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sidindica 23rd February 2011 16:19

Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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List Price, Ex Showroom (On Road, Delhi) in rupees:
  • 2.4 6 speed M/T: Rs. 16,50,000 (18,19,629)
  • 2.4 6 speed CVT A/T: Rs. 17,50,000 (19,29,152)
Key Technical Specifications:

Attachment 506715

Standard Equipment:

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sidindica 23rd February 2011 16:26

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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Attachment 506720

What you'll like:
  • Sporty and stubby design
  • Silky smooth engine with sporty exhaust growl
  • Bags of torque with strong mid range
  • High interior quality, comprehensive level of standard safety equipment
  • Fine balance between ride and handling
  • Amazing brakes, 17" wheels a first for the 2.4 litre D segment sedan
  • Maruti's high calibre after sales support
What you won't:
  • Some cheap interior parts
  • High rpm rubber band CVT effect and hesitant transmission
  • Steering feel not exactly worthy of a "sport" badge
  • Over optimistic pricing invites comparisons with superb and accord
  • Suzuki brand lacks snob value in the D segment

sidindica 23rd February 2011 16:57

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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The premium luxury sedan and entry luxury sedan segment in our country has been growing quite aggressively off late. On one hand, you have cars like Civic, Laura and Cruze which call themselves as "sport sedans", and on the other hand, there's this new D segment quadrant of Superb, Sonata, Accord and Camry which are luxury sedans with the reach of young professionals and entrepreneurs. Volumes may be low, yet competition is fierce. The battle is in fact, more fierce between the Accord and Skoda superb, which consistently sell in the high 200s and 300 units per month, respectively. The accord literally enjoyed a monopoly until the newly rejuvenated big skoda, with its superior technology, equipment list, quality and competitive price along with a diesel option literally knocked the accord off its perch. Both these luxo barges wit huge size and substantial road presence, not to mention the sofa like back seat are quite a common sight on our roads, giving you a feel of a forty lakh for for half the price, mainly targeted at chauffeur driven.

Enter the Suzuki Kizashi. Built new from grounds up, this is Suzuki's most expensive and most ambitious sedan project till date. Smaller in size and (slightly) in price, this is touted as India's first "luxury sport" sedan, aimed at self driving professionals who need the thrill and sporty handling coupled with luxurious interiors and comfortable seating for their family.

The Kizashi's importance cannot be underestimated. Coming from the country's numero uno manufacturer and carrying a past baggage of "mass market" car manufacturer and experiancing disaster thrice with the Grand Viitara, the company is giving one more shot at the 15-20 lakh rupee D segment and straightly aiming at the big Japanese giant and the Czech barge. But to give a tough battle, it has to deliver on humongous expectations to clients whose target market needs sky high reputation for quality, reliability, after sales service and most important, brand image.

On paper, the Kizashi looks like a winner. Big 2.4 motor, 6 speed manual and 6 speed CVT options, juicy equipment list, sporty design et al. Priced between 16.5 to 17.5 lakh rupees, its surely going to raise eyebrows. But will customers turn their eyes off the big eurojap luxobarges and plonk their money in a "self driven sporty sedan"?

sidindica 23rd February 2011 18:26

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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Attachment 506754

The Kizashi is out and out a compact luxury sport sedan design, befitting its market positioning. Its about the same size as that of the 2011 VW Jetta, and more than a foot longer than the civic/ laura duo but shorter than the D segment EuroJap barges. Family resemblance is evident but somehow Suzuki's corporate identity works at its best here. Some call the design bland, but I think its pretty clean proportionate design with some oomph factor, unlike the confused designs of the Accord (esp the merging of the sides and rear) and superb (glasshouse). It manages to look sporty and I think that this shade of premium silver brings out the best of its contemporary lines and looks more dynamic than the black and white shade. Its good that Maruti avoided the bronze shade as it looked ancient and hideous. On the other hand, a red would have been a god option. But for a car targeted at 200 units per month and to avoid logistical complications, these three shades would suffice for the time being.

The front looks striking in its own understated way. Uncanningly resembling a 2005-10 VW Jetta GLI, Suzuki has managed to somehow carve a good curvy face in the Kizashi. The focus area is in the headlamps, subtly tilted and curvy with a "kajal-like" effect. Projection beams are standard but the bulbs are convectional halogen. The single frame curvy grill merges well with the dynamic front bumper and the meshed grill look great, especially the V shaped merger with the three part airdams sporting integrated fog lamps. The front three quarter profile looks quite convectional but the merger of the fender, bumper and flared wheel arches compliment the sturdy 17" rims. Unlike the competition, the turn indicators are on the fenders instead of the OSRVM and gives the car a balanced stance.

Compared to the aggressive front, the side profile looks pretty bland and won't win any beauty contests either. But thankfully, the car does have a proportionate stance with short overhangs, looking quite sporty and the big 17" rims feel the wheel arches quite nicely. Maruti hasn't jacked up the suspension too much so thankfully the meaty stance is maintained. Unlike other cars, if you are looking at chrome touches here and there, be prepared to be disappointed (happy in my case:)). The monochrome theme suits it pretty well and I am a fan of monochromatic colour schemes. Chrome does not suit the Kizashi at all and again, full marks to Suzuki designers to avoid a splash of it.

