Does anyone remember that Suzuki used to make cars in the U.S.? Probably not. But once upon a time, the Japanese company that was more well-known for their GSX motorcycle than their Grand Vitara SUV produced a car back in 2010 called the Kizashi.
The translation to English for the word “Kizashi” is “Something great is coming.” Well, the Kizashi came and went — along with the entire brand — and can now be found on the used market for bargain prices, but is it worth it to buy one now?
The Suzuki Kizashi debuted in 2010 as the company’s flagship sedan. Curiously, though, the car never could find its comfort zone from the get-go. For example, the brand meant for it to compete in the mid-size sedan segment alongside the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and the Mazda6, but it wasn’t exactly “mid-size.”
The Kizashi measured in at 183 inches in length, while those aforementioned stalwarts stretched the tape measure to 191 to 193 inches. Comparatively speaking, the Honda Civic at the time was 177 inches long, so the Kizashi was basically in between classes.
Segment comparisons aside, the Kizashi did offer a lot of features that were on par with other cars at the time. It came in four different trim levels: S, SE, Sport GTS, and Sport SLS trim levels and was offered with both a CVT automatic transmission and a six-speed manual.
The base trim was well-equipped with dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, full power accessories, iPod integration, and satellite radio. The higher trims including options like leather, alloy wheels, a sunroof, Bluetooth, and a Rockford Fosgate sound system.
It missed the mark
While the Kizashi’s feature list was impressive and it did technically check all the boxes to be able to stand up to the competition in whichever class it was supposed to be in, it just wasn’t quite what anyone was really looking for. The company billed it as a “stylish and sport sedan,” and it did have a unique look, however, the sportiness wasn’t really there.
Under the hood, the Kizashi sported a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that put out 185 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque and was good for a 9.2-second 0-60 time, for the AWD version and the FWD version achieved a 7.7-second time. While the all-wheel-drive system provided good grip in the corners, the extra 300 pounds in weight slowed down its acceleration capabilities.
According to some reviews at the time, including Consumer Reports, the Kizashi was praised for its poised handling characteristics and quiet ride both on and off the highway. However, it’s steering was rather numb and the CVT transmission made the engine drone during hard acceleration. Basically, it was comfortable and sophisticated for what it was, but did it outshine other Japanese and European rivals? No, not really.
Is it the bargain AWD sedan you need?
At the end of 2012, Suzuki announced that it would no longer be selling cars in the U.S. Although, they had a record year in 2007 and they created the Kizashi in hopes that it help the brand get more into the mainstream, the plan ultimately failed as sales plummeted.
When it was new, the Kizashi was priced in the high $20,000 range. Considering it could be optioned out with AWD and even had the option for a manual transmission, it just didn’t have the extra quality or the edge it needed to be successful and it ended up dying with the brand.
While the Kizashi didn’t make a big splash when the brand was alive, it sure comes in handy in the afterlife. As you can guess, the Kizashi can be found on the used car market for bargain pricing, typically between $3,000 to $5,000.
Is it worth it to buy one? Considering it has AWD capability, a quiet cabin, and a quality interior, we would say so. Especially if you live in a snow state and just need a decent ride.