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.

Top 5 Family saloons

  • Ford Mondeo
    Ford's new Mondeo is offered in hatchback and estate body styles

    Ford Mondeo

    1
  • The new Volkswagen Passat is now in its eighth generation

    Volkswagen Passat

    2
  • New Mazda 6 largely carries over the styling of the striking Takeri concept that previewed it

    Mazda 6

    3
  • Skoda Octavia
    The Octavia name dates back to 1959

    Skoda Octavia

    4
  • Vauxhall Insignia
    Vauxhall's traditional family saloon is regular UK class sales champion

    Vauxhall Insignia

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    New entry-level 3 Series uses the three-pot turbo motor from the Mini Cooper. We find out if it's up to the job.
  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    This special-edition Skoda Octavia vRS 230 is the fastest Octavia ever made and the most powerful vRS version. We drive it at the Slovakia Ring
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    First UK test of Fiat's best-selling city car, which has been overhauled for 2015
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    Volkswagen reveals the second generation of its high-riding Passat Alltrack estate. We drive it for the first time on German roads.
  • First Drive
    2 September 2015
    Kia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process. We drive it for the first time