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New York show: Suzuki unveils sportier Kizashi

Sportier Suzi: Kizashi Sport could join 2WD and AWD models on sale here.

Kizashi Sport debuts in US and could join new Suzuki sedan range here too

Suzuki logo1 Apr 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

SUZUKI has unveiled a sportier version of its Kizashi, which could eventually join the all-new medium sedan model range that goes on sale in Australia in May.

The 2011 Kizashi Sport was revealed at the New York motor show overnight ahead of its US release in August.

To be available for GTS and SLS versions of the Kizashi in North America, the Sport package comprises lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10mm lower ride, a honeycomb lower grille, chromed front bumper and door accents, side skirts and a spoiler.

While there is no increase in engine performance, the Kizashi Sport’s interior is differentiated by aluminium and leather detailing.

Suzuki’s first self-designed medium sedan will go on sale in Australia in two months, initially only in two front-wheel drive trim levels powered by a 131kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to either a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT).

However, GoAuto has learned Suzuki Australia has also gained federal certification for the all-wheel drive version, which employs drive technology from the Japanese brand’s SX4 AWD small-car, and is also keen to eventually offer the Kizashi Sport here.

“We're definitely interested in an all-wheel drive version of the Kizashi, but at this stage the Kizashi Sport is a US-only model,” said Suzuki Australia communications manager Andrew Ellis.

“We would like to have that version here in Australia too, but at this stage there are no plans.”

30 center imageGlobally, the FR-series Kizashi replaced Suzuki’s GM Daewoo-built Verona in Japan last October and in the US in December, but as the first mid-size sedan designed and developed fully in-house, in Australia it will represent Suzuki’s first direct rival for Toyota’s top-selling Camry, Ford’s Mondeo and the Mazda6.

With an expected starting price of less than $30,000, the five-seater Kizashi sedan is 4650mm long, 1820mm wide, 1480mm high and rides on a 2700mm wheelbase, making it shorter overall but wider and taller than the Mazda6.

While the front-drive manual Kizashi has a kerb weight of 1450kg and the CVT version adds 40kg, all-wheel drive models weigh in at 1560kg. All variants have a maximum towing capacity of 1700kg, or 730kg with an unbraked trailer.

Standard equipment will include twin front, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability/traction control, ABS brakes, air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors and remote central locking, while a sunroof and alloy wheels will be optional.

Standard wheel sizes are 16x6.5-inch with 215/60 R16 tyres, but 17x7.0-inch and 18x8.0-inch alloy wheels will also be available.

“We've been thrilled with an enthusiastic reaction to the 2010 Kizashi, and we look forward to offering sport sedan buyers the newest iteration of our stylish sport sedan later this year,” said the executive vice-president of American Suzuki Automotive Operations, Koichi Suzuki, at the New York show yesterday.

“The Kizashi Sport provides us with an opportunity to build on the sport sedan's short-term accomplishments and further engage driving enthusiasts looking for an affordable alternative to luxury performance vehicles.”

Apart from the Kizashi Sport, a hybrid version of Suzuki’s all-new medium sedan has also been confirmed for North America, but neither derivative is yet guaranteed to arrive Down Under.

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