From £20,965
Suzuki’s family debutant is likable and good value, but incomplete.

Our Verdict

Suzuki Kizashi 2012-2013
Can Suzuki challenge Korea’s budget brands with its new saloon?

Can the Suzuki Kizashi challenge Korea’s budget brands?

  • First Drive

    Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT

    Suzuki’s family debutant is likable and good value, but incomplete.
  • First Drive

    Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 Sport

    Suzuki’s first family saloon shows promise as a niche alternative to a boring four-door hack

What is it?

An entrance into the UK’s sizeable family car market for Japanese car-maker Suzuki. But in that regard, the Suzuki Kizashi is definitely more dipped toe than big splash. After a market introduction in January 2012, Suzuki’s UK distributor expects to sell just 500 of these compact four-door saloons next year – in a segment where the most popular models will hit 50,000 units.

The lack of a default-to-fleet diesel engine is only part of the reason why – because the Kizashi is the first family three-box that Suzuki has ever made. And when you’re taking on cars as established as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, you set targets conservatively.

What’s it like?

Well it’s no conservative car – in fact it’s a bit of mechanical curio. With sporting styling and a dynamic, purposeful stance, the Kizashi is powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine driving all four wheels through a paddle-operated continuously variable transmission.

It has been configured to offer lots for less: close to 180 horsepower, winter-proof all-wheel drive, an automatic gearbox, a leather interior, heated electric seats and more besides. And all for around £23,000. When the cheapest all-wheel drive Vauxhall Insignia costs not a lot less than £30k. The Kizashi emits 191g/km of CO2, which isn’t going to make it cheap to tax (band J) – but for a private buyer, given the price of the car, that wouldn’t be a huge problem.

A drive in a development version of this car last autumn uncovered a drive with plenty of poise and verve – but that was a front-driven manual. The all-paw CVT car trades a big chunk of the six-speed’s involvement for everyday ease of use.

Even with paddles and a just-about-adequate manual mode, the gearbox lacks the sense of connectedness needed to engage its driver. It’s also mated to an engine that’s quite short on torque and therefore a reluctant partner for a CVT. Ask for maximum urge in the Kizashi and what eventually arrives is more than a little underwhelming: the engine spins to 6000rpm, but never really seems to deliver much force to the wheels.

The Kizashi’s steering and chassis are a shining credit to Suzuki, by contrast. The car has excellent, natural feeling steering and suspension that melds control with comfort very cleverly. The Kizashi feels balanced and responsive when cornering hard.

Should I buy one?

In all honesty, not until Suzuki GB can give it a powertrain that makes sense in the real world, not just in a Powerpoint presentation. In years to come, they say, that engine and gearbox will be offered – once there’s some kind of precedent of UK demand for the car, and bigger sales volumes can be expected.

For the time being, however, this car remains exactly what it was when last we drove it - a bit of a work in progress. It appeals a great deal on paper, and more when you realize what you get for the money. But better to wait and buy one that’s really configured with European tastes in mind.

Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT 4WD

Price: £23,000 (tbc); Top speed: 127mph; 0-62mph: 8.8sec; Economy: 34.0mpg; Co2: 191g/km; Kerbweight: 1625kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls, 2393cc, petrol; Power: 176bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 170lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox: continuously variable transmission

Join the debate

Comments
37

15 November 2011

[quote Autocar]

when you’re taking on cars as established as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, you set targets conservatively

[/quote]

Mondeo and Passat?

This car looks shorter than a Jetta which is meant to be competing with the Focus and Astra.

I'm all for choice in the UK market, but with this engine, and competing with D segment cars rather than C segment, you have to wonder why Suzuki are bothering.

15 November 2011

I quite like the Kizashi. I know that it is a very US spec kind of car, but I like it's value for money. The running costs are also justifiable thanks to the low price.

I think that this car's main rival is also a leftfield choice, the MG6.

