Suzuki’s strength in Australia for many decades was in small cars and capable 4WDs. Then in January 2010, it made the interesting move into medium size cars.
Kizashi is a stylish car with a powerful appearance that gives a solid look of sportiness. Then in August 2010 the Suzuki Kizashi Sport arrived. As befits its title this Kizashi has a full-on sports body kit, 18-inch alloys and lowered ride height that further enhanced it’s already strong appearance.
It took the European route of being offered with all-wheel drive for better traction on slippery surfaces. Ice, snow or rain. However it’s an AWD, not a 4WD as in Suzuki SUVs.
However, the so-called Sport is heavier than the standard front-wheel-drive, but has no more power so is slower in a straight line.
The 2.4-litre engine petrol four produces 131 kilowatts of power and 230 Newton metres of torque. This is a relatively large car so performance is adequate rather than exciting.
Transmission is by a six-speed manual or CVT automatic. The former was never particularly popular and you may be able to pick one up for a pretty reasonable price.
In August 2013 the emphasis on sporty looks was further enhanced by the fitment of the body kit used on the Sport model was installed on all models.
Suzuki Kizashi is relatively tall and provides good interior room. There’s better than average legroom in the back seat and four adults can be carried in comfort. Headroom is fine in the standard models but the sunroof in the topline Kizashis steals a fair bit of height from the back seat.
Interior stowage space is good, with large door pockets and several other areas to hold all the little nick-nacks that seem to travel everywhere with us.
Boot space is impressive thanks to the tall tail design and the opening is reasonably wide. However, you may find it difficult to get some really bulky items in.
On the road the Suzuki Kizashi feels almost European in the strength of the body. Ride comfort remains good even on rough roads and tyre/road noise are generally well subdued, though coarse-chip surfaces do raise noise levels significantly.
There is a fair number of Suzuki dealers Australian wide and the big success of the 4WD models mean there are more dealers in country and bush areas than for many other makers in a this market segment.
Insurance premiums for the Kizashi vary more than usual for this class, possibly because low sales mean that companies have statistically different experiences with them. Shop around for a good deal, but make sure you’re doing accurate comparisons.
If you are keen to get the high build quality of a Japanese vehicle, but like the chassis dynamics of a European one then a Suzuki Kizashi should be on your short list of cars.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Kizashi is a well built vehicle with a solid reputation but it still makes sense to have a professional inspection. Should you wish to do an initial inspection yourself look for the following:
Crash damage or signs of repairs, the easiest things for amateurs to spot are ripples in the body panels when viewed end on in good light; tiny paint spots on unpainted areas like glass, badges and trim.
Uneven wear on the front tyres and/or damage to the wheel rims probably indicates poor parking, but may also have been caused by a crash.
Check the condition of the interior trim, particularly in the rear seat area where it may have been knocked about by the kids.
Be sure the engine starts easily and settles into a smooth idle within a few seconds of kicking over. Ideally, do this check with the engine stone cold after an overnight stop.
The CVT automatic should be smooth and easy in operation. If you feel it’s not in the correct ratio for the conditions it might be worthwhile getting CVT expert to check it out.
Manual gearboxes that crunch on fast downchanges may be due for major repairs.
Budget on paying from $4000 to $7500 for a 2010 Suzuki Kizashi XL; $6000 to $9500 for a 2012 Touring; $7500 to $12,000 for a 2011 Sport AWD; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2013 Sport AWD; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2015 Touring; $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2016 Sport Touring; $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2015 Sport; and $15,000 to $21,000 for a 2016 Sport AWD.
CAR BUYING TIP
Buying a vehicle that’s out of the ordinary? Be aware that it could be difficult to sell a few years down the track.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/