2010 Chicago Auto Show: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi


This probably wasn’t the image you were expecting to see. Neither was I, which is exactly why it was so cool. Don’t worry, Suzuki brought along a Kizashi that auto show visitors could actually play in. The rotisserie was a really nice touch, though—especially seeing the undercarriage of the car, sans road grime and in very nice lighting. Oh, and also not on a creeper. But I digress.

More and a gallery after the jump.

Just look at those pipes. The lines flow so nicely, and you can tell an immense amount of thought was put into this car’s design. It’s not the most exciting car to look at, ever, but it’s a step forward for Suzuki, and really, you could do a lot worse—especially for a car starting at under $19,000 USD. Canadian pricing has not yet been announced, but should be “under $30,000,” according to both Canadian Driver and Wheels.ca.

Gone is the uninspired Daewoo-birthed disaster known as the Verona. The Kizashi is all Suzuki, all the time, and the effort put forth shows in every single bit of the interior as well. There are cars that cost a lot more that feel a lot cheaper. The seats grip comfortably well, in that luxury-sport-sedan-optimal way. The stitching on the seats is gorgeous. The doors feel wonderfully solid and reassuring, as do all manually-operated parts in the cabin, including the paddle shifters. Overall, the cabin fit and finish is really first-rate.

Suzuki’s all-wheel-drive system is switchable and front-biased, and will apparently be included as standard for the Canadian version. The Canadian version will also only come with a CVT—no 6-speed manual gearbox, as is available in the US and elsewhere. I asked a Suzuki representative if she saw a Kizashi wagon in their future, because if she did, I could easily see it competing handily with Subaru. Unfortunately, the Suzuki rep could only tell me Suzuki hadn’t announced such a thing yet, but she hoped they’d do a wagon too.

The Kizashi features a 180-horse 2.4L four-cylinder engine (US-spec 6-speed manual gearboxed one gets 5hp more), and weighs 1,560 kg. As for fuel economy, it gets a respectable 28mpg city/37mpg highway. In Canada, it will only be released with super-luxury power-everything, in addition to the AWD and CVT.

Sure, it’s not the most exciting car on the road, but it’s quite nice for its segment, and if Suzuki can deliver on the promise of this car at the insanely reasonable price point they’re claiming, it’s a definite contender. And any way you cut it, it’s a massive leap forward for Suzuki.

[Photos: Joe Lucente]