First Look: 2010 Suzuki Kizashi

By Seyth Miersma

July 30, 2009

Suzuki officially debuted its all-new Kizashi midsize sedan today, showing a car that is at once more premium and aspirational than anything the company has offered to date in North America, as well as more risky. That’s ok with Suzuki, which claims to be ready to, “Enter a field already saturated with countless nondescript transportation appliances.” Game on, old guard.

Though little better than a niche automaker here in the States, it’s clear that Suzuki has got great confidence that it can stir some feathers with its new offering. The company has done relatively well with the SX4 and XL7, and believes that Kizashi will give it a chance to compete for those buyers who are looking to move further up-market. To that end, Suzuki benchmarked targets like the Acura TSX, Volkswagen Passat, and Europe’s Alfa Romeo 159 when putting its new sedan together. Company executives were quick to point out that those same cars do not represent Kizashi’s perceived competitive set, however—Camry, Accord, and Mazda6 fill the bill there.
At first blush, those kings of the mainstream do have something to fear from the upstart, at least in terms of straight on comparisons. Suzuki claims that it’s new 2.4-liter four will offer “class leading” power, though it won’t be pinned down into saying exactly how much power that is. The four-cylinder will be the only engine available when cars first hit dealerships sometime this December, though a V-6 engined car is likely not far behind. Transmissions will include a six-speed manual as standard, and a paddle-shifted CVT with six ratios, as well. Fuel economy numbers have yet to be sorted, but we’re told to expect 30 miles per gallon or better on the highway.

Kizashi will also be offered with an optional all-wheel drive system, giving the car a likely leg up on the front-drive competition where the hills are high, and the snow falls hard. Subaru’s new Legacy stands ready for the fight (we’re working on the comparison now, no worries).

Perhaps most impressive about the new car (since we could only look at it, not drive it today) is the fitment and overall quality of the interior design and materials. Despite the car being pitched hard at the up-and-coming set (we were treated to an afternoon scored by the likes of Switchfoot, and Rise Against *shudder*), Suzuki has shown remarkable restraint, taste, and class with the Kizashi cabin. In the leather-equipped show car, all of the hide-bound surfaces were supple and not overly shiny, plastics were generally of the soft-touch/low-gloss variety, and most of the shapes were clean and simple. Shinny plastics and chromed finishes were hard to find. In general it felt a lot like Audi ethos on a Honda budget, or not completely unlike where Hyundai has been bringing its latest round of products—in other words, not a bad place to start.

Consider us onboard and excited for the real launch of the Kizashi, when Suzuki invites the press to come steer the promising newcomer, sometime this fall. If driving dynamics can keep pace with our initial impression of quality, there might just be something for the appliances to worry about after all.

Read the full Suzuki press release below.



    * Kizashi concept series culminates with world introduction of all-new Suzuki sport sedan.
    * Chic Kizashi production model to deliver Japanese quality and European flair.
    * North American Car of the Year contender to serve as halo vehicle for maturing Suzuki lineup.
    * Kizashi’s exhilarating performance and driving experience reflect Suzuki’s exuberant brand spirit, backed by the confidence of America’s #1 Warranty.

BREA, Calif. (July 30, 2009) — American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) takes a bold step forward today. Known primarily as a maker of small vehicles and high-performance motorcycles, today marks the global debut of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi (pronounced “Kee-Zah-Shee”), the company’s first entry into the all-wheel-drive sport sedan segment. Benchmarked against some of the leading cars in the world, the all-new 2010 Kizashi becomes an instant car-of-the-year contender in its own right. With the launch of the Kizashi, Suzuki delivers a unique blend of dynamic performance attributes with premium design aesthetics and craftsmanship yet to be experienced in this category. Scheduled to arrive in North American showrooms this winter, the Kizashi will serve as the company’s flagship vehicle, further expanding and strengthening its current product line of high-quality small cars, trucks and SUVs.

“In developing and naming our newest automotive introduction, the Japanese word ‘Kizashi,’ which tells that something great is coming, seemed appropriate for the vehicle,” said Kevin Saito, president, American Suzuki. “Now that the production model Kizashi has arrived, we expect the name and the product itself to clearly demonstrate the bold statement this company knew it would be making with the debut of this vehicle — while also simultaneously suggesting what will emerge in the Suzuki lineup as we look ahead to the future.”

The Kizashi sport sedan, which originates from the Concept Kizashi series introduced over the last two years, follows a similar design theme and appreciation for performance previously illustrated by the three eye-catching and immaculately designed concept vehicles. The production Kizashi redefines the traditional performance sedan and moves the Suzuki brand upscale. Furthermore, its active and energetic identity, a core component of the Suzuki brand DNA, is tempered by the vehicle’s overall mission to provide a strong, refined urban performance.

Built at Suzuki’s brand-new manufacturing facility in Sagara, Japan, the 2010 Kizashi is equipped with a standard 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine offering a more potent standard engine than many competitive best-sellers. The engine employs both an aluminum block and cylinder heads, providing a lightweight installation; aluminum pistons with low tensile force rings deliver improved power and efficiency. Dropped-forged connecting rods, rotating on a forged steel crankshaft, contribute to the inline four’s durability, and a balancer shaft delivers improved engine balance and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

The responsive inline four is connected to a six-speed manual transmission, for heightened performance in the low gears, along with relaxed — and economical — cruising capability in the higher gears. Customers may opt for an available Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that delivers both the driving experience and fuel efficiency today’s consumers demand, while not compromising the character preferred by driving enthusiasts. That character is enhanced with paddle shifters, optimizing driver control regardless of speed or driving environment. With either transmission choice, the Kizashi is engineered to return competitive fuel economy numbers for fuel-conscious consumers.

