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William Maley

Interactive Review: 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS AWD

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

August 17, 2012

This time at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Garage is a newcomer, the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS AWD (takes breath). For $26,404 (the pricetag on the car) 2.4L inline-four, CVT Transmission, AWD, sunroof, dual-zone climate control, an appearance package, and a banging 425 watt Rockford Fosgate sound system.

The Kizashi sits in a interesting position in the new car field. Its size and pricetag puts somewhere between a compact and a mid-size vehicle. Think the last generation Volkswagen Jetta.

First impressions are mostly good. The interior is put together well, steering and handling is quite good, and the powertrain combo works well when you get above about 2000 RPMs.

I'll have more thoughts as the week with Kizashi goes on. In the meantime, if you have any questions, post them and I will do my best to answer them.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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sent one out the door that exact color this a.m. was looking at a Cruze, he moved up! LMK what your mpg tests turn out. too bad you didn't get leather SLS.....

I'll be real interested in your comparisons to other cars like Jettas, and anything else.

2013 brings back NAV / infotainment with pandora, bluetooth streaming, and other stuff. The 012 non NAV radio has the better sound. 012 didn't ship any nav units cars anyways.

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It is sharp, and I am glad your reviewing the AWD version. From what I hear the AWD system in this car is just fantastic, and I am really looking forward to future input on how you like it.

I know why they do it (separate emissions certification) but I wish they didn't have CVT only with the AWD.

Interested to know how you like the CVT also, I have heard the Suzuki CVT is much nicer than the Nissan CVT.

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Kizashi and Cruze have nearly near identical dimensions, worth considering interior space and trunk comparo between the two. Elantra also has near identical dimensions. I would imagine the Dart is near identical also. The interior space inside is excellent in comparison to the Cruze.

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It's also roomier than the Focus, which is a little tight inside. Golf/GTI, Kizashi, Dart...all roomier than the Focus inside.

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sent one out the door that exact color this a.m. was looking at a Cruze, he moved up! LMK what your mpg tests turn out. too bad you didn't get leather SLS.....

I'm averaging 25 MPG at the moment, which is the combined EPA rating. I'm liking the cloth in the Sport GTS, along with the 10-Way power seats.

It is sharp, and I am glad your reviewing the AWD version. From what I hear the AWD system in this car is just fantastic, and I am really looking forward to future input on how you like it.

I haven't tried the AWD system yet. There's a button on the driver's side which turns it on and off. I will likely try it later on in the week.

Interested to know how you like the CVT also, I have heard the Suzuki CVT is much nicer than the Nissan CVT.

I wouldn't go that far. I think the CVT is just as good as Nissan's.

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I'm interested to know if you can feel any difference in handling as soon as you turn the AWD system on. Can you feel it "engage" at all?

Years ago when I was in love with the Eagle Talon, I drove a FWD and an AWD back to back and the handling difference was amazing.

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Would like more input on AWD handling and fuel economy, please.

From Olds prev. experience, reg's experience with customers, and MM's experience with the Kisashi....

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The AWD button is merely an electronic 'yes' or 'no' with regards to allowing the rear clutch pack to engage.

There is very little mpg drop using AWD, not really noticeable. The predictive all wheel drive system is similar to the Porsche Panamera in that it can use the all wheel drive for performance driving. For example, if cornering hard and accelerating, some power will be sent aft and you will even get additional power steering assist. The coordination of the AWD and power steering and its ability to predict the intended motion of the vehicle and respond ahead of time is what sets the all wheel drive apart from the FWD.

I get people tell me high twenties in everyday driving and I have also pulled 37 mpg on 40 mile freeway loops with some stopping at lights and such. The car can pull low thirties on the computer at a cruise set at 75 mph. The EPA ratings are a bit conservative. Any CVT car with constant redlining instead of even throttle foot will drop mpg fast.

Compared to what I hear Cruze automatics and Elantras get for real world mpg, its pretty amazing for a car with more hp and all wheel drive to be right in the mix.

The AWD is really nice to have in wet conditions and snow. The stock Dunlop 18" ers have stiff sidewalls and are average at best in snow conditions. They are better suited to dry warm weather.

Average drivers can't tell any difference in AWD vs. FWD. If you drive a FWD only car you notice the car is lighter and more nose heavy, but the suspension feels pretty much the same. So hard driving and getting some rear wheel assist helps to not plow the vehicle.

I am surprised at how many folks think the GTS is too stiff.....even the SE's.....I'd be interested in seeing if you think the car is too stiff. I've had some folks buy the base with 16th and gummy soft tires only because the softer ride.

The CVT is a function of how willing people are to adapt to a CVT.. its one of the better ones, maybe not the very best. But if you hate CVT's anyways then it's not your car.

I test drove a Focus Titanium the other day, in comparison the K steering is not as spot on hardcore as the Focus..... but it is very good. The Cruze's steering is lighter and very good for many consumer's everyday driving.....but it's not quite as quick and responsive as the K.

Kizashi has a few pounds over the Cruze and Focus but I think the Dart and K have close to the same curb weights.

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I really probably would not find it too stiff. Glad your passionate about selling the K...guys at the local Suzuki store seem like they could care less...

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now if they would simply stuff a turbo with about 270hp under the hood and an 8 speed auto with AWD........ / MT option

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Would like more input on AWD handling and fuel economy, please.

Well I can give some input on the AWD system. Like Reg said above, the system doesn't engage till you turn it on. The only way you know its on is a light in the gauge cluster. You can feel it working if you decide to floor the Kizashi on pavement or a gravel road.

I will be trying the AWD system some more later on in the week.

Fuel economy: Right now, I averaging about 23 to 25 MPG in mostly suburban and rural driving. I just finished doing a couple highway runs with my average being about 32 MPG. The Kizashi was on cruise control set at 70 MPH.

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Not bad, but the 1994 Concorde I had did better, and was a larger car.

I would think a Cruze would do better in real world mileage....and most GTI owners I know are seeing better MPG than that...hmmm..

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Not bad, but the 1994 Concorde I had did better, and was a larger car.

I would think a Cruze would do better in real world mileage....and most GTI owners I know are seeing better MPG than that...hmmm..

The Kizashi should be doing a lot better. I left the AWD system off for most of the time and haven't stuck my foot into it. And, the Kizashi is lighter than a lot of vehicles, weighing somewhere around 3000 lbs..

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I'm tired, I had a long but good day at work, I'll check figures at Fuelly.com tomorrow....

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GTS AWD curb weight is like 3450 or 3500 pounds.

truedelta reports of mpg for AWD CVT is usually mid twenties. FWD only high twenties. MT FWD seems to average out at 30 or above, which is slightly odd since the rpm at 70mpg on the MT is several hundred more than the auto CVT once it settles in. but you don't rev the MT as much to get it going.

Most of my homeys report high twenties in mixed driving with the AWD CVT. Once you learn that you don't need to constantly floor it to get motivation, is when the magic light comes on. If your city driving is more than say 2/3 of the driving, yeah, you will get 25 probably.

I do admit the Kizashi does not possess stump pulling torque. However, the 4 is smooth in running top to bottom on the rev scale. Even if low end torque is not overly plentiful...the wily nature of the engine and its smoothness at least make the higher rpms livable.

Edited by regfootball

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So the Kizashi has left the garage and I'm really impressed with it. I have some complaints and worries about it that I will explain when the review comes out in a week or two.

Final fuel economy average for the test.. 24.8 MPG. Just under the 25 MPG combined.

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Interested to hear about the complaints and worries.

Thanks for doing the review.

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