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CAR OF THE MONTH December 2009

2010 Suzuki Kizashi SLS AWD Review

Little Sedan with Big Ambitions

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2010 Suzuki Kizashi

In short: A smart value-oriented mid-size sedan with sport and luxe desires.

Suzuki Kizashi Review

As the global market’s competition for cars intensifies, Suzuki, which sells more vehicles than prestigious Mercedes-Benz or Audi, moves toward the luxury segment with this well-thought-out sedan. At first glance from the side and three-quarters rearview, it easily looks like something worth twice as much, such as an Acura TL, while the front end looks more simply like next year’s Volkswagen Jetta. But it really takes personal experience to appreciate the little sedan with big ambitions and discover that it has its own identity along with most of what you’d want in an automobile today, such as rain-sensing windshield wipers (although with the notable exception of blind spot assist). However, on the safety aspect, the car already meets 2014 U.S. crash standards.

A steering wheel and interior dash view of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi's engine

Pronounced “kee-zah-shee,” this mid-sized sports sedan’s name derives from Ki-Za-Shi, meaning, “something great is coming” in Japanese. Started from a clean sheet with all new components, the 2010 Kizashi aims to be the elegant urban vehicle for people who value both pizzazz and practicality. Contemporary, lean and sporty looking, this auto includes an integrated dual sport exhaust for pleasing aesthetics and noise. The sedan is being manufactured at the automaker’s new plant in Sagara, Japan, and the entry-level S trim comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual transmission and sport seats. An all-wheel drive; continuously variable transmission with F1-style paddle shifters; ten-speaker 425-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system; leather seats with three-stage heating; iPod connectivity and Bluetooth audio streaming are all available. We enjoyed all of those features equipped standard on our premium-level Kizashi SLS AWD test vehicle.

A three-quarter front view of a red 2010 Suzuki Kizashi

Driving this chic four-door car is effortless in most situations and the all-wheel drive option gives you better handling and mental assurance in tougher circumstances. Since it’s small on the outside, city driving is a no-brainer. Yet the Kizashi is also big inside with plenty of cabin room and decent cargo space when the seats are folded. No, you won’t win performance competitions, and when arriving at a classical concert performance, you probably won’t stand apart from the competition in the parking lot. However, considering the value it offers and the warranty behind it, we urge you to give the Suzuki Kizashi your very own road test. Everything about this world-class sedan is premium except its price, and there are rumors of an upcoming turbocharged version and even a V6 motor version. Something great is (definitely) coming.

Related Content:
2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS
Dan Jedlicka's Suzuki Kizashi review

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 7-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty; 3-year/36,000-mile Suzuki accessories warranty; 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty; 24/7 roadside assistance.

Base Price: $26,749 / As Tested: $27,484

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 2.4-liter, 16-valve DOHC inline 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 185 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 170 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: automatic CVT with steering wheel paddle shifters

Curb weight:
3,483 lbs
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length/Width/Height: 183.1/71.7/58.3 in
Turning radius: 18 ft

all-wheel disc with ABS; electronic brakeforce distribution
Suspension: rigid steel unibody; MacPherson strut and coil springs in front; multi-link in rear; KYB shock absorbers

Traction: electronic stability control with traction assist

0-60 mph:
8.3 seconds
Top Speed: 124 mph (limited)

EPA City:
23 mpg
EPA Highway: 30 mpg

8 airbags (including front and rear seat side and curtain airbags); 2014 NHTSA crash standard compliant; projector beam headlamps; daytime running lights; tire pressure monitoring system

Likes: design dynamics
Dislikes: engine noise at high revs

Check out other Suzuki models
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Visit the Suzuki website

A black 2010 Suzuki Kizashi speeding down the track at the VIRginia International Raceway

While the Suzuki Kizashi was tested extensively in Japan, Germany and other places under extreme conditions, we had the chance for our very own test at the beautiful VIRginia International Raceway, where we tried out various Kizashi trim levels against competing models in all sorts of situations. We were pleasantly surprised time and again how well this sedan performed.

Learn more about the track at

Photography: AlphaMedia

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