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Old 07-05-2012, 07:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2011 Suzuki Kizashi S quick drive

I'll repost a quick drive review I posted elsewhere.

I've been curious about the Kizashi for a while. The reviews all generally highlight the Kizashi's road manners so I had to find out. I drove a used 2011 S, which I don't think had the AWD, at least there wasn't a button to turn it off like on the 2012. Before I begin, let me point out that I drive a Ford Five Hundred so the bar starts pretty low!

All I can say is, wow. I really enjoyed driving it. I did a mix of city driving with a short stretch on the highway. The car had the CVT transmission, which I don't mind, though I know most people hate it. The transmission was smooth around town, well suited to stop start traffic though you have to drive it differently if you need hard acceleration. Joining the highway caused no problems, the hit 105 and the engine noise wasnt too trashy.

Sure the engine could use an extra 20hp and torque but I think it has enough power and speed for most people. I doubt people would cross shop the Kizashi with a sport car anyway, and yes I know Suzuki advertise it as a Sports Sedan.

I reset the readout before I set off and my average at the end was 8.1 l/100km, which was pretty good. I only pushed it getting onto the highway and mostly I was cruising.

The car didn't have paddle shifters but it did have manual mode. I didn't use it much but it was cool having the option to control the transmission.

The brakes were solid although I had to depress the pedal more than I would expect before they really bit.

I confess I like the interior styling; the centre console was logical and well laid out. The controls felt solid and easy to use. Dual climate control was standard and it was damn cold!! I think the coldest temperature was 15C! Wonderful when it was almost 40C outside.

The seats were comfortable although I think I would prefer the 10 way auto seat in the higher model. Adjustments were easy and there was enough bolstering but not too much.

The steering wheel had a nice feel, much more pleasant than the one I felt in the Optima. The control stalks were naturally positioned and logically organized.

Oh yes, I had already driven for 5 minutes before I realized that I had no idea where the key was! I love the keyless entry and start/stop.

The suspension was a nice surprise. It dampened the crappy roads quite well, although one large bump caused a thud. The ride was comfortable but not soft or harsh. Cornering was really nice (remember I'm used to driving a boat!). I hit the gas as I came down the off ramp from the highway and ignored the 50km/h sign, and stuck at 80km/h. I know, daring eh! The car felt stable and although I didn't really push it, it never felt troubled by anything I did. I can really agree with the other reviewers that the handling is a pleasant surprise. This is a Suzuki??

There was absolutely minimal body roll throughout my drive. Swoopingf through the curves at speed made me smile, the first time I have smiled during all of my recent test drives.

Now the negative. I'll get it out in the open that it's a Suzuki, so resale will likely be low, dealers are few and far between and I'm not sure what long term reliability will be.

The rear seat is tight, though not so much when the driver isn't that tall. The car really is a slightly larger compact and not a real midsize. I think it would be perfect for one or two people without kids.

The price is perhaps a touch high, although you do get sometime features as standard, AWD and dual climate control.

I give the car two thumbs up, I really enjoyed it and it did honestly make me smile. I didn't want to return it to the dealer!

PS: One thing to note - I couldn't work out how to set the radio to only use the rear speakers. I assume this model had rear speakers.
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