American Suzuki Motor Corp. is known mainly for manufacturing high-performance motorcycles or small vehicles. However, with the debut of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, the company is making a bold step as it enters the all-wheel-drive sport sedan class. Pronounced as "Kee-Zah-Shee", the brand’s offering becomes a strong contender for car-of-the-year even when matched with some of the world’s top cars.
The 2010 Kizashi has allowed the brand to offer what may be a mix of aesthetic first-class design aesthetics with dynamic performance characteristics never before experienced in this particular class. This sporty sedan will be Suzuki’s flagship vehicle and is expected to strengthen and expand its current product line that includes small cars, SUVs, and trucks.
The 2010 Kizashi will be available in different showrooms in North America by winter. The company used the Concept Kizashi series which was presented over a period of two years ago to develop this model. As such, it has the same design and understanding for performance that was earlier exhibited with the striking and perfectly designed three concept vehicles.
For this production version, the company not only managed to make its brand classy but it has even redefined what a performance sedan should be. The main element of the brand DNA is that it is energetic and active. This is strengthened further with the overall mission of the vehicle to have a refined and strong performance especially in urban areas.
2010 Kizashi was manufactured at the company’s newest production facility located in Sagara, Japan. Under the hood, this sports sedan is outfitted with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder DOHC inline engine which is better compared to even a number of competitive best-sellers.
By making use of aluminum black and cylinder heads, the engine allows for lightweight installation. Its pistons, also made of aluminum, have low tensile force rings resulting in enhanced efficiency and power. The engine is made more durable by having the dropped-forged connecting rods which rotate on a steel crankshaft.
A balancer shaft meanwhile helps with the engine balance and can even reduce the noise, vibration, and harshness. Paired with the engine is a six-speed manual transmission that offers increased performance under low gear and when in higher gears, delivers economical and relaxed cruising capability.
The company though gives customers the choice to have the Continuously Variable Transmission. What this does is give the driving feel as well as the fuel efficiency that many customers prefer while also retaining the character driving enthusiasts want. The paddle shifters help the driver optimize control no matter what the driving environment was or what the speed is.
This actually augments the character previously mentioned even further. Regardless of which transmission is chosen, the 2010 Kizashi is set to bring back competitive fuel economy figures especially for the fuel-conscious buyers. Aside from having an amazing powertrain, the company plans to develop and add a hybrid version that offers more fuel efficiency to its future lineup.
Since the market already has a number of unremarkable transportation applications, the company had to resist following standard practice if it wanted to be successful in entering it. This move ties in with the company’s principle of providing an exciting driving experience. This driving experience has in fact been confirmed a number of times like the Alpine twisties in Switzerland, Germany's Autobahn, the cobblestone roads typical of rural England, and even the renowned Nürburgring.
The steel unibody is rigid with the front suspension braced and the multi-link rear suspension assembled using embedded aluminum. These result in agile handling and first-rate stability. It also offers a classy ride and even lowers the vibration of the chassis. Though the Kizashi was originally conceived to have all-wheel-drive capability, the company plans to offer an advanced all-wheel-drive system that includes advanced controls.
The company hopes that this would draw out and encourage a sense of genuine driving interest and safety. Its braking system is cutting-edge and has the standard four-wheel disc brakes. A number of the components of the braking system have been supplied by Akebono, one of the leading companies when it comes to NVH analysis and control. Akebono is also the top supplier when it comes to automotive and even high-speed rail applications.
A look at the design of the exterior shows that it has the perfect mix of Japanese craftsmanship and European style. Its aggressive look is balanced by the 18-inch alloy wheels. The lean proportion as well as the minimal front overhang shows that it has a more modern style and this adds to the class that is fitting for a performance-oriented sport sedan.
Similar to the Concept Kizashi series, the 2010 Kizashi has a front end that displays style and strength while the perfectly engineered body reflects its fundamental strength and combined refinement and capability. At the back is where the 'sport' aspect is highlighted. By adding the integrated dual sport exhaust, this increases the vehicle’s visual dynamic. It also expresses the performance-imbued spirit of the Kizashi. With the Kizashi, Suzuki has managed to efficiently implement a large proportion that is practical and comfortable without have to waste space.
The company made this possible by taking full advantage of its expertise in the compact car class. While the proportions of the interior already give the occupants a high level of comfort and enough room, the company is taking it a step further by giving it a modern and classy feel. For example, the standard sport seats are consistent with the Kizashi’s performance characteristics on the road. Driving enthusiasts for instance will highly appreciate the sporty instrument panel.
Standard customers who want a luxury sedan will also be pleased to see the leather seating especially its use of premium-quality materials and high-density foam that can match even high-end competitors. Supplementing the premium leather are the three-position memory program and its three-stage heated seats.
Suzuki also put extra attention to detail in the cloth and leather seats with is hard cover rear, low fatigue foam, and the French seams. For those who want high-tech features, the Kizashi delivers as well. In addition to the standard keyless push start system, it also offers connectivity with the iPod with the option to stream audio through Bluetooth. Better listening pleasure is assured with the Rockford Fosgate enhanced by 425 W of power.