When Suzuki first approached Pinkbike about loaning us a car to use for the season I was a little curious, I remember the Suzuki Sidekick and the Swift, but I didn't even know they still made cars. We picked up the car right before Sea Otter and when I saw it my first thoughts went something like "Wow, that's a Suzuki?
The Suzuki Kizashi is a 4 door sedan, and the version they've given us is the Sport GTS model. It has a 2.4-Liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine that produces 180-hp and it comes with some great features such as push button all wheel drive and traction control. It seats five people rather comfortably, however I wouldn't want to go on a trip with any more than four in it. It has plenty of legroom (I'm 6 foot and I fit in the front or the back no problem) and a reasonably sized trunk.
The cockpit is spacious, and very well laid out. All the controls are easy to reach, and it's really nice to have all the stereo and phone controls as well as cruise control comfortably within reach of your fingertips on the steering wheel.
Speaking of stereo controls the car features a really nice Rockford Fosgate 425-watt 10-Speaker Audio System with AM/FM/CD and a sub. This thing was designed for road trips. It also has a really nice integrated Bluetooth system that was a breeze to set up, even without a manual. Simply by pressing the Bluetooth button on the steering wheel the car walked me through the entire process of pairing my iPhone, and I got it right the first time. That's a bonus! As well as the Bluetooth connectivity the car has a USB audio connector that you can plug your music device (iPhone or otherwise) into, and it will charge my iPhone while it plays. It also allows you to select music from the stereo control panel. The transfer from music to phone is seamless, either making or receiving calls, everything you need is available right at your fingertips on the steering wheel. I've only noticed two small issues so far, the first one is that if you leave your iPhone or iPod plugged in when you turn the car on it won't work. You have to disconnect it and reconnect it to get it to play, or simply plug it in after the car is running. A small bug, but definitely one that is noticeable, if you're using the Bluetooth connection for audio this isn't an issue. The other inconvenience seems to be that in order to access your phones address book, you have to press the voice dial button on your phone. Using the dial by name feature in the car only works with numbers you have stored in the car audio system itself. Again a small inconvenience, but one that is noticeable.
When we first received the car it didn't have a roof rack or a hitch receiver and one of my first considerations was how we would put bikes on it. A quick inspection showed that it had dedicated rack mounting points on the roof, and a call to Yakima solved all our problems. The rack was installed by Yakima Canada and it really only took about half an hour to get the towers and cross bars mounted to the roof and the bike racks on. I haven't used the rack enough to have a solid opinion yet, but at first glance it seems easy to use and holds my six inch bike securely.
Another consideration with the current high gas prices is fuel consumption. It has a fuel economy gauge built in, and when I started driving it the average was showing as 25 mpg. That was a week and a half ago, and it's gone up to 27 since I've been using it. Granted that's mostly highway use, but that's still a respectable number. The listed gas mileage from Suzuki is 22/29, so we're at the high end, it will be interesting to see what change the roof rack makes.
We're super stoked about the car so far and we'll be taking the Kizashi to various events throughout the summer, the first one being the Williams Lake Peel Out
event this upcoming long weekend. Follow Pinkbike on Twitter
for updates on where the vehicle will be at various times this summer, and come by and check it out. We'll have an assortment of T-Shirts and stickers to give away...
More information on the Suzuki Kizashi can be found here on the Suzuki website