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Suzuki Kizashi

An exceptional sleeper.

It’s not a typical flagship, but the Kizashi fits that role for Suzuki, and it erases bad memories of the mid-size Suzukis that preceded it. Along with the SX4 family, the Kizashi gives Suzuki a solid — if small — lineup of refreshingly fun-to-drive cars to accompany its rugged off-road vehicles and rocketlike motorcycles. The Kizashi was originally slated to receive V-6 and hybrid powertrains from business partner GM, but that deal fell through. Suzuki then entered a corporate marriage with Volkswagen that was to result in turbocharged and hybrid engines for the Kizashi. The VW partnership has not gone well, though, so the model will likely soldier on with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder. That engine is fine, but it probably won’t satisfy horsepower and technology junkies. Buyers who want all-wheel drive, power seats, or a sunroof must forgo the slick, standard six-speed manual in favor of the CVT. Four trim levels range from the well-equipped, under-$21,000 base model to the Sport SLS flagship, which can be filled with leather, navigation, and a powerful audio system. The Sport prefix on GTS and SLS models means the cars have a spoiler, eighteen-inch wheels, a body kit, and other appearance upgrades. The Kizashi is the pride of Suzuki’s car lineup, but sales haven’t been great, so keep an eye out for promotions to sweeten the deal even more.

COMPETITORS

Ford Fusion

Hyundai Sonata

Toyota Camry

Volkswagen Jetta

new for 2013

The base trim level drops its “S” moniker. An updated navigation system now offers voice activation. Base prices for the Kizashi SE (both FWD and AWD) have been lowered by $700 and $550, respectively.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and tire-pressure monitors are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 20–23

HWY 29–31

PRO

Truly fun to drive

Available all-wheel drive

7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

CON

Derivative styling

Can get expensive

Base Price Range: $20,794–$29,794

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Kizashi, SE, Sport GTS, Sport SLS

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 2.4L I-4, 180/185 hp, 170 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 92.1 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 13.3 cu ft

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