Monday, January 2, 2017

Used Car Review - Suzuki Kizashi (2012-2016)

This recently discontinued vehicle will be reviewed for this week.

2012-2016 Suzuki Kizashi

Mention the word Suzuki and the things that may enter your mind are the following: motorcycles, little hatchbacks, mini SUV models, and that's it. Anything beyond the small size could be considered foreign for the brand but with this vehicle we are reviewing, it was a bold move except the execution failed.

The Daewoo Magnus based Suzuki Verona was the brand's first mid-size entrant sold in the ever crowded category for the US market but that venture only lasted from 2004 until 2006, citing poor sales for its short lived attempt. With some concept vehicles floating around 2007, the Suzuki Kizashi was first launched in 2009 in various world markets. Despite being a flagship model (kizashi, in Japanese, means a sign of things to come) and good reviews, consumers warmed to this model with production ended in December 2014 in Japan and no successor was introduced.

Our market had to wait for this vehicle to be made available until its April 2012 introduction locally. Being the most expensive offering during its time (the Grand Vitara's V6 models were dropped), sales were lukewarm and by November 2016, it was removed from its Philippine website.

Value and Costs
It's P1.288M price tag had it compete with both top of the line compacts such as the Corolla Altis 2.0 V and Lancer EX GT-A and base model mid-size sedans like the Sonata GLS during its time didn't help attain decent sales. Thanks to Suzuki's not-so-good depreciation record, you can attain one for less than P500,000 which is a bargain for a used car buyer like you who wants something sporty in a manageable size.

Maintaining one could be difficult especially that not much units were sold plus being a discontinued model and the brand's notoriety for expensive spare parts. If you are willing to take the plunge, then there exist surplus shops for Japanese models if you want plus some engine components are shared with the Grand Vitara if things get difficult. Not much complaints from owners are reported, if you are curious.

Exterior and Interior
At 4,650mm, the Kizashi competes in two different categories which makes it struggle in the first place. While compact in size, making it somewhat bloated does things in its favor especially it highlights its imposing front grille, bulky wheel arches, and large lights gives it a commanding presence.

Units that are painted black get a beige interior, those in white or silver have their's in black. Inside it feels premium, similar to models costing more and you get a host of amenities even some top end compacts lack such as side airbags, rear aircon vents, ambient foot wells, puddle lamps, among others. Five persons will fit inside comfortably, similar to a mid-size sedan which is a plus.

Unlike rivals which offer a multitude of engine options, units sold internationally only get one choice in the form of J24B 2.4 gasoline having 180hp at 6,000rpm and 230Nm at 4,000rpm. Mated to a continuously variable transmission, this one is a smooth performer with plenty of power on tap.

Driving Impressions
This compact/midsize sedan, depending on your point of view, is easy to drive thanks to a manageable size. Being a passenger will give you a stable and quiet ride thanks to the numerous insulators placed inside, a plus on this target market. Bet you don't know this: the ABS module is supplied by Akebono Brake Corporation, the one company who makes similar components for the bullet trains in Japan.

Although this car was a sign of the great things to come, it wasn't the sign Suzuki wanted. While the Kizashi is a niche car for those who want something sporty and luxurious at the same time, there are more practical options available unless you want to take the risk.

The Good:
  • Cheap to buy
  • Manageable size, inside and out
  • Lots of amenities
The Bad:
  • Limited spare parts
  • Somewhat limited space for some
  • Struggles at the market
The Pick: 2.4

Engine: 2,393cc J24B I4 gasoline
Power: 180hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 230Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: Continously variable transmission
Suspension: Front McPherson strut with coil spring, rear multi link

Price (New): P1,288,000
Price (Now): P450,000
On Sale: 2012-2016
Rivals: Chevrolet Cruze diesel, Ford Focus Titanium, Honda Civic EL, Hyundai Sonata GLS, Kia Optima, Mazda 3 R, Mitsubishi Lancer EX GT-A, Toyota Corolla Altis V

Suzuki Auto E. Rodriguez - (02) 726-2709

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