Even though everything in the General Motors universe seemed pretty flimsy in 2009, and GM-affiliated Suzuki backed out of its attempts to sell Suzuki-badged cars in America in 2013, an interesting new Suzuki midsize sedan managed to appear on our shores for the 2010 model year: The Kizashi. Just under 23,000 Kizashis were sold in the US and Canada during the car’s 2010-2013 sales campaign, and I found this clean ’11 in a yard just south of Denver, Colorado.
The Kizashi offered car buyers a lot for their money, with this SE AWD version priced from $23,399 (about $30,548 in 2022 dollars).
Unfortunately for Kizashi sales, North American car buyers never really got used to Four-wheeled Suzukis that did not have Geo or Chevrolet badging (with the exception of this kind of four-wheeled Suzuki). During the 2000s, Suzuki car offerings included a rebadged and Giugiaro-styled Daewoo Leganza, a rebadged Daewoo Nubira, the Reasonable price Aero, and the Equally reasonable price Suzuki-badged Daewoo Lacetti, more long forgotten esteem and a few SUV vehicles you’ll find rolling around today with long-expired temporary tags and at least one space-saving spare. Recognition of the Suzuki name on our shores beats Daihatsu but did not quite reach Isuzu levels.
That said, the Kizashi would have seemed like a blatant match with Nissan or even Mitsubishi badging. The interior materials were nice, the AWD system was affordable, and you got all sorts of standard features that the competition sold as options (including keyless ignition, Bluetooth, a seven-speaker audio system, etc.).
Having rented a lot of cars from that era, I can tell you that anything beyond a simple CD player and four speakers was unusual in low-trim mid-size cars at the time. I used to go to the 24 Hours of Lemons races with a few audio CDs, just so I wouldn’t have to listen to the radio stations in the middle of nowhere.
That 2.4-liter inline-four produced 180 horsepower (you get five more with the manual transmission), 11 more than the base Camry engine that year.
This car has the CVT; I’ve never driven a Kizashi, but I guess the CVT made it Not Much Fun™.
This one goes to his grave with a clean interior and a straight body. We can assume that an expensive powertrain component has failed. My money is on the CVT and/or head gasket.
The original owner’s documentation was still in the glove compartment. Perhaps this car had only one owner during its career.
Parts must be hard to find for Kizashis these days, although I was able to find one as a side marker light donor for my Junkyard Jack-O-Lantern sometime ago.
[Images by the author]
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