Suzuki Kizashi: A New Direction
by Venu Puthankattil, email@example.com. Posted on July 15, 2012, Sunday
Suzuki Motor Corporation’s genesis came about as a loom maker established in 1909, catering to Japan’s giant silk industry.
Founder Michio Suzuki, seeing the need to diversify the burgeoning company, ventured into the automotive realm in the 1930s.
In Malaysia, the brand is well recognised as its various legacy products have been etched in our past, with their successors further reinforcing its place as a longstanding cornerstone of the automobile industry.
Despite being well known for compact automobiles that have won the hearts of many, the Japanese marquee has augmented its f leet of vehicles with the Kizashi – a D-segment sedan with a name that means ‘a sign of great things to come’.
Fully imported from Japan, there are two variants of the newcomer: the SDLX and the Sport which costs about RM10,000 more.
Both variants feature J24B 2.4-litre engines and six-speed automatic constantly variable transmission (CVT) systems.
The immediately distinguishable features of this week’s focus, the Sport variant, were the sport front bumper, fog lamp bezels, lower grille, sport side-sill covers, doors garnishes and a boot lid spoiler.
Given the test model’s Pearl Snow White body paint colour and demonstrably dark interior, it was quite the looker as the sportsoriented features enhanced its 4,650 millimetre (mm) length as the large 18-inch wheels aesthetically justified the 2,700mm wheelbase.
The trunk (boot) space with a volume of 463 litres was relatively small for the D-segment category but nonetheless offered generous storage possibilities, solidifying the Kizashi’s position as a large vehicle in this market.
Entry into the vehicle was a snap with the intelligent key which enabled keyless entry provided it was in close proximity to the vehicle (practically next to it), at a guesstimated range of about one metre.
This was also refl ected in a warning tone as I stepped away from the running car with the key.
I took this was a great safety feature as some vehicle keys enabled the vehicles to be opened within three metres of the key’s location; this was potentially risky as an intruder could access the vehicle while the owner was outside but within activation distance.
As mentioned earlier, the interior had a deliciously dark motif as black leather adored all seats, steering wheel, shifter and handbrake lever; the theme was also evident in the centre console, dash and inner door panels.
The meter cluster with four analogue dials was simple but elegant with white on black markings, a recurring design that was also reflected in the digital display in the centre of the cluster.
In short, the name of the game was blackness galore.
The d river ’s seat was adjustably in 10 directions via electronic control while the front passenger seat featured electronic adjustability in four directions.
All seats were comfortable and ergonomic despite the rear seats being just a little short on having ample legroom.
One feature to note was the neatly padded glove compartment with an inconspicuous inner sub-compartment; the textured layering was a thought ful addition as it could prevent valuable possessions (such as tablets) from moving about in t ransit and save them from getting scratched in the process.
The sound system with CD, MP3 and USB connectivity had exquisitely clear sound with accentuated but clear bass; this was made possible in part by the well-designed and implemented eight-speaker array.
The controls on the steering wheel were among the most ergonomic I have come across as they felt very intuitive as I got accustomed to them in a jiffy without having to visually affirm their proper operation.
Starting up the vehicle via the push start button, I noted a comforting hum profile of the 2.4-litre powertrain which had a unique and subdued throatiness to it.
I put it into gear and began the necessary.
The punch of the acceleration made by the J24B engine was immediately gratifying as the Kizashi sped up on demand; two digit speeds were attainable at will to keep up with traffic and overtake as needed.
Equally as impressive was the car’s handling as it negotiated turns, curves and other moves with notable grace and precision.
The suspension tunings were a little tight but this should be expected of a sports-oriented vehicle.
Getting down to the bottom line, the Kizashi is a D-segment newcomer with lots of potential as Suzuki has amalgamated an enviable combination of elegant design, performance, creature comforts and handling.
With a five-year, 150,0 0 0 kilometre warranty and other after sales support to offset the Kizashi’s only shortcoming (the price tag), Suzuki’s bold step in this direction just be the game changer that the D-segment market needs.