Monday, January 9, 2012

Suzuki Kizashi - Yes you read right....

I was browsing the new US news car reviews and noticed the Suzuki Kizashi at #4, tied with the Sonata and above the Camry, Accord and my nemesis Kia Optima (due to the dealership, not the car, see previous post).

I didn't realize the Kizashi was an AWD, in fact for 2012 AWD is standard on all trims whereas it was an option in 2011.  If you read the US news review although it says it is for the 2012 model, it is actually the 2011 model. I know this because it talks about optional AWD and blue tooth, both of which are standard on 2012's.  So affordable AWD ...... that means you now have 2 options if you want affordable AWD sedans, this or the Subaru Legacy.  I am not really a fan of the Legacy styling myself so I haven't checked them out yet.

If you go to the somewhat low tech Suzuki site you will find it antiquated and also missing the 2012 Kizashi.  How can dealerships hope to sell vehicles that are not even existing on the website???  They have some good deals advertised on the remaining 2011's.... but there are none available.

So on my lunch hour I ventured down to the local Suzuki dealership, which really gives the local Acura dealership a run for its money in the crappiest looking dealership in existence category.  At least they are not trying to sell luxury vehicles out of there.  Showroom was small, they had 2 cars in there, one was the Kizashi, a red 2012 sport model.  Car looked nice, nothing fancy or overly stylish but reminiscent of Audi if anything.  A salesguy came over, nice guy, not overly talkative, you could tell he has been selling Suzuki for a good while.

Anyway he showed me the 3 kizashi's they have available, tells me the prices, which they have including freight and pdi so they can sneak in a few hundred bucks over msrp into the base price.  Its easy enough to see they are tacking on about an extra $500 which would need ot be negotiated out.  Stated msrp is $27,995, add on say $1,500 freight and pdi and you have $29,495.  They are charging $29,995 for the base model but at a very reasonable 0.9% finance rate, they don't offer leasing.  Again this shows they are behind the times, every dealership is into offering leases again, even if they are not always the most attractive option.  I like having the option.

So I asked to take one for drive, he put me in the SX which has leather and sunroof for $3,000 more than the base model, which is a reasonable price difference.  Even the base model has a lot of features you don't normally see on entry models such as heated seats, push button start, keyless entry by pushing door handle with key in your pocket, remote memory driver seats, duel zone climate control, rear heat vents and nice 17" tires. 

So as I was leaving I noticed there was 0 gas in the vehicle, the needle was below empty.  SO I went in and got the guy and he put me in the entry level model..... which also had 0 gas.  I am thinking no one has ever driven these before at this point.  So he got in and we went to the gas station, got about $20 in gas and I dropped him back.  Even on the short trip to the gas station I could feel the handling in this vehicle was SOLID.  I am talking close to BMW solid, you feel every inch of turn which I love.  I went on my normal test drive route and I really liked driving this vehicle.  As I said the handling was excellent, next best to the BMW for vehicles I have driven, brakes were solid and overall the vehicle is very well laid out and equipped, and this was the base model.  You have the option of turning the AWD on or off to save a bit on fuel economy (I would never turn it off).  Stated fuel economy is 30mpg city..... which I am very doubtful of but if it even comes close then that is great.

There was one thing I found weird with the vehicle.  Getting up to speed on the highway the engine made a noise I was not at all familiar with.  Instead of the normally gear changes it was more of a constant whirring sound.  I realized after that the engines this year are all CVT which explains it.  Power was good, not great but definitely good, I think 180 hp, and if it gets anywhere near stated fuel economy then this is one really nice engine.

So, it has AWD, lots of standard features, understated but nice looks, handles like a dream and is reasonably priced.  The salesguy was nice, provided me with a detailed print out of the cost (even if there is a small bit of smoke and mirrors with the freight and pdi) and let me know that there was still some room to negotiate. 

But hard as it is to get over past stereotypes with Kia and Hyundai this one tops even those.  At least the Koreans have nice new dealerships, Suzuki hangs off the side of an ugly repair shop.  But I won't hold that against them of course, I am not buying shares in the dealership I am buying a new vehicle.

The salesguy told me most of their business is repeat suzuki business, everyone keeps coming back.  There must be a reason for that.......

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