The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is a whole new ballgame for the brand and an impressive, potential class-leading entry in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment.
Forget everything you know about Suzuki. Actually, that shouldn't be that hard, since aside from the old Sidekick, most folks barely know the brand even exists. "Suzuki? Don't they make motorcycles?" Well, yes they do, but Suzuki also makes cars -- it's just that it wasn't making cars really worth noticing...until now. The all-new 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is radically different (and better) than anything Suzuki has produced in the past: a midsize sedan that is a serious competitor in a very competitive segment.
The Kizashi is a bit smaller in size compared to family sedans like the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima but bigger than smaller sedans like a Civic or a Volkswagen Jetta. Actually, the Jetta is a good reference point, because
Initially, the Kizashi will only come with a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine attached to either a manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is also optional. This powertrain should be enough for most consumers, as the Kizashi is punchy around town and is still quicker than other four-cylinder-powered sedans. Certainly, some people might still desire a V6, and Suzuki says one should arrive in the next year or two.
As impressive as it is, the Kizashi does have a few downsides working against it. First, Suzuki doesn't exactly have an extensive dealer network, making a test-drive and service potentially difficult. On a functional level, the Kizashi's slightly smaller backseat could also be a turnoff for people used to the latest supersized sedans like the Accord and Mazda 6. Then there's the name, which is bound to elicit plenty of emphatic "You drive what" from friends and family.
Get beyond that, though, and you have a car that rewrites the book on Suzuki and possibly the midsize sedan segment. It could be considered an alternative to VW's Jetta and Passat, as well as sportier family sedans like the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima. It's also one of the few cars in this segment to offer all-wheel drive. Overall, we give it a hearty recommendation, and should you be in the market for a sporty four-cylinder midsize sedan, the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi should be at the top of your list.