Suzuki Auto South Africa has upped the ante for medium-sized cars with the addition of an exciting newcomer to its passenger car line-up.
First unveiled in concept form at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Kizashi has evolved into a desirable four-door sedan that represents an enviable combination of contemporary design, keen performance and involving driving dynamics.
While the Kizashi has already become a significant player in markets such as Australia, Japan and the US, it makes its SA début this month.
Kizashi is Japanese for ‘something great is coming’ – an apt description of a car that breaks new ground for the Suzuki marque, both locally and globally. It also underlines Suzuki’s intention to expand its automotive horizons beyond the compact car segments it has contested so successfully over many years.
“Kizashi represents Suzuki’s first foray into the highly competitive medium car segment, and also assumes the flagship role in the Suzuki model range,” says Kazuyuki Yamashita, managing director of Suzuki Auto SA.
“While it’s clearly a departure from our current line-up of compact hatchbacks and SUVs, Kizashi retains and expands on all the core values Suzuki customers have come to expect: uncompromising quality, exceptional safety, satisfying dynamics and superior value.
“In doing so, we will now be able to accommodate those customers who want to retain their connection with Suzuki’s ‘Way Of Life’ product philosophy, but need the additional space and comfort of a larger sedan,” Yamashita concluded.
DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN
From the outset, the development of the Kizashi medium sedan revolved around the five key elements representing the Suzuki ‘Way Of Life’: forthrightness, value, sportiness, spirit and excitement.
This ensured that the Kizashi, while breaking completely new ground, would retain its conceptual and emotional connection with the Suzuki brand and its core values.
As a result, the Kizashi development programme focussed on creating an emotionally appealing sedan for active people, while offering a dynamic driving experience.
Aesthetic design, thrilling performance and eco-friendliness were also considered key attributes in creating an emotional bond between the Kizashi and its target customers.
As the exterior design took shape, its elegance and athletic appeal reflected the engineering team’s resolve to combine a chassis tuned for involving road manners with smooth refinement. Engine development focussed on both performance and eco-friendly attributes.
That the production car exceeded the design and development team’s every expectation only serves to underline that Suzuki’s prowess extends well beyond its reputation as a small-car manufacturer.
The Kizashi truly delivers, especially in dynamic terms. Its appeal extends beyond the usual straight-line performance figures and delivers a driving experience that seamlessly fuses design, performance and dynamics.
The new sedan combines the best of European-style design with Japanese craftsmanship. Viewed from the front, the sedan is distinguished by a wide stance and a curved bonnet line that expresses athletic presence and forward motion.
The headlights emphasise the car’s width, while the front grille’s mesh design and dark finish looks both modern and aggressive.
In profile, the long 2 700 mm wheelbase, combined with a particularly compact overall length of just 4 650 mm, emphasises the Kizashi’s short overhangs and sporty profile.
Taut shoulder lines running from nose to tail underscore the car’s lean and muscular contours, again expressing both dynamic prowess and refinement. The standard 18-inch alloy wheels and 235/45 ZR18 low-profile tyres strike a further sporty note.
But there’s also a sense of quality, conveyed by details such as chrome-plated bezels on the indicators, piano black garnishes on the B-pillars, and glossy black beltline mouldings.
At the rear, the core visual elements include an integrated bootlid spoiler and twin exhaust tailpipes, both of which underscore the Kizashi’s athletic personality. Attention to detail is evidenced by the way the cylindrical theme of the tail light clusters matches the design of the headlights, while also creating a three-dimensional impression.
Inside, the cabin’s contemporary layout and smart finishes create an inviting, upmarket ambience. Key elements include an elegantly executed centre console, premium-grade controls and seats, and extensive tactile and visual refinement.
The interior cladding and finishes reflect the Kizashi’s premium status. The instrument panel combines symmetry and a sense of flow, emphasised by the matt metallic finishes and inverted L-shaped details.
The sporty three-spoke steering wheel is trimmed in leather and incorporates backlit switches to adjust the audio system, cruise control and the readout of the information display.
The main instrumentation consists of two cylindrical dials framing an information display. The display shows instant and average fuel consumption, fuel tank range and average speed. It also incorporates a low fuel warning and a battery replacement reminder for the remote key fob.
The audio system, including FM/AM radio, CD and MP3 playback functions, was custom-designed for the Kizashi, and features seven speakers and a subwoofer, as well as a USB port for iPod connection. Dual-zone climate control air conditioning is standard.
The Kizashi’s seats combine generous dimensions with exceptional support, and are electrically operated. The driver’s seat offers 10-way adjustment and a three-position memory, while the passenger seat has a four-way adjustment scope.
The front and rear windows are electrically adjustable, with a one-touch opening and closing action for the front windows, and an anti-pinch feature which prevents objects or fingers from being inadvertently caught in the window.
The Kizashi also delivers on the utility and practicality fronts. The boot has a generous 461-litre capacity, while the rear bench seat’s folding seatback is split 60:40.
A full array of storage spaces for smaller items includes an illuminated glove box, a double-layer compartment under the centre-console armrest, and an instrument-panel centre box that’s ideal for an iPod, as it also houses the USB port and power socket. There is also a convenient sunglasses holder.
Other standard feature highlights include auto-activating headlights and windscreen wipers, a sunroof, a photo-chromatic rear-view mirror, leather upholstery, self-levelling High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, and front and rear parking assistance.
The Kizashi is powered by a 2,4-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, designated J24B. While based on the Grand Vitara’s power unit, the twin-cam engine has been comprehensively updated for its role in the new flagship.
Those updates have resulted in excellent output figures. Maximum power comes to 131 kW at 6 500 r/min, coupled to a torque peak of 230 Nm at 4 000 r/min. The engine is also highly efficient, and achieves a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 7,9 litres/100 km and a CO2 emissions rating of 183 g/km.
This combination of power and fuel efficiency is further emphasised by measures that include maximised intake-valve lift, a variable intake system and a plastic intake manifold that reduces intake air temperature increases.
Varying the effective length of the intake manifold optimises midrange torque delivery at lower engine speeds, while boosting power at high revs.
Measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) include extensive use of insulating materials and seals, as well as employing a balance shaft, acoustically..