In addition to this excellent new powertrain, and to even further enhance the Kizashi’s strong efficiency story, Suzuki is developing an even more fuel efficient hybrid version that will be added to the lineup in the future.
Braking and Handling

In order to successfully enter a field already saturated with countless nondescript transportation appliances, Suzuki breaks away from traditional values normally associated with the mainstream, standing firm on Suzuki’s belief in delivering a dynamic and exhilarating driving experience. That driving experience was validated on Germany’s Autobahn, Switzerland’s Alpine twisties, cobblestone roads of rural England and the legendary Nürburgring.

An exceptionally rigid steel unibody — with reinforced front suspension and multi-link rear suspension constructed with embedded aluminum — allows for crisp, nimble handling with excellent stability, sophisticated ride and reduced chassis vibration. Engineered from conception to be all-wheel-drive capable, the Kizashi offers a newly developed advanced all-wheel-drive system with highly advanced controls that evokes and promotes a natural sense of heartfelt driving enthusiasm and safety. Kizashi’s sophisticated braking system offers standard four-wheel disc brakes and includes suppliers such as Akebono, a world-leader in NVH control and analysis and a leading brake supplier for automotive and high-speed rail applications.

Kizashi’s thoughtfully crafted exterior design is best described as the seamless melding of European style and Japanese craftsmanship. Tailored for the driving enthusiast, Kizashi’s bold and aggressive stance is complemented by available 18-inch alloy wheels; contemporary styling — with its lean proportion and minimal front overhang — injects the sophistication appropriate to a performance-oriented sport sedan. As with the Concept Kizashi series, the front end of the production Kizashi expresses both strength and style, while the vehicle’s impeccably engineered body reflects Kizashi’s underlying strength and distinctive combination of capability and refinement.

At Kizashi’s rear, the architecture accentuates the ‘sport’ aspect of Suzuki’s sport sedan. The visual dynamic is enhanced with the addition of an integrated dual sport exhaust, communicating — both visually and aurally — the Kizashi’s performance-imbued spirit.

Suzuki has taken advantage of its expertise in the compact car segment to efficiently execute larger — yet still tidy — proportions that afford comfort and practicality without the wasted space. Along with cabin proportions that reward Kizashi drivers and passengers with comfort and roominess, Suzuki pursues a contemporary, upscale interior feel — such as standard sport seats — in line with the vehicle’s on-road performance characteristics. Driving enthusiasts will appreciate Kizashi’s sporty and elegant instrument panel, while consumers seeking a luxury sedan will be pleased with the vehicle’s available leather seating, featuring high-density foam and premium quality materials rivaling upscale competitors.

The available premium leather is supplemented by three-stage heated seats and a three-position memory program. In addition, both cloth and leather seats benefit from Suzuki’s attention to detail: French seams, hard cover rears and low fatigue foam.

For those wanting high-tech beyond the engine compartment, the Kizashi’s interior delivers by the megabyte. Beginning with standard keyless push start system, Kizashi also offers iPod®1 connectivity and optional streaming audio via Bluetooth®2. For your advanced listening pleasure, Rockford Fosgate®3 provides an optional listening experience boosted by 425 watts of power.
Traction and Safety

The all-new Kizashi includes a class-leading list of standard safety equipment, including class-exclusive standard eight airbags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP®)4, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution, projector beam headlamps and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Also included as equipment on the Kizashi is Suzuki’s developed synergetic vehicle dynamic control. This system assists drivers control and a fun-to-drive experience with minimal intrusiveness.

Kizashi is offered with Suzuki’s next generation i-AWD system, a rare option in its class, as this safety and performance enhancing feature is more typically found among luxury sport sedan offerings. Engineered to provide outstanding traction in inclement weather, the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system also delivers enhanced cornering capabilities. Activated when the driver selects the “AWD” switch on the instrument panel, power to the rear wheels starts immediately upon acceleration. Torque split remains dependent on several factors, including wheel slippage and throttle input.

1 iPod is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the United States and other countries.

2 Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.

3 Rockford Fosgate is a registered trademark of Rockford Fosgate.

4 ESP is a registered trademark of Daimler AG.
About Suzuki

The Brea, Calif.,-based Operations of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) was founded in 1963 by parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) and currently markets its vehicles in the United States through a network of approximately 400 automotive dealerships and numerous other motorcycle, ATV and marine distributors in 49 states. With global headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan, SMC is a diversified worldwide automobile, motorcycle, and outboard motor manufacturer. In 2008, SMC sold more than 2 million new cars and trucks and more than 3.5 million motorcycles and ATVs. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has operations in 196 countries and regions. For more information, visit

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Base Specifications
Body Type     Sedan
Engine     J24B
Drive System     2WD / AWD
Transmission     6MT or CVT / CVT
Overall Length - Inches (mm)     183.1” (4,650)
Overall Width     71.7” (1,820)
Overall Height     58.3” (1,480)
Wheel Base     106.3” (2,700)