A Swift Sidekick by a Samurai: New Suzuki Kizashi (Gesundheit!)

Paul Grusche
by Paul Grusche

Suzuki has been slapped around in the U.S. market for years. I mean, how long did it take for them to settle the Samurai rollover suit with Consumer Reports? Eight years. Damn that moose test. Yet seppuku has never been an option for Suzuki. To the contrary, they have decided to move the vehicle line upscale. Introducing the all-new Kashi bar. I mean the all-new Kizashi car. At least it’s all new for this market. The Kizashi has been the number one selling car for five years in a row in Japan, according to their microsite.

Suzuki cars or, rather, their small SUVs never caught on here for whatever reason. Bad marketing, sure. Rollover scandals didn’t help. Unappealing and small 4x4s, bingo. But that’s all in the past. These are Japanese vehicles, how bad could they be? Heck the company is the only car manufacturer to remain profitable every year since 1951. Someone is buying their cars.

J.D. Power states “. . . quality has dramatically improved in recent years, and that its residual values are rising to parity.” So with this in mind, should it be hard to believe that something great is coming from Suzuki? Hopefully not, because that’s what Kizashi means in Japanese: “Something Great is Coming.” Given the economic times and their latest sales figures, I can’t blame them for “projecting.” It clearly took more thought than naming your car Nova then sending it down to Mexico.

It’s just too bad their marketing doesn’t give things more thought. Their ads are all over the place from Mini comparos, cool hip club scenes, Jeep wannabe 4x4s to leaning on its motorcycle line. All in the hopes that hanging out with the cool kid will make them cool. If Suzuki is going to make it with their new car, and the rest of their lineup, they are going to need to send in a Samurai.

[Click here for motorcarmarket.com]

Paul Grusche
Paul Grusche

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  • Roadrabbit Roadrabbit on Aug 07, 2009

    @ kbohip While more HP is always fun, that gen Maxima has torque steer out the wazoo. A refined ride it is not. And the Maxima is more of a class above standard midsize cars anyway. This car seems likely to be priced about $5-10k below a current Maxima. To me, this seems like it combines a Passat-like driving experience (tight handling, good maneuverability, decent though not class-fastest acceleration) with Sonata value. Gotta wait until I drive it to be sure, but I'm definitely interested.

  • Ohsnapback Ohsnapback on Aug 07, 2009

    I'm not trying to be an ass (honestly), but people here actually think the front end and read end of this car are aesthetically pleasing? Really?

  • Bd2 If they let me and the boyz roll around naked in their dealership I'll buy a Chinese car.
  • THX1136 I would not 'knowingly' purchase a Chinese built or brand. I am somewhat skeptical of actual build quality. What I've seen in other Chinese made products show them to be of low quality/poor longevity. They are quite good at 'copying' a design/product, but often they appear to take shortcuts by using less reliable materials and/or parts. And , yes, I know that is not exclusive to Chinese products. When I was younger 'made in Japan' was synonymous with poor quality (check John Entwistle's tune 'Made in Japan' out for a smile). This is not true today as much of Japan's output is considered very favorably and, in some product types, to be of superior quality. I tend to equate the same notion today for things 'made in China'.
  • Mike Beranek No, but I'm for a world where everyone, everywhere buys cars (and everything else) that are sourced and assembled regionally. Shipping big heavy things all over the planet is not a solution.
  • Jeffrey No not for me at this time
  • El scotto Hmm, my VPN and security options have 12-month subscriptions. Car dealers are not accountable to anyone except the owner. Of course, the dealer principles are running around going "state of the art security!", "We need dedicated IT people!" For the next 12 months. The hackers can wait.