Things get better at the rear. Unlike the hideous rear designs of most Marutis, the Kizshi's styling comes as a breath of fresh air. The accord and superb try hard to look hideous, and suceed to a grea extent. In comparison, the Kizashi's rear end is perfectly proportioned and rikes a perfect balance between stubbiness and sportiness. the decklid with a subtle curve effect looks great and the integrated third stop light gives it some visual balance. Sporting an integrated spoiler, it merges well with the trapizoidal taillights, which somehow look bland. The bumper looks fantabolous and the sporty twin exhaust pipes are the best ones I had ever seen in recent times. They are superbly intgrated into the rear bumper (actually they are finishers to the dual exhaust pipes which are cylindrical) and give the car a meaty and planted stance.

While the car is superbly kitted with high level of equipment like ABS, ESP, 6 airbags, push button Keyless GO, 8 way driver's power adjustable seat with electrical lumbar support and three memory presettings, 8 way front passenger's seat adjust (electric) and a full sized fifth spare wheel, the absence of a sunroof is plain shocking, especially on a car costing close to 20 lakh rupees OTR Delhi.

Built at Suzuki's plant in Sagara, Japan, the build quality and finish is of a very high order, the best yet seen in a Suzuki. Panel gaps are even and the car does have some solid feel to it, though not int he same league as the accord. The superb and passat are in a different league altogether. Body durability is on par with the segment.

The car is suspended by convectional McPherson Struts at the front, Multi links at the rear with all round stabilizer bars for handling prowess.

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The car is a mix of modern and traditional design.

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Side profile looks quite bland but 17" wheels give it an imposing stance.

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Bustleback rear three quarter looks sporty.

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Quite a sporty design at the back.

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Premium titanium silver shade brings out the best lines.

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Quite a short profile, short overhangs and a short rear deck.

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That's another nice angle.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 19:36

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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The inside story

Attachment 506821

Climb into the inside and the round theme continues with a convectional Suzuki dash in dual tone black an beige shades, the latter dominating the larger percentage of the colour scheme. Things are kept simple and no unnecessary hideous fake wood paneling is done like the '11 accord. The waterfall centre console s the sole design factor in an otherwise plain jane dashboard and vast expanses of beige tend to soil easily, in addition to aiding a monotonous environment. The top part of the door panels could have been in black and the overall contrasting effect would then look much better.

The US style twin pod retro instrument gauge with electro-luminescent dials look superb and feature a digital fuel gauge plus a trip computer.
Ergonomics are superb and I must appreciate Suzuki's sincere efforts for keeping things simple and the overall relation of driver to the controls is brilliantly optimised and the ergonomics can be termed as class best. Controls for the dual zone Automatic Climate Control, radio and lights and wipers are simple and buttons are not hard to find. The Achilles heal is the LHD configuration of lights and wipers, which can cause distraction and may take getting used to. We had owned a matiz from 2000-2006, so I could easily adopt to it at one go, but my accompanying driver did face difficulty.

The front seats are decently comfortable, though the accord is more so, but a wide array of adjustments plus a tilt and telescopic steering wheel makes it easy to find a perfect diving position. The driver's seat is fully powered and has eight way controls (forward, backward, up, down, reclining front, reclining back, height adjustment up and down for the lower chair) and a three position memory setting which can be pre setted for three different people depending upon their driving requirements. Below the controls, there is also a discreet button for a power lumbar support for both towards and against depending upon the driver's fatigue levels.

Comfort factor is Ok, the padding is superb but lower back support is just satisfactory, as the seats do feel a tend narrow in comparison to the superb and accord. Upper thigh support is of a high order, whereas the lower thigh support is just again, about OK. Long distance driving does tend to become tiresome and some more side padding would have improved things tremendously.

The co driver's seat is again, power adjustable four ways and thankfully does not feature that crooked danda (copyright sam:D) like the Honda, present even on the 2011 accord. Sadly, memory settings and lumbar support is not present.

Legroom at front is vast and the long seat travel ensures sufficient room, even for 6 footers, though the low slung design limits the headroom for tall people. Decent but no great shakes either.

Coming to the rear, the size disadvantage is obviously felt. Compared to the sofa like seats of the accord, superb and sonata, legroom is obviously less and just slightly more than in the corolla. The seats are perfectly contoured and comfortable but underthigh support is less than steller. For sahibs and memsahibs, pushing the front seat releases huge legroom and chauffeur driven single persons would be more than happy. But the comfort factor cannot hold he candle to the EuroJap barges, clearly a class above. Cushioning is somewhere between firm to soft, decent angle of inclination, lower back support is good and lumbar support is above average. The seat's
narrow width and the high transmission tunnel (centre hump) makes it strictly a four seater. Fifth person can be accommodated but for short trips at best.

