The all-new Suzuki Kizashi holds the distinction of being the first ever mid-sized sedan manufactured by Suzuki.
Photos: Joel Tam
The name Kizashi as its name implies in Japanese, means a Sine of greater things to come from the Japanese manufacturer that specialises in manufacturing motorcycles, Kei cars and 4x4 vehicles, proving that Suzuki is on Tangent (pardon the mathematical puns). Being the first ever flagship Suzuki sedan, the Kizashi is set to bring a fight to the rest of the competition in a relatively competitive segment with its not so subtle Volkswagen design cues and well equipped ammenities for its class.
At first glance, though the Kizashi resembles nothing like the first three concepts, the production model is still a looker with its big headlights, continental inspired taut shoulder lines, sporty honeycomb grille showcasing the Suzuki logo on a rather curvy bonnet and huge sports alloys of 18 inches. However when looking at the Kizashi from afar, the car looks compact, due to its small front and rear overhangs. But even then, the Suzuki still offers the same kind of interior space as its intended class rivals, seating five adults comfortably and the 461 litres boot storing a maximum of four golf bags.
The highlight of the car's beauty however, stems from the rear which adheres to the same curvaceous and symmetrical design cues that flows from the front, with the addition of stainless-steel exhaust outlets that are quite Lexus-esque or Mark X-ish. But regardless which way is your preferred view, the Kizashi certainly stands out with an air of automotive athleticism on the streets. In fact I had a couple of pedestrians doing a double take when I drove past them.
Inside, the Kizashi continues with its excellent job of style and substance. The interior is undeniably premium with power adjustable seats in front, Start/Stop button, paddle shifters, luxuriously upholstered upper door panels, piano-black themed console, Rockford Fosgate sound system, foldable rear centre armrest with a cup holding compartment lid that opens with a dampened glide and more, giving you your money's worth with the bells and whistles that exceed the norm required in the mid two litre sedans.
So the car looks good on the outside and feels good on the inside, but does it drive good as well? Powering the Kizashi is a 2.4 litre VVT that is sourced from the company's highly popular SUV, the Vitara. Mated to a sports-tuned CVT drive train, the Kizashi pulls off from zero to 100 in 8.8 seconds, with 230Nm worth of torque and power from 175 horses extracted from its punchy 2.4 litre VVT four banger. And for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the CVT transmission, it differs from the usual automatic in engineering design. Instead of having set gear ratios, the CVT transmission system has an infinite number of ratios it can pick from. This way it can keep the engine in the right rev point when under full acceleration, resulting in quicker 0-100km/h times and better fuel economy overall.
On the move, the Kizashi handles well and can hold its own on some tougher corners of our test route, albeit with some hint of body roll. Though performance sedan the Kizashi is not, the car utilises a multi-link setup for its rear suspension and a standard McPherson strut layout in front that enables it to provide the driver with some smidgen of spirited driving without compromising ride comfort. Accelerating with little effort, taking corners with nimbleness, braking with typical Japanese reliability and at the same time offering a comfortable ride, the Kizashi is a seamless amalgamation of driving dynamics.
For its first ever entrant into the highly competitive mid-size segment, Suzuki has done a good job with the Kizashi, though it may not look as good as the original concept car. With its continental styling cues, amenities of sorts in relative abundance and a sporty driving experience, the Kizashi offers car buyers an alternative that is never off their tangent.