POSTED: Monday, March 8, 2010 - 5:47pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 3, 2010 - 11:03pm
The good folks at Suzuki have had a hit and miss relationship with the marketplace. First they built some of the best motorcycles in the world. Then, it was sort of 3-quarter-sized jeep things. And now it’s care. And the new Suzuki Kizashi is the top of the line, and it is a honey.
The new Suzuki flagship is yet another attempt to establish the company in everyone’s mind as a car company, you know, four doors and seats and stuff. But as we said, bikes, off road trucks; we got it. But, cars?
Yes cars, and if the new Kizashi is an example, they finally may have their breakthrough vehicle, not that it’s perfect, which I’ll tackle in a moment.
But the new, little Suzuk, has a pleasing shape and a forgettable front end. I with it were more distinctive, but there you are. The drop down grill is OK, but only just. But every other exterior angle on the Kizashi is just lovely.
Inside, for over 20-large, I frankly think the materials could be a bit richer. This is the flagship of the fleet, for crying out loud. Think of the Volkswagen CC, and you get my idea. The seats are cloth, and the dash is simple, ergonomic, and a bit lackluster. But here’s where you shouldn’t be fooled.
Suzukis, all Suzukis, are seemingly built out of a solid block of pig-iron. They are tough, well-screwed-together affairs and like the little off-roaders of old, will take everything you can dish out. It may resemble some of the new, attractive Korean iron, but assembly is a cut above, and worthy of some pricier rivals from Nissan and Toyota, and the Kizashi will actually stop.
OK, that’s not fair, but the driving dynamics are marvelous. The little 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out 185 horsepower, more than the base engines in the Camry and fusion, and almost as much as Accord. It sends out it’s residue through two big tailpipes, meant, I guess, to make you think there’s something with 8 cylinders under there. It’s a bit much.
Handling is nice, and the slick 6-speed manual in our test car was of the knife-through-butter variety. So, we love it, right? Yes and no. I love the car, and worry about the price point. Base price for the eco-strippo model is around $20,000, and our second from the top GTS is over 24K. For a Suzuki, in my mind, that’s a few grand too rich.