Drive Reviews the Suzuki Kizashi

In Car Reviews by Jonathan HumphreyLeave a Comment

Cars, Cars , Cars,  a difference of opinion, The Suzuki Kizashi

I have always had a need to drive something different to everyone else. For years I drive left hand drive cars in the UK, three Lancia Delta integrales, an Autobianchi A112Abarth, the Fiat Barchetta, I then moved west to America and drove a right hand drive Porsche 356. Even with more recent purchases of Defenders and Fiat Multiplas my need to be different is just as strong.

This strangeness and desire to be different brings me on to the latest cars we are reviewing the different Suzuki Kizashi a rare car on the UK’s roads.



The Suzuki Kizashi has not been in England long, it arrived on our shores in January 2012. A luxury executive saloon from Suzuki. Did I hear someone say ‘ but Suzuki only makes small cars? Well it doesn’t the Kizashi is here now and I recommend taking a look. It won’t be everyones cup of tea, but for the right person it will fit with their lifestyle and give them years of very enjoyable motoring.

So lets delve a little deeper. In the UK the Suzuki Kizashi is a 2.4 litre All Wheel Drive 4 door Saloon with a 6-speed CVT Transmission. With an on the road price of £21995 it comes bundled and enhanced with pretty much everything you would want. This 2012 Sport Model is a drivers car, look at the bodywork muscular front, lightweight 18″  alloys wheels with all weather tyres as standard, sports steering wheel, black sports styling interior, and the twin exhaust on the rear. There is something special here and yes it is a large Suzuki.


The other thing I really liked on the Kizashi is the CVT gearbox. Continuously Variable Transmission. Whats that? A transmission that can change steplessly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios between maximum and minimum values. In contrast a normal gearbox offer a fixed number of gear ratios. The Kisashi can change gear at any revs and whenever the car needs a gear change.

On the road and when you first drive the car it does take a few miles to get used to. It isn’t quite the same as an automatic, in a lot of ways it is smoother as there are no defined ratios, it changes the gear when it needs to but again there is no feeling of a gear change. What it does do very well when you are driving is give you an immediate boost for overtaking and the car can make fairly rapid progress in a very smooth way. Yes occasionally you can get more revs than you may need, it gives you a feeling of a slipping clutch, but just the slightest lift off and then apply a bit more power and the car finds another gear and carries on smoothly. Its is very effective and easy to get used to, it also brings with it optimal power for accelerating. The car develops 178ps at 6500rpm. Not the highest for a car of this size but still quite enough for a sporty drive.

Suzuki-Kizashi-FrontThe gearbox once mastered gives the car the car a very sporty feel and even at higher speed the power can be applied very quickly. Now you may have read the car is a six speed manual, well it is but only in a way of giving the car pre-defined ratios. So you change gear via the paddle shifts by the steering wheel, or on the box shift can be selected but really doing this you aren’t doing justice to what the CVT can really do for you. Remember gears are constantly variable and I really the dynamic drive it brings, strong and refined.

The spacious interior offers plenty of leg and shoulder room, even for rear seat passengers. Seats are very comfortable and easy to get comfortable in, a key factor in comfortable long-distance travel. I did over 600 miles one day in the car and enjoyed the long drive. Additionally, ideal seat heights and large door apertures make access easy for all on board. It makes you think that the designers knew what they were doing when this was developed.

In the rear the Kizashi features a through loading system to allow for longer items to be loaded from the boot. The rear seats divide 60:40 to accommodate seating for one or two rear passengers or none, making full use of the extra boot space available. A ‘ski bag’ style load through facility is also installed for carrying longer items. There is a large armrest in the rear when this option is not required.

Suzuki-Kizashi-WheelThe bodywork and paint finish on the car were of a very high standard and the metallic grey on the car reviewed was different to others manufacturers, deeper and more metallic in appearance. The braking system brings disc brakes to all four wheels, a hill hold facility with the CVT and the braking was developed by Akebono the company that makes the Japanese bullet trains brakes.

I cannot stress how much fun I found this car, now along with the i-AWD system easily switchable on or off by a handy dashboard mounted switch. the exceptional increase in traction with the all weather tyres much surely gives this more than enough grip on any wet, icy or snowy road giving re-assurance in all weather. I would love the opportunity to drive this car over the winter months where I live.

[learn_more caption=”About the i-AWD System”] When driving in dry and normal conditions, the i-AWD system can also be operated in two wheel drive mode where drive is predominantly to the front wheels with minimum torque transmitted to the rear wheels; this is simply operated via a switch on the dashboard and can be altered when the car is in motion.

In four wheel drive (i-AWD) mode the system sends power to the rear wheels immediately upon acceleration, with torque split – up to 50:50 front/rear – remaining dependent on several factors including wheel slippage and throttle and steering input.

When in i-AWD mode, the control system monitors the vehicle operating conditions via sensors and, based on these sensed conditions will control the system power coupling device so that optimum torque is delivered to the rear wheels. This function improves driving performance on rough roads and stabilises performance in slippery conditions including snow covered ascents.

During normal constant speed driving, torque distribution to the rear wheels is reduced to almost the same degree as when in two wheel drive mode to help improve fuel consumption.

Suzuki’s latest generation i-AWD system works in combination with an advanced electronic stability control system to help add an additional layer of driver safety. In the event of over steer (when the rear wheels lose traction during cornering) the stability control electronics activates i-AWD to transfer driving force from the rear wheels to the front to help inhibit a rear wheel skid. At the same time, the system provides additional steering assist to make it easier for the driver to counter steer the car back onto the correct line.

In the event of under steer (when the front wheels are losing traction in cornering), i-AWD increases traction force to the rear wheels, reducing it to the front wheels to rectify the situation and maintain correct stability of the car. In these driving situations, this new function enhances the ABS intervention used in the earlier generation i-AWD as used in the SX4 model.[/learn_more]

It has a combined fuel consumption of 34 mpg with CO2 emissions of 191g/km. With spirited driving consumption will suffer a bit generally I achieved this consumption when driving less sportily.

Suzuki-Kizashi-RearSo to sum up, this car is worth a look, spot one if you can. It is clear this car needs more attention. Yes for me it is a complete drivers car  Suzuki’s chief engineers tested the cars throughout the world is some of the most diverse conditions over thousands of miles. There were cold weather trials in Minnesota, heat tests in Death Valley. The car’s handling was honed on challenging country roads in the UK, German autobahns and the famous Nordschleife at the Nürburgring in Germany. Suzuki are happy to say with all the effort put in by the ride and handling team this makes the Kizashi a true drivers car and one of  the finest products they have offered so far. I completely agree.

Included in the Kizashi High standard specification – 18″ alloys sports bumpers and spoilers, dual exhausts, seven airbags, leather upholstery, electric front seats with driver’s seat three position memory function, heated front seats, electric glass sunroof, cruise control, eight speaker Radio / CD system with Bluetooth and USB port. ISOFIX Child seat fitting, front and rear parking sensors, hill assist, Rear vents and heater ducts, dual zone air-con and climate control, heated door mirrors and a very useful storage pocket that will hold a bottle.

Warranty – Three-year/60,000-mile warranty

Touch screen satellite navigation is available as a dealer fitted option.

The Suzuki Kisashi Reviewed on Drive

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