From £20,965
Suzuki’s first family saloon shows promise as a niche alternative to a boring four-door hack

Our Verdict

Suzuki Kizashi 2012-2013

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?

Proof of the remarkable ambition of little-regarded Japanese car-maker Suzuki.

The outfit is already world-reknowned for its ability to make profitable small cars and 4x4s, it has 50 per cent of the burgeoning Indian car market, and has entered into an important relationship with the giant Volkswagen Group. Most recently, it’s branched out by launching its first ever medium-sized saloon onto the global market: the Kizashi.

This car’s already on sale in Japan, North America and elsewhere. As a compact family four-door, it’s intended as an alternative to the Renault Laguna or VW Jetta rather than bigger, pricier four-doors like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.

What’s it like?

We drove a Japanese-spec Kizashi with Suzuki’s Sport pack. Powered by a transversely mounted, normally aspirated 2.4-litre petrol four-pot driving the front wheels, the car has all-independent suspension and a six-speed manual gearbox.

The Kizashi offers just enough interior space to be competitive at the compact end of the Mondeo class. Standards of both material cabin quality and fit and finish are decent rather than great. Suzuki UK is likely to offer plenty of standard equipment in order to make up for the one of two areas where perceived quality could be improved.

On the road, the Kizashi shows off a surprisingly athletic chassis. It has grip, balance and body control to match a £35k, 300bhp sports saloon, albeit only with 176bhp to call upon. An incisive and fluent, Mondeo-like steering system would compliment that chassis perfectly; unfortunately, the Kizashi has a woolly-feeling wheel with too much weight, that feels inconsistent at times, and that’s hampered by a little torquesteer and plenty of kickback over potholes.

The Kizashi’s engine is well-insulated at low speed, if a little thrashy at high rpm, where its best work is done; meanwhile, a firm town ride is the trade-off for all that backroad composure.

Should I buy one?

Next to the downsized petrol turbos that it will undoubtedly be compared with, the Kizashi seems noisy, thirsty and short on low-down torque. And yet with slightly softer chassis settings and a more fluent steering system – changes that are within Suzuki UK’s power to make for imported cars – it could make a worthy alternative to a petrol-powered Mazda 6. There’s potential for a likable and entertaining car here, if its maker can send it to finishing school.

Suzuki UK is currently evaluating the Kizashi for a UK market introduction in late 2011. There will be no diesel version, so it’s likely to be bit-part player in the segment at best. However, assuming Suzuki UK can make a few refinements to the car and bring it in cheaply enough, it could be worth further investigation for low-mileage private buyers looking for affordable fun.

Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 Sport

Price: £tbc; Top speed: 134mph; 0-62mph: 7.8sec Economy: 35.8mpg; CO2: 183g/km; Kerbweight: 1475kg; Engine: 4cyls in line, 2393cc, normally aspirated, petrol; Power: 176bhp at 6500rpm; Torque: 170lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
19

25 November 2010

How come Kia and Suzuki manage to make handsome cars when that skill has completely deserted the likes of Peugeot, Renault, Subaru etc?

25 November 2010

[quote blowerbentley]How come Kia and Suzuki manage to make handsome cars when that skill has completely deserted the likes of Peugeot, Renault, Subaru etc?[/quote] All car makers go through good and bad patches. In the eighties to nineties Peugeot made some of the most desirable cars, 205-405-306. Ford are praised nowadays for their ride and handling but just read the reviews of the nineties Escorts to see how dire they were then. In the sixties Vauxhall were famed for rusting through within three years and it took many years for them to recover their reputation.

25 November 2010

blowerbentley wrote the following post at Nov 25, 2010 8:49 PM:

How come Kia and Suzuki manage to make handsome cars when that skill has completely deserted the likes of Peugeot, Renault, Subaru etc?


I duno don,t think they are that bad the new Peugeot 3008 and 5008 are classy looking inside and out and I think they look good . Renault are making some fine cars at the moment too that look very handsome the Laguna is a classy and very stylish car and so is the new Megane . The Megane sports tourer is one off the best looking in its class and the Laguna Coupe is very nice too so I think Renault and Peugeot have very good range off cars at the mo .

I like the way Subaru are different the legacy has always being very classy and nice and different too . The impreza is ok but definatly could look better especially the new one .

26 November 2010

i have to disagree with you FastRenaultFan.The current Renault and Peugeot range are dire!! Renault are so bland they make conservatives like VW and Toyota look radical.Peugeot's are just hideous!!!

26 November 2010

Flash Harry wrote the following post at Nov 26, 2010 12:57 AM:

i have to disagree with you FastRenaultFan.The current Renault and Peugeot range are dire!! Renault are so bland they make conservatives like VW and Toyota look radical.Peugeot's are just hideous!!!


You say so but I would mich prefer a Laguna over a the new Passat any day talk about a dull car . I would also prefer a megane coupe over a 3door Golf and a Megane sports tourer over a Golf estate so much nicer the Megane is . Peugeots MPV,s are a lot nicer than anything VW are doing the VW MPV,s just look like vans with window,s the Same with Renault they have much better MPV,S over VW same reasons too .

But we all have our opinions and likes and dislikes thats just my opinion and I respect that you have your,s too .

26 November 2010

[quote Autocar] it’s intended as an alternative to the Renault Laguna or VW Jetta rather than bigger, pricier four-doors like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.[/quote]


The Renault Laguna is not available as a 4 door and neither is the Mondeo.

26 November 2010

A tidy looking car although I'm not sure that there will be many people rushing to buy a 2.4 litre petrol engined car.

26 November 2010

A genuinely goood looking car - seen a few on the road this side of the pond. Dead in the UK without a decent diesel though.

26 November 2010

[quote Matt Saunders]Seems very early in the morning for such inconsequential pedantry though...[/quote]

It's NEVER too early for inconsequential pedantry on this forum.......

26 November 2010

[quote FastRenaultFan]But we all have our opinions and likes and dislikes thats just my opinion and I respect that you have your,s too . [/quote]

Of course that's true FRF. However, general consensus would seem to indicate that Renault & Peugeot are off the boil at the moment, stylistically at least. The Peugeot MPV's that you mention are not attractive IMO or even particularly interesting but you are right to say that VW's are dull. Never before has an entire range of cars been so grey.

I don't agree that this Kizashi is particularly interesting either. Quite bland really. Compared to a 'new' shape Passat/Jetta it's positively earth-shattering of course....

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