By on April 18, 2022

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven though everything in the General Motors universe looked pretty shaky in 2009 and GM-affiliated Suzuki gave up on its attempts to sell Suzuki-badged cars in America in 2013, somehow 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 United States and Canada during the car’s 2010-2013 sales run, and I’ve found this clean ’11 in a yard just south of Denver, Colorado.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Kizashi offered car buyers a lot for their money, with the price tag on this SE AWD version starting at $23,399 (about $30,548 in 2022 dollars).

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsUnfortunately for Kizashi sales, North American car buyers never really got used to four-wheeled Suzukis that didn’t have Geo or Chevrolet badges (except for 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 Reasonably Priced Aerio, and the equally Reasonably Priced Suzuki-badged Daewoo Lacetti, plus the long-forgotten Esteem and a few SUV-ish vehicles you’ll find today rolling with long-expired temporary tags and at least one space-saver spare apiece. Suzuki name recognition on our shores beat Daihatsu but didn’t quite reach Isuzu levels.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, interior - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThat said, the Kizashi would have seemed like a screaming deal with Nissan or even Mitsubishi badges. 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 sound system, and so on).

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, radio - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsHaving rented a lot of cars of this era, I can tell you that anything beyond just a single-disc CD player and four speakers was unusual in low-trim-level midsize cars at the time. I used to travel to 24 Hours of Lemons races with a few audio CDs, just so I wouldn’t have to listen to middle-of-nowhere radio stations.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis 2.4-liter straight-four engine made 180 horsepower (you got five more with the manual transmission), 11 more than the base engine in the Camry that year.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, automatic gearshift - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis car has the CVT; I’ve never driven a Kizashi, but I assume the CVT made it Not Much Fun™.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, RH rear view - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis one goes to its grave with a clean interior and a straight body. We can assume that some expensive powertrain component failed. My money is on the CVT and/or the head gasket.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, owner's manuals - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe original owner documentation was still in the glovebox. Perhaps this car had but one owner during its career.

2011 Suzuki Kizashi in Colorado junkyard, front view - ©2022 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsParts must be hard to find for Kizashis these days, though I was able to locate one as a side-marker-light donor for my Junkyard Jack-O-Lantern a while back.

[Images by the author]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

For links to more than 2,200 additional Junkyard Finds, please visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

32 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD...”


  • avatar
    tylanner

    She was a genuinely attractive car.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I was absolutely in love with Kizashi! I drove over an hour to my nearest Suzuki dealer to test drive one when they first hit the market. I recommended them to lots of people but warned servicing them would be tricky.
    The one I drove was this spec, and I thought the push button AWD system was a great feature. I didn’t go on the longest test drive but I wasn’t bothered by the CVT I drove. Manuals were hard to find.
    The interior quality was just so good and it had a very up market feel.
    Calling these mid-sized is a bit misleading. I guess technically they could be called that, but they were much more similar in size to a Jetta than a Camry. In fact, I recall a lot of talk about them either bench marking Jettas or being related in chassis to the Jetta. It’s been a while so I might be totally misremembering.
    I still get really excited when I see one today – a rare occasion.

  • avatar
    Skippity

    Where’s the hood scoop and deck spoiler?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Curb weight 3,483 pounds.

    (We can save this vehicle if everyone does their part. That engine cover will clean up nicely – I’ll have it back to you tomorrow. Whoever is ordering new headlamps from rockauto, you better hurry – limited stock for some reason.)

  • avatar
    homer1041

    I have a 2011 Kizashi SE AWD that I bought new. This is the only CVT that I’ve experienced and while I would prefer actual gears, the car is still entertaining to drive and the built quality is excellent. Luckily I haven’t had any major mechanical issues to date, but I have purchased some minor parts that needed to be shipped from either Japan or the Middle East, and any complex system is going to cost a small fortune based on what I’ve seen, and that’s if it can even be found to begin with. I sadly expect that my Kizashi will end up like this one either after I trade it(if I can bring myself to do it) or because some major mechanical failure. My car is a 2011 built in late 2010, so at the current age and years of trouble free operation, it doesn’t really owe me anything at this point.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    The Esteem is hardly “long-forgotten” to viewers/admirers of *Better Call Saul*.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Rumor Control, from an owner (same spec)

    Car is fun, even with CVT, its programmed better and it actually shifts on demand with the paddles. (on top trim)
    Very comfortable interior
    Very well equipped
    Steering is very good for this class
    It wasnt cheap when new, mine when new, was stickered at $32K in 2011 (!), so not a cheap car when top of the line
    4WD is fun sometimes

    The bad:

    The 2.4L is THIRSTY – and with the extra weight of the AWD, I was getting barely 24MPG on a regular basis, maybe 27MPG at highway
    Electronics are a joke, dashboard and nav (stereo is actually good)
    Need to remove front bumper for changing headlight bulbs
    There are 2-3 funky recalls but only 2 dozen places in the US to do them
    Parts are hard to find. A small crash will total the car easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      “Need to remove front bumper for changing headlight bulbs”

      What kind of genius in the automotive industry thought this would be a good idea? I was appalled when I came to find out that in order to replace one tiny little burned out parking light bulb it would be necessary to remove the whole entire fascia of the 2008 ML550 my wife used to own, and since then I have come to find out it’s Standard Operating Procedure on other brands as well. Absurd!!

