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2010 Suzuki Kizashi AWD Review

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SEE ALSO: Suzuki Buyers Guide

2010 Suzuki Kizashi Review
By Bob Gordon Co-publisher
Louisville Bureau
The Auto Channel

Pre-ramble Throughout my Suzuki Kizashi evaluation in Vail, Colorado, every time I discovered another well thought out feature (and that happened quite often) the word “surprising” came to my mind surprisingly loaded this car was, it had every bell and whistle in a surprisingly good looking, surprisingly well built AWD version.

The SK had a surprisingly smooth 6 speed CVT transmission and a eerily quiet, smooth and powerful 180 HP engine with more than enough power to handle the Rocky Mountains without a strain...while delivering a surprisingly 31 MPG.

I was pleasantly surprised (and amazed) that Suzuki could offer such a loaded vehicle with an MSRP of only $24,849, so if you are shopping for a mid-sized (sports) sedan don't be surprised when you find your own 2010 Suzuki Kizashi parked in the driveway.

Denver Colarado, April 2010; The pleasingly red 2010 Suzuki Kizashi was waiting for me in the usual spot outside of Denver International Airport for my drive up the Rockies to Vail.

The weather was perfect but I was glad that my tester was the AWD version of this spiffy new model from Suzuki as there have been many times over the years that the weather quickly turned from sunny to snowy, even at this late date of mid-April.

Loading up I found the trunk was surprisingly large and well turned out, no out of place loose ends no funky overhangs just a well proportioned space for enough luggage.

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I adjusted the well supported and comfortable seat...they were not leather but a modern high techy black cloth that felt smooth and upscale...and the dash instruments showed me what I actually needed and more...I was surprised that a car in this price class offered the same type of computerized data that I find on cars more than twice the price of this one, and oh yeah, the Rockford Fosgate audio system was especially good.

So far all well and good, but now it was time for the make or break part of the test...up the mountain. I can tell you that there have been test drives in many other cars that quite frankly failed the “up the mountain” part of this evaluation...but not the Kizashi.

The SK's powerplant is a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC engine which is rated at 180 hp @ 6,500 rpm with 170 lb.-foot torque @ 4,000 rpm, and it had no problems giving me what I wanted and needed climbing up 70 to the 10,000 ft level and beyond...and the Kizashi had a naturally aspirated engine, I can only imagine how frisky it would be as a turbo (although it is not needed).

This AWD Kizashi was equipped with a CVT transmission which proved itself to be smooth in automatic mode and fun when I used the manual option to help me brake coming down the steep mountain passes, although its Akebono brakes provided great stopping power when tested at 60 mph to full stop.

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The SK proved itself not to be cushy and sluggish transportation but a true sport sedan that rides, drives and handles like a sports vehicle and can be easily compared to sport sedans costing many many thousands more than the surprising Kizashi.

Not only does the Kizashi more than hold its own in the looks department, but is the best equipped mid-size sedan in its class,offering the most standard safety features even in its entry-level fact it already meets the NHTSA 2014 safety standards.

Some of its standard features include: 8 Airbags; Pushbutton Keyless Start; Dual-zone Climate Control; Power Windows, Doors and Mirrors; EPS Stability Control and ABS; Projector Beam Headlights; Ambient and Footwell Lighting all in a unique blend of dynamic performance with near luxury aesthetics.

As stated earlier, the weather on the mountain is fickle, it went from needing the air conditioning to AWD driving during a late week snow storm...and the surprisingly agile Kizashi handled the slushy and icy roads well.

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Back down the mountain we went me and my Kizashi after a week of pleasant surprises, oh yeah, a final surprise...the cup holders even accommodated a quart-sized bottle of diet that's more than I can say for my wife's $50k luxury CUV.

All the good surprises should have been expected, when I read all of the reviews here on TACH I re-discovered that every writer loved the Kizashi just as much as I did, and that (no surprise) Suzuki is a big deal in Japan, being the 2nd largest manufacturer.

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi compares very well to all of its competition in the mid-sized sedan class, so you must include it on your test drive short list, I would.