Suzuki Motor Inc. took 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 Nurburgring.
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 connectivity and optional streaming audio via Bluetooth. For your advanced listening pleasure, Rockford Fosgate 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) 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.