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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Yes, It's a Winner

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The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi was the overall winner in this year’s AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award rankings among 2010MY vehicles, meaning that it not only was best in its mid-size car segment, but was more satisfying to its owners than any other 2010 model year vehicle on the market. Yes, more satisfying than Camry, Accord, or Altima. Heck, it was rated as more satisfying by its owners than Lexus LS460, for crying out loud!


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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Sporting Personality and Value

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Suzuki Kizashi arrives in showrooms in December 2009. When the car was revealed this summer, we talked about how its size fits into the market (click here), but Suzuki recently invited us to spend an afternoon flogging the car around rural roads in North Carolina and at the Virginia International Raceway. We happily obliged.
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Should Americans recent appreciation for cheap chic develop into a sustained shift, Suzuki is ready. Kizashi is a sporting, stylish sedan with premium features and finish at a mainstream price–a mainstream price, not a value price. For Suzuki, if keeping up with the Joneses now means how little did you spend to get fancy tricks of premium cars, Kizashi represents well. Comparing Kizashi against its development targets (Alfa Romeo 159, Acura TSX, and Volkswagen Passat CC), and you find a responsive drive, lots of features, and generic uplevel cues. Suzuki’s target was good for the consumer: It resulted in a better car.
Kizashi is smaller than Mazda6, larger than compact Chevrolet Cobalt; smaller than Ford Fusion and larger than Volkswagen Jetta. Kizashi is ahead of the segment offering AWD; sure, Ford Fusion does, but only with more expensive V6 models. Speaking of V6, Kizashi launches without one. AutoPacific’s research shows most buyers would put a six-cylinder in their next ideal vehicle–even if they often end up buying a four–and Suzuki has one we wouldn’t be surprised to see later.
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2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Can This Flyweight Hold Its Own With the Big Boys?

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Suzuki_2010_Kizashi_two.JPGSuzuki unveiled the company’s very first mid-size sedan this week, and VehicleVoice staff were on hand to witness the car’s global debut. The importance of the car to Suzuki cannot be overstated. The company has long been known for small vehicles, specifically compact cars and SUVs. But, buyers of small vehicles tend to want to move up to larger vehicles next time around and by and large, Suzuki has not had larger vehicles to move owners up into (we’ll ignore the forgettable Verona, a rebadged Daewoo sedan). Thus, the company has not been able to retain its customers as they progress through their lifestages.


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Suzuki Kizashi and Kizashi 2: A Brand Looking to Grow

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Concepts at Frankfurt and Tokyo Foreshadow Suzuki’s Mid-Size Intentions.
The Kizashi at the 2007 Frankfurt show and the Kizashi 2 a month later at the Tokyo motor show, according to Suzuki, “illustrate Suzuki‘s progress toward developing a D-segment entry.” For American buyers, those are cars similar in size to the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Hyundai Azera. Suzuki’s GM-Daewoo-supplied Verona tried to compete here, but was not a particularly good example of a family sedan, expensive for the Suzuki franchise, and it was dropped from the range after a short sales run in the USA.

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Among the interesting elements of these two international concept cars is that both carry a wagon bodystyle; Suzuki is due to show a third development next year in the United States and it would be a good bet that that car is a sedan and closer to what the production vehicle will be. Suzuki is well aware of the need for the production car to at least include a sedan, having indicated that they are planning a new flagship sedan, despite theses wagon concepts. In the States, four-door sedans dominate car segments. Few wagons survive for long in the cutthroat U.S. mid-size market, and those that do sell a fraction of their sedan counterparts. Wagons fare much better in international markets, where buyers did not take SUVs to heart quite as deeply as Americans. Simply, in the USA, SUVs killed the idea of a conventional station wagon.
The Kizashi 2 in Tokyo takes more aggressive, nearly SUV cues, compared with the sleek Kizashi, but it is still a wagon. Suzuki is looking for a D-segment entry that focuses on status and signals the maturity of the brand.
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