American Suzuki Motor Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and new Suzuki-badged cars stopped being sold here the following year (meanwhile, Suzuki went on to create one of the biggest-selling cars in its home market). While many of the United States-market Suzukis of the previous decade had been Daewoos beneath the emblems, the Kizashi sedan was designed and manufactured entirely by Suzuki. There were high hopes – at first – that it would revive the brand’s American fortunes. Here’s a first-model-year example, found in a San Francsico Bay Area self-service yard a few months back.
The word Kizashi means “something great is coming” in Japanese, but the Great Recession and the decreasing popularity of non-truck-shaped new vehicles in the United States kept sales of these cars low (even as Monster Tajima broke the ten-minute barrier in a Suzuki at Pikes Peak). You could buy a new Kizashi here until American Suzuki folded its tent and left in 2013, leaving just two-wheeled Suzukis available here for highway use.
That was unfortunate because the Kizashi provided a lot of value for the price. This Kizashi SE had an MSRP starting at $21,499 (about $27,085 in 2021 dollars), and it had a pleasant interior and a bunch of unexpected standard features.
You got keyless ignition, power seats with memory, 17″ alloy wheels and a pretty decent seven-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth inputs (both of which were still uncommon in lower-priced cars at the time). If you upgraded to the GTS or SLS trim levels ($22,499 and $24,399, respectively), you got goodies including a thumping 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, a power sunroof and 18-inch wheels.
But unless you were selling Hayabusas or KingQuads, 2010 wasn’t a great time to have a Suzuki sign in front of your American showroom. The days of Geo- and Chevrolet-badged Suzukis roaming every American road ended with the Metro and Tracker; by the end, only the Kizashi, SX4 and Grand Vitara remained here.
It appears that a Ford dealership in Pennsylvania sold this car at some point prior to its migration west.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder made 185 horsepower, better than its four-cylinder Mazda6 and Altima rivals. Smaller-displacement versions of the J24B engine went into the Aerio, Esteem, Sidekick, Tracker, and Vitara; the Grand Vitara got the 2.4.
A six-speed manual transmission was available in the Kizashi’s other trim levels, but SE buyers had to take the CVT.
Those Suzuki dealers – at least, the ones in Siberia or perhaps Nunavut – were taking anything as a Kizashi trade-in for 2012. Yes, there was an all-wheel-drive option available.
In a much warmer market, Maruti Suzuki offered the Kizashi for a few years.