2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS AWD

Reviewed by Susan Frissell

Unfortunately for the Suzuki Kizashi, it’s a vehicle that is largely unknown. Which is a loss for most car shoppers who are in the market for a sporty, attractive and well-put together four-door sedan. It is not a stretch to compare some of Kizashi’s attributes with German-made vehicles, such as its upgraded interior.

Available in several different trim levels, the Kizashi can be had in 11 different versions. Overkill perhaps, but differences include mostly drive trains and all-wheel or front-wheel-drive figurations. Beginning with the S, front-wheel-drive (FWD), (manual and CVT), the Kizashi models descend as follows: SE FWD (CVT), SE Leather Edition, FWD (CVT), Sport GTS FWD (manual, CVT), Sport SLC FWD (CVT), Sport SLS Navigation Edition, FWD (CVT), S AWD (CVT), SE AWD (CVT), SE Leather (CVT), Sport SLS AWD (CVT), and SLS Navigation Edition AWD. Wow!

Interior room and fit and finish are above average in the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi. Steering is firm and nimble, and makes turning easy. One may experience some understeer due to Suzuki’s all-wheel-drive, but for the most part, this quick, peppy sedan is a firm, comfortable speedster. While this writer found the seats to be a little less supportive than anticipated, the driver’s seat does have lumbar support to ease a tired back during long distance drives.

Some readers may remember the Super Bowl commercial with the Eskimo and his sled dogs. The scene opens with the dogs and their sled, then finishes with the Eskimo coming home to the igloo, with dogs in tow (lined up across the back seat!), in his new Kizashi.
If the Kizashi has any faults, it is the ability to fly under the radar, which isn’t a good thing for Suzuki. But those who are enthusiasts are certainly aware of its merits, and are generally appreciative of its handling. And, the Kizashi does turn heads with its attractive front grille and sculpted exterior.

One gets the feeling that this is a well-built sedan with best-in-class performance and respectable fuel economy at 22/29 mpg. Safety features include 2014 NHTSA front, side and rear crash compliance, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Bosch ABS and eight standard airbags-duel front facing, front side seat mounted, rear side seat mounted and front and rear head curtain. A tire pressure monitor and keyless entry add to the security features, as does a vehicle immobilizer.

Suzuki’s TouchFree Smart Key is a keyless start/stop push button ignition feature with just a fob to lock the vehicle. Drivers will enjoy dual zone climate control with vents that don’t blow right at you. The sport seats in our test vehicle were premium cloth, with a 10-way driver’s power seat with lumbar/memory, a leather tilt/telescoping wheel with audio and cruise controls and heated outside mirrors.

The sport GTS features on the Suzuki Kizashi include a power tilt/slide sunroof, front fog lights, 425-watt Rockford Fosgate CD audio with 10 speakers, iPod and MP3 USB port, and the Sports Package which includes sport aero body kit, light weight sport wheels, sport tuned suspension and sport design steering wheel.
The IP in the Kizashi is sporty and attractive, although not the easiest to read. And although not necessarily a fan of paddle shifters, the Kizashi’s seemed a little smoother than some we’ve tried.

Options on our test vehicle included Premium floor and cargo mats ($210), Premium Metallic Paint ($130), Bluetooth Hands Free calling w/wireless audio streaming ($250), and Trunk Sub-floor organizer with first-aid kit ($65).
Those in the market for a good-looking, sporty and fun sedan need to check out the Suzuki Zizashi. You won’t be disappointed.

MSRP: $25,749; total vehicle price $26,404
Engine: 2.40L DOHC 16 valve I4, 180 hp;, 170 lbs. ft. torque
Transmission: Automatic CVT w/steering paddle shifters
Category: Front engine, AWD, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Length: 183.1 in.
Width: 71.7 in.
Weight: 3,533 lbs.
Height: 58.3 in.
EPA Fuel Economy: 22/29 mpg.
Warranty: 3 yr./36,000-mile Basic; 7 yr./100,000-mile drivetrain; 3 yr./36,000-mile roadside assistance; 3 yr./Unlimited Rust.

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