and composed with little body lean in fast corners. The Kizashi is to play a significant role in the Suzuki Motor Company’s plan for growth.
Acceleration is strong compared with other engines of this size, and we’ve found the 2.4 to be pleasantly refined at higher rpm. Suzuki does offer all-wheel drive, but it comes only with the CVT automatic. Legroom shrinks significantly as front seats are moved rearward. Although the Kizashi trunk is fairly large and usefully shaped, sickle-shaped hinges intrude slightly on cargo space. The firm-yet-comfortable front buckets fit the bill, with side bolsters that (for once) actually provide even better lateral support than their appearance suggests they will.
High marks for comfort (particularly the front buckets), high marks for the quality of its interior appointments, and pretty good marks for fuel economy—25 mpg average for the duration of the test and well above 30 mpg on some open-road stretches. The Kizashi’s sheetmetal hasn’t changed, so the exterior styling remains much less distinctive than the car’s name suggests it ought to be. The screen readout and operation of a music player connected to the USB port is not as clear or intuitive as it should be. The SE steps up to 18-inch alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat with memory, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, iPod/USB connectivity and optional leather upholstery with heated power front seats. With the CVT, acceleration from a stop is leisurely, but power comes on more strongly when you get above 3500 rpm.