Deemed one of the most festally contested segments in the automotive world - the Japanese warrior - Suzuki has finally entered the fray of medium-sized cars.
Welcome the challenger … Kizashi, (meaning, something great is coming) – but it looks like it’s finally arrived!
The Kizashi, a four-door sedan, embodies the manufacturer’s contemporary design, and from the outset it seems to have drawn inspiration from the entire motoring fraternity, in a sort of “best of” compilation.
Elements of VW’s Jetta5 are revealed in the front end, while the rear could be mistaken for a Mercedes-Benz at the right angle. Even the cabin layout cues hints of borrowed ideas.
Suzuki may have perfected the art of small car making, but this vehicle had to be built on an entirely new platform and for the majority, the manufacturer looks to have gotten it right. The back end of the car houses one of the best looking rears in its segment and that design culture is followed throughout with its sweeping lines.
The execs at Suzuki say the car has “thrilling performance,” and while I will admit the 2.4-litre four-cylinder powertrain is perky with 131kW available on tap at 6 500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 4 000rpm, its hardly thrilling and this stems from the vehicle’s handling. There is very little feedback and you’re left with a numbness going into the corners. The problem with this is … you never really know where the car’s limit is until you reach it.
This doesn’t mean it cannot conjure up a good drive - quite the contrary. It’s smooth on the tarmac and its suspension soaks up all the bumps Johannesburg’s infamous roads throw at it. Inside, there is very little external noise, which finds its way into the cockpit. The seats offer a comfortable ride behind the wheel and all the necessary gadgets are within easy reach. Cruise control and radio adjustments can be set and adjusted via the steering wheel. The radio includes a CD/MP3 player with USB connectivity. Unfortunately, no Bluetooth connection is available. The only changes - which would be welcomed additions - are a soft-touch dash and some sort of navigation, particularly on a vehicle of this calibre. Even as optional extras, it would go a long way.
In terms of economy, Suzuki claim a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 7.9 litres/100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 183g/km. Under real driving conditions, we managed to achieve roughly 8.8 litres/100km in the six-speed manual derivative, while paying very little attention to driving efficiently.
The performance figures of the manual gearbox version sprints from 0-100km/h in around 7.8 seconds and reaches a top speed in the region of 215km/h.
The other version available at launch is a CVT-equipped model. This derivative goes from 0-100km/h in about 8.8 seconds, and has a top speed potential of approximately 205km/h.
On the safety front, the Kizashi has a deformation-resisting cabin in line with Suzuki’s proprietary Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) concept. And complementing the body shell is an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with front and rear discs, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Control with traction control and six airbags, including head protecting side curtain airbags.
Although only one engine model is currently available, if a diesel motor were to find its way into Suzuki’s new sedan, it’s bound to attract a wider audience.
The recommended retail price includes the relevant CO2 emissions tax, and incorporates a three-year/100 000km warranty as well as a six-year/90 000km service plan.
Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 SLX Manual R295 900
Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 SLX CVT R310 900