What is it? The Kizashi is Suzuki's answer to family saloons such as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat. However, unlike most its rivals – the Mondeo and Passat included – it comes with four-wheel drive.
At launch, the only engine option is a 176bhp 2.4-litre petrol that’s linked to a CVT automatic gearbox. Suzuki says it has no plans to offer a diesel.
What’s it like to drive? The Kizashi grips strongly in corners and resists body roll well. Unfortunately, you pay for this composure with a ride that thumps over urban potholes and generally feels unsettled at all speeds.
To make matters worse, your confidence in the car’ agility is undermined by inconsistently weighted steering.
Then there’s the engine. This is short on low-down torque, so the CVT automatic gearbox is forced to send the revs skyrocketing whenever you come to an incline or ask for a burst of acceleration.
You also have to put up with considerable wind noise at motorway speeds and some road noise over coarse surfaces.
What’s it like inside? The Kizashi is smaller than most its rivals, and this is reflected inside. Six-footers will wish there was more headroom upfront, and while things are better in the rear, you can’t stretch out in the way that you can in a Mondeo or Skoda Superb.
It’s a similar story when it comes to the boot. The Kizashi’s can swallow 461 litres of luggage, which is a decent amount, but the best cars in the class offer more than 500 litres of space, and there’s a big step in the Kizashis’s load floor when you fold down the rear seats.
The dashboard layout is harder to fault because most of the controls are logically positioned and clearly labelled. It’s just a pity the plastics are more robust than classy.
Should I buy one? Every Kizashi comes with a long list of standard equipment that includes leather upholstery, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, cruise control, Bluetooth and seven airbags. However, we can’t think of many other reasons to choose one.
There are a host of front-wheel drive, diesel-engined family cars that are better to drive, more practical and much cheaper to run.
Alternatively, if you live in the sort of area that makes four-wheel-drive a must, and don’t do enough miles to justify a diesel, then the £22,540 Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI SE 4x4 is a much better all-rounder than the Kizashi.
What Car? says
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