The Kizashi is to play a significant role in the Suzuki Motor Company’s plan for growth. Unlike the hatchbacks and 4x4s for which the Japanese car maker is known, this is Suzuki’s first family saloon, and is a genuinely fresh and different entrant into Europe’s traditionally crucial Mondeo class. However, Suzuki has a big ask going up against the big guns of Ford and Vauxhall, not to mention alternative offerings to the Mondeo and Insignia that come from Skoda, Volkswagen and Mazda.
The biggest hurdle in the UK for the Suzuki will be that there’s no diesel engine on offer, which at a stroke will rule out the Kizashi for the majority of the class faithful. The only available engine is a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit with 176bhp and 170lb ft of torque, mounted crossways under the bonnet and mated to a continuously variable transmission driving all four wheels.
It allows the Kizashi a fairly unique position in the UK market, offering both an automatic gearbox and switchable four-wheel drive for less than £22,000, in a class where the combination can cost more than £30k, but it lumbers the Kizashi with decidedly underwhelming fuel economy and CO2 emissions numbers.
Suzuki’s UK distributor expects to sell just 500 of these compact four-door saloons in its first year – in a segment where the most popular models will hit 50,000 units.