15 November 2011

[quote Fidji]I think that this car's main rival is also a leftfield choice, the MG6[/quote]

Yes, I would imagine it is. Especially if MG ever get round to fitting the old 2.5KV6 in the 6.

I suppose another rival would be the Lancia Delta.. another C segment car that is large and leftfield.

I can't see this rivalling Mondeos and Passats, Let alone i40's, Optimas e.t.c. it is simply too small to compete with this class of car.

15 November 2011

[quote PRODIGY]Especially if MG ever get round to fitting the old 2.5KV6 in the 6.[/quote]

I didn't know about this. I really hope they do. I'm considering getting an MG6 now, but with the old V6 in place (preferably in 190bhp guise, still naturally aspirated), I would get one in a heartbeat. The Magnette of course. In TSE trim.

15 November 2011

Personally, I prefer the MG6 to the Kizashi, but I still have a soft spot for the Suzuki. They are very comparable cars. The 0-60 time for the Kizashi is 8.8 seconds,and it's 8.4 seconds for the MG6. The Suzuki does 34mpg, while the MG6 does 35mpg. CO2 emissions are equally similar, but the top end MG6 has to make do without 4WD and a CVT gearbox (which is probably a good thing). The top end MG6 comes in at under £20k though, while a similarly specced Kizashi would be about £23k. Also, I would prefer an MG badge as opposed to a Suzuki badge.

15 November 2011

[quote Fidji]

[quote PRODIGY]Especially if MG ever get round to fitting the old 2.5KV6 in the 6.[/quote]

I didn't know about this. I really hope they do. I'm considering getting an MG6 now, but with the old V6 in place (preferably in 190bhp guise, still naturally aspirated), I would get one in a heartbeat. The Magnette of course. In TSE trim

[/quote]

As far as I am aware, there are no plans to fit the old KV6... it is just wishfull thinking on my part unfortunately.

15 November 2011

[quote Fidji]Personally, I prefer the MG6 to the Kizashi, but I still have a soft spot for the Suzuki. They are very comparable cars. The 0-60 time for the Kizashi is 8.8 seconds,and it's 8.4 seconds for the MG6. The Suzuki does 34mpg, while the MG6 does 35mpg. CO2 emissions are equally similar, but the top end MG6 has to make do without 4WD and a CVT gearbox (which is probably a good thing). The top end MG6 comes in at under £20k though, while a similarly specced Kizashi would be about £23k. Also, I would prefer an MG badge as opposed to a Suzuki badge[/quote]

I guess that if the Suzuki had the option of a 2.0 4cyl, then it may be more comparable price-wise to the MG6. But the performance figures surprise me with this. Do you reckon that it is slower and less economical because of extra weight? The Kizmyasshi looks smaller to me than the MG6 but maybe it's an optical illusion.

15 November 2011

[quote PRODIGY]But the performance figures surprise me with this. Do you reckon that it is slower and less economical because of extra weight?[/quote]

Perhaps it's down to the weight. I think that it's the older 2.4 litre engine and the CVT 'box and 4WD.

I think that the Kizashi is of a similar size to the MG6.

15 November 2011

[quote PRODIGY]

[quote Fidji]

[quote PRODIGY]Especially if MG ever get round to fitting the old 2.5KV6 in the 6.[/quote]

I didn't know about this. I really hope they do. I'm considering getting an MG6 now, but with the old V6 in place (preferably in 190bhp guise, still naturally aspirated), I would get one in a heartbeat. The Magnette of course. In TSE trim

[/quote]

As far as I am aware, there are no plans to fit the old KV6... it is just wishfull thinking on my part unfortunately.

[/quote]

Thanks for getting my hopes up!

Maybe we should start a petition...

15 November 2011

[quote PRODIGY]As far as I am aware, there are no plans to fit the old KV6... it is just wishfull thinking on my part unfortunately[/quote]

Thats a real shame, i would certainly take notice of an MG6 with the V6 in it. I think you should apply for a job with them as a product planner.

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