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    There’s a black Kizashi parked in front of my building that’s in fine shape. The local Suzuki dealer in its day to have a few in stock along with the more popular SX4.
    The size of these was kind of in between a large compact Jetta and a mid sized Camry/Accord.

  • avatar
    Syke

    We’ve had a couple of them show up semi-regularly at the local Cars & Coffee.

    One of those cars that should have succeeded. Unfortunately, besides the dearth of Suzuki dealers in many areas, it also suffered from the fact that Mencken understood the American public perfectly.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Suzuki could have branded themselves in an economy entry level niche just below Subaru. All wheel drive at a reasonable price with small crossovers like the SX4.
      Fun fact: The SX4 was sold as the Fiat Sedici in a number of markets.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    7 year 100,000 mile zero deductible powertrain warranty if purchased new. I considered the Kizashi and did a test drive. Peformance of the CVT did not bother me. On principal I refused to own a CVT. Ended up purchasing a Jetta TDI manual.
    Locally LKQ doubled in size and trucks are lined up outside 5 days a week. They seem to be in a buying frenzy. Is auto recycling booming?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “They seem to be in a buying frenzy. Is auto recycling booming?”

      This is the first I have heard but it would line up with all of the other events happening now.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Yep parts are tough to impossible to find. Even for Accords and such. Driving a Saab or something? I pity the fools. My windshield connection has Silverados and other common stuff, driving in from 2 states over. He’s been in the auto glass business for 35 years so has “pull” most can only dream of.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        @DenverMike–True the same thing is happening in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area as well. There is a severe shortage of all parts especially on new vehicles and many auto body shops and repair shops have been buying parts from salvage yards. Even replacement windshields are being bought at salvage yards. Salvage yards are doing a booming business. One of the most stolen vehicles where I live are late 90s Accords and Civic for their parts.

    • 0 avatar
      revjasper

      That powertrain warranty was no joke. My old boss’s Kizashi at 6 years, 11 months in smoked the CVT. It got replaced with about a week of warranty left, gratis. Lucky break!

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    2011 model? Geez, I’m driving a 2014 and I’m thinking it’s about at the midpoint of its life at age 8 and 100K miles.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I never realized these were actually rare, less than 20,000 units in USDM.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Kizashi

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    I always thought the Kizashi was what a Chrysler Sebring would’ve looked and performed like if Daimler had cared in the least about Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep quality. The Kizashi even shared the Sebring’s fundamental problem of being a tweener: too big and expensive for a compact and too small to be a true mid-size not to mention the slow declines in both the Suzuki brand and sedans in general.

    • 0 avatar
      MyerShift

      Thank you. Chrysler was on a roll and Daimler raped and killed them.
      I can’t fathom why Daimler did Chrysler so dirty except that they felt threatened by what a healthy, free-running Chrysler could do to THEM.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    I really liked this (also the post-2010 SX4). I don’t hate CVTs, I’ve even owned a half decent one. The best CVTs are mostly defined by their engines; something with decent low and mid-range torque won’t need to rev itself to death. My old CVT car you could waft up to highway speed at 1500rpm, get there a little quicker at 2000, or if you played the throttle just right you’d keep it in peak torque at 2800rpm, get there speedily, but without roaring and burning too much fuel. Anyway, I digress:
    – It should have been sold against the Impreza and other compacts, it was small and should have been priced as such
    – Interior quality was good
    – Ride was fantastic
    – AWD was great, but not available with a manual, and the manual wasn’t detuned. Being both lighter and more powerful the manual was great fun, think 2.4 accord coupe, but with four doors.
    – In 2010 Suzuki looked like it may survive, they had refreshed the SX4, this was on its way, but within a year it was clear the brand had become Mitsubishi – 72 months at 0% if you could risk the depreciation and risk of the OEM leaving the country.

    It’s a shame, I drove a 2010 SX-4 manual – the six speed, combined with 150bhp, lightish car, relatively stiff structure, but well resolved chassis tuning and some absorbent sidewalls – it drove really well. They deserved to sell better than they did. Better cars than the Trax, despite being many years before them.

    Someone should import Suzukis and rebrand them. The new Vitara is a great little SUV. I guess that would be Toyota though, as Suzuki is rebranding Toyota hybrids as theirs.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    The model name was awful. Kizashi would have been OK for a motorcycle, not a car. Should have had a better model name.

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    It’s got a JATCO sourced CVT, this explains why it’s here

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    I was driving across Connecticut when the word came across that radio that Suzuki was closing shop. The announcer stated that Suzuki would honor remaining warrenty work, but forgot which network would provide the support.

    I knew a girl who was in the same position with a Daewoo when they closed shop. Because the car came from a multi brand dealer, he would call when warranty money became available during the bankruptcy. After a while, he stopped calling.

  • avatar
    brn

    Wildly overrated car by the automotive press. It was effectively a Ford Contour with a CVT. By 2011, the US market showed it didn’t want that kind of vehicle.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • dal20402: I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can buy a new car if I want, but this market would make me...
  • Art Vandelay: That just means it has a ton of miles on it. My neighbor in Italy had an Alfa that had like 400k...
  • Queen: Ok but have you ever driven a Tesla? They’re really effing fast…And I’ve only driven one of the “slow”...
  • Queen: I’m honestly mystified when people say 100000 miles means a car is reliable… my daily driver has 350000+ and...
  • Queen: Lol I guess Elon’s a massive thumb on the scale

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber