in 2012 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,948 - $15,853
Original MSRP: $18,999 - $27,699
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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2012 Suzuki Kizashi Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2012 Suzuki Kizashi offers shoppers only one four-cylinder engine, which test drivers say is slightly underpowered. Reviewers focus on the Kizashi’s handling, which they say is athletic, with extremely precise steering. Its optional all-wheel drive is well-liked by reviewers. Overall, auto critics say the Kizashi is fun to drive, especially on a twisty road.

  • "In terms of engine performance and overall refinement, Kizashi comes up a bit short of its goal. However, it delivers nimble, sports-sedan-worthy handling while maintaining a composed and relatively pleasant ride." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the road, the … Suzuki Kizashi delivers a comfortable ride as well as just enough excitement to get the blood pumping." -- Edmunds
  • “The Kizashi drives better than basically everything in its class.” -- Autoblog
  • "With a clever blend of smooth ride and competent handling, the Kizashi can be fun on roads that twist and turn, yet it doesn't beat up its occupants on broken surfaces. It has plenty of power and offers all-wheel drive.” -- New York Times

Acceleration and Power

Every 2012 Kizashi comes with the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 185 horsepower with the standard six-speed manual transmission or 180 horsepower with the optional CVT. Reviewers say the Kizashi gets up to speed quickly for a four-cylinder, but the performance emphasis is clearly on cornering rather than speed.

Two transmissions are available, and reviewers aren’t crazy about either one. The six-speed manual has its fans, since it offers a light clutch and the control many driving enthusiasts seek. But it has fairly long throws, which disappoints some reviewers. The other option is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is a type of gearless automatic transmission designed to make the most of an engine’s power while maximizing fuel economy.

The EPA estimates the base 2012 Suzuki Kizashi will earn fuel economy ratings of 20/29 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission and 23/30 with the automatic. Add all-wheel drive to the base model and it will get 22/29 mpg with the automatic. S models get 21/31 mpg with the manual and 23/31 mpg with the automatic, while all-wheel drive automatic S models are estimated at 23/30 mpg.

  • "With the CVT, acceleration from a stop is leisurely, but power comes on strongly above 3,500 rpm. Passing punch is competitive with 4-cylinder rivals. Using the available steering-wheel shift paddles improves the CVT's response. Manual models are a bit peppier from a stop and have smooth shifter and clutch action." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Output from the four-cylinder is adequate. The six-speed manual transmission's shifter can seem slightly vague for first-time drivers, but it becomes more intuitive with use. Unlike some other CVTs, the Kizashi's does an admirable job of keeping power on tap without much hesitation or the typical engine drone. The paddle shifters are an added plus for more sporting drivers who demand more control." -- Edmunds
  • "The Kizashi will reach 60 mph from a standstill in 7.5 seconds before its Akebono brakes haul it down. That's not remarkably quick, but straight lines aren't what the Kizashi does best.” -- Autoblog
  • “The Kizashi's six-speed manual transmission, which we highly recommend, shifts lightly and smoothly and is enjoyable to operate. The other transmission option is a paddleshifted continuously variable automatic, which is generally very sure of itself and is quick to respond to throttle inputs.” -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Reviewers report that the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi offers livelier handling than many of its midsize rivals. Its ride is slightly firm, but also compliant, and reviewers say it strikes a good balance of both. The Kizashi’s steering gets positive comments for being precise. The Kizashi is a front-wheel drive car, but all-wheel drive is optional on all trim levels.

  • "Given its sports-sedan aspirations, Kizashi delivers a surprisingly compliant ride. … Handling is crisp and composed with little body lean in fast corners. Communicative steering is precise and well weighted. Available all-wheel drive increases the car's road-holding capabilities." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For drivers looking for a little more excitement out of a family sedan, the … Suzuki Kizashi should prove satisfying. With plenty of grip and adequately weighted steering, the Kizashi can easily take on curvy roads. The suspension tuning is a little firm, but it's not significant enough to sour the overall experience." -- Edmunds
  • "The Kizashi exhibited better control of the understeer inherent in that class and there was little lift-throttle oversteer." -- AutoWeek

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