Boot space is decent and can carry three large suitcases or four medium sized suitcases for those weekend trips. Loading bay is high, but depth is sufficient. Spare wheel is of full size 17" and a 5th alloy wheel is standard.

Interior quality is best yet seen on a suzuki and feels pretty upmarket and robust with smooth plastics. Though some buttons like the OSRVM controls, power windows (auto down and up for driver and co passenger with pinch guard) and even the leather on the door pads feel cheap.


The Kizashi comes with a premium integrated audio system with four speakers, two tweeters, a four channel amplifier and a small in built subwoofer. Sadly, the Indian market version does not come with sat-nav, nor its a Rockford Fosgate branded unit. Worse, it doesn't have standard bluetooth connectivity nor a provision for it, unlike the Honda.

MP3 single CD player, USB connectivity and an aux-in jack is standard and sound quality is decent, kind of to satisfy most daily needs. Bass is lacking, though clarity i good, and treble is again above average. Would get a 6/10 rating from me.

A high point is the sheer simplicity of the controls but the display looks old school and worse, the gloss black screen reflects badly in the sunlight, shamelessly even exposing my old school camera!

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Twin pod gauge cluster looks fab.

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Front seats comfy but narrow. Superb legroom and large travel.

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front seat controls, with memory presets and lumbar support.

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Co driver's seat is also 4 way fully power adjustable.

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picture of minimum and maximum legroom

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another angle of rear seat legroom-min and max.

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Rear AC vents standard to keep passengers cool.

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Front door pad, dull design and feels pretty cheap. Average storage space.

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Rear door pad. Not much to show either, again storage space small.

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Controls for dual zone automatic climate control.
Superb cooling though too early to judge in spring.

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Co-driver's side view of the dash. Simple and legible.
No fake wood makes it look nice.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 20:45

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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Like other cars in its class, the Kizashi comes with a 2.4 litre all aluminum engine displacing 2393 cc, powering the front wheels, with twin overhead camshafts, two intake and two exhausts valves per cylinder for a total of four cylinders, arranged in line. Maximum power is rated at 178 ps at a peak of 6500 rpm and peak torque of 230 NM is achieved at a high-ish 4000 rpm.

Equipped with a variable valve timing (VVT) and variable induction system, this J24A J series DOHC motor is an evolved version of the same motor that powers the Grand Vitara sold here. However, comparing both the motors is like comparing chalk to cheese. A lot of improvements have been carried on this motor and at idle, the refinement is shocking. There is not a trace of NVH inside the cabin and generous sound deadening has worked wonders. Press the accelerator and the engine poduces a raspy exhaust note, one of the best ever in recent times, and enthusiasts will surely love it. The engine is silky smooth even at 6000 rpm idle and sounds sportier to our ears. Mated to either a 6 speed manual or a 6 speed CVT gearbox, this powertrain-transmission combo is one of the car's strongest points.

Shift to D and the car lurges forward seemlessly. The engine note gets sportier and acceleration is effortless. Today morning, on an empty stetch at Shantipath we timed the acceleration from 0-100 km at approx 9.2 seconds (a stop watch), not far from MSIL's claimed 8.8 seconds figure. Quite fast for this class and a respectable figure for an automatic. The "rubber band" effect of the CVT can be quite irritating and torque delivery can be hesitant, so its not uncommon that the engine constantly revs to its 5000 rpm. Mid range is a devastating overtaking tool and unlike the poor low rpm response of the accord, driving this is a revelation.

Throttle response is instant and the motor's flat torque curve makes it extremely flexible and user friendly. Mark my words, this motor can make you addicted to high rev and shift up using the manual mode, simply to hear that glorious exhaust note. Peak power delivery is strong and the engine goes on stronger and stronger and I managed to do approx 180 kmph yesterday morning at the greater Noida expressway before running out of road.

The car can go beyond 200 kmph with ease and the torque spread is quite even throughut the engine's power band. Rev it harder and surely, you can go nuts over it. Quite simply, this is one of the best convectional 2.4 gasoline engines to be sold in our country and the engine alone makes this car a strong and willing contender in the D segment.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 21:03

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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The Kizashi comes with an option of a convectional 6 speed manual, or, as tested here, a CVT A/T gearbox with six ratios.
The CVT gearbox will be my transmission of choice, simply because it offers three ways to enjoy shifting gears.

Auto Mode:

Attachment 506831
Pic: Convectional Auto mode

The gear lever operates in parking, reverse, neutral and drive modes. Slot into D (drive) and the transmission response is hesitant. The high rpm CVT rubber band effect is always evident and the transmission constantly has to search for the correct gear in response to the driving speed and the driving style. High rpm operations is not uncommon an this may hamper fuel economy. Between th six standard ratios, the transmission offers infinite number of ratios depending upon the engine operation and constantly varies the ratios for pickup or mileage, depending upon the driving style (so the term continuously variable transmission). But whatever be the limitations, this car is easily the best CVT equipped car that I ever drove, light years ahead even of the Nissan Teana, the last CVT car I drove in 2008-09 IIRC. Hesitant, yes, but the