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2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS

Review notes

06/08/2012 EDITOR WES RAYNAL: It cracks me up that this is called the Sport model. It's anything but. The combination of the four-cylinder and the continuously variable transmission just doesn't cut it. Add in all-wheel drive sapping even more power and, well, you get the picture. The fact that the four-cylinder is a bit crude and loud only adds to my distaste for the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS. The shift paddles on the steering wheel seem like some sort of cruel joke. It's not bad-looking inside and out. It reminds me a lot of the last-generation Volkswagen Jetta, which was good-looking. The all-wheel drive would make the car a good winter warrior, and I will say that the steering is good, and the ride/handling mix is as well.But the Kizashi is not really on my radar. Not with the Mazda 3, the Ford Focus, the Chevrolet Cruze, etc. on the market--or at l
The four-cylinder engine in the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara is rated at 166 hp.

2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Ultimate Adventure Edition

Review notes

02/23/2012 EXECUTIVE EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: It's odd that something as simple as a four-speed automatic transmission now seems so old-school, but finding one in this 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara had me half expecting that I'd flip open a panel and find an 8-track player hiding there. Instead, you flip open a dash hatch and find a portable Garmin navigation unit propped up in place. That's one way to upgrade without adding substantially to the bottom line. A good price is the story with this Grand Vitara Ultimate Adventure Edition--there's quite a bit of equipment for the money, and 4WD to boot. You just have to accept a less-than-modern powertrain, including a wheezy four-cylinder and a less-than-efficient four-speed gearbox, and a unibody chassis drawn from the previous-generation Chevrolet Equinox that's getting extremely long in the tooth.Suzuki also cuts some corners with single-stage seat
The four-cylinder engine in the Suzuki SX4 Crossover is rated at 148 hp.

2011 Suzuki SX4 Crossover, an AW Drivers Log Car Review

05/27/2011 EXECUTIVE EDITOR--AUTOWEEK.COM BOB GRITZINGER: The 2011 Suzuki SX4 Crossover is a great bargain--loads of usable space in a tight package, good step-in height and hip point, higher-end features including a pop-up navigation screen (though I could do without the cartoonish Garmin interface), reasonable ride and quietness, and all-wheel drive. The engine is peppy enough but the CVT seems to drag it down, even though I know, mechanically, it is getting the best possible efficiency from the engine. There's some body roll, but the brakes are responsive and the steering is quick.Overall, except for the transmission, the SX4 feels fairly sporty and fun, with ample interior space. I'd love Suzuki (or Honda on the Fit) to engineer that little front port window to open like the vent windows on cars in the 1950s or '60s. How cool would that be?A $20,000 price makes this vehicle a great deal. The low price and all the features make it a best buy in my book.ART DIRECTOR CHERYL L. BLAHNIK: A little more than $20,000 for this? I'll admit, the all-whe
The four-cylinder engine in the Suzuki Kizashi Sport is rated at 185 hp.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport SLS, an AW Drivers Log

04/05/2011 EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROGER HART: This is the best Suzuki that I've driven. I'm somewhat amazed that Suzuki's ability to build outstanding motorcycles has not somehow carried over to four-wheel cars. The "Sport" moniker is a bit misleading, what with 185 hp on tap, although having the six-speed manual was much appreciated, and the suspension felt a little bit tighter than that in our long-term Kizashi. For the price, I'm not sure there is much of a value here. The Dodge Avenger Heat is $1,000 less, has 100 hp more underhood and is an overall bigger car. Maybe Suzuki needs to stick with bikes, because it does that really, really well. Not that the Kizashi is a bad car, I'm just not sure the value is there from what should be a value producer.NEWS EDITOR GREG MIGLIORE: This sport package is all show and no go. There's no extra horsepower. A turbo or even some kind of tuner trick to get 20 more ponies from the exhaust or intake system would be helpful. That being said, the show part is well done. The wheels and rocker panels spruce up
Life with our long-term Suzuki Kizashi has been eventful lately.

2010 Suzuki Kizashi SLS, a Long-Term Update

01/19/2011 During the second quarter of our long-term Suzuki Kizashi’s stay in the AutoWeek garage, it was sadly neglected in favor of a number of more exciting sports cars that came through our fleet or were assigned airport duty. But when it did move, drivers always got out surprised and overall pleased with the Suzuki sedan’s performance. One staff member spoke for the group, noting, “The Kizashi is a car that should not be disregarded in its class.”So far in the third-quarter, we’ve taken our own advice and have piled plenty of miles on the deep-sea-blue metallic Suzuki. If our current pace keeps up, we’ll log close to 9,000 miles onto our Kizashi’s odometer in the third quarter alone.Praise flows in our logbook for the car’s steady and solid road manners both on the expressway and around the city. The suspension damps out most road hazards with ease, and the hefty steering-wheel weight and quick response remain a hit with the majority of drivers. Fuel economy consistently hovers in the mid-20s, which is good
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS

2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS, an AW Drivers Log

06/30/2010 COPY/PRODUCTION CHIEF WENDY WARREN KEEBLER: I’ve driven our long-term Kizashi recently, and I’m quite surprised at how much nicer this one is (for less money?). The manual transmission is smooth, the ride is likewise, and it’s generally lovely inside and out. I wonder why I didn’t care much at all for the long-termer (with CVT). I’ll have to try it again.ASSOCIATE EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: After driving this Kizashi with the manual transmission, I believe we’ve made a colossal mistake in getting our long-termer with the CVT transmission. It’s not that our car stinks with the CVT, but this car with a manual transmission is just leaps and bounds more lively and eggs you on to drive it harder. Lesson learned, and it won’t happen again.This test car with the Azure gray metallic paint looks spectacular. Why didn’t we pick this color for our long-termer!? This car is real sharp from the rear three-quarters view with nice proportions.I’m probably sounding like a broken record when it com
The Suzuki SX4 SportBack marries the Crossover body with a tighter suspension.

2010 Suzuki SX4 SportBack, an AW Drivers Log

05/11/2010 ASSOCIATE EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: I've always been a fan of Suzuki's SX4 lineup. We first had the Crossover with the available AWD and then the sweet-looking sedan. Let's not forget to mention that they all possess a drive quality that is sporty for the class with a tight platform backed up with a potent engine.This brings us to the SportBack model, which is new for the 2010 model year. Essentially, it's a sharper looking and handling version, taking the Crossover's five-door body and bolting on the more spirited suspension components from the sedan, which isn't a bad idea. Who couldn't use the additional cargo space afforded by a rear hatch?Visually different from the Crossover is the lack of the roof rack, mildly massaged fascia, the addition of a lip spoiler, side skirts and rear spoiler. It doesn't sound like much, but along with the lowered ride height from the stiffer suspension, the SportBack looks sleek.The SX4 has quite an engine for this class of vehicle, with the 2.0-liter 150-hp I4. Seeing that makes the Honda Fit's 1.5-liter, 117-h
The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport gets some new wheels and fascia but still packs 185 hp.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport, an AW Flash Drive

03/31/2010 What is it?It's the coming freshening of the couple-months-new Kizashi sedan, one of the quickest freshenings in automotive history. The Sport designation goes to the upper two of Kizashi's four models. The base S and volume SE models stay the same. The GTS and SLS are now called GTS Sport and SLS Sport. The Sport versions get new 18-inch wheels, a new front fascia from the concept car shown two years ago, new rockers and a new rear spoiler. The car is lowered 10 millimeters (0.39 inch), and those wheels are two pounds lighter apiece. Oh, and the steering wheel on the Sport is partly leather.What's it like to drive?Suzuki set up a nice autocross course at the former El Toro Air Base and lined up a number of competitors. Assuming they didn't remove the springs, shocks and sway bars from the competitors, or lower the pressures in half the tires, the Kizashi felt much better around the crazy first- and second-gear course. Suzuki says the Sport gets "a little bit more nimble feeling" than the rest of the Kizashi line, listing a skidpad imp
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi SLS

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi SLS, an AW Drivers Log

03/24/2010 SENIOR EDITOR FOR NEWS BOB GRITZINGER: Well-equipped, nice leather appointments, good audio system, AWD--that’s all fine, but it’s still hard to wrap my head around a $28,000 Suzuki. In Japan, this company owns the tiny-car market, but here in America, lots of people still look for something with two wheels and a two-stroke engine when you say “Suzuki.” So that price might be a little rich.At the same time, if Suzuki can get a potential buyer past the initial sticker shock (and stop them from trying to mix oil with the gas and pour it into the tank), those buyers will find a lot to like about this car. The leather-wrapped steering wheel provides a luxury touch point, while the heated leather seats handle the rest. The engine-tranny combo propels the car to speed with decent rapidity, and even the wide-range CVT seems to have an upshift that mimics a second cog once you hit 60 mph. For those who want the feel of regular shifting, there are steering-wheel-mounted paddles for upshifts and downshifts. Top it off with an all-wheel-drive sy
The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited

The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited, an AW Drivers Log

02/19/2010 SENIOR WEB REPORTER GREG MIGLIORE: This is a nice total package for a sporty small ute. I like the sheetmetal. It seems a touch athletic, which fits in with some of the enthusiasts who may be attracted to this ride.Inside is very pleasant--save for the ridiculous whistling noise at speed on the expressway. I noticed it happening when I was coasting and seemed to stop when I hit the accelerator. Aside from that, the cockpit has nice materials, and the dark colors made for a sporty atmosphere. It’s got a solid engine too. There’s enough power and the AWD is a reassuring feature. There’s a bit of lean in some situations, but the body is mostly composed. It handles well, and the steering is good for a small ute.It’s a pretty attractive little SUV, I think.EDITORIAL ASSISTANT JONATHAN WONG: Boy, this is a quick compact SUV. With 230 hp on tap from the V6, it easily takes care of every daily commuting task that you come across. It’s not the 269 hp that the Toyota RAV4 V6 has on tap, but the power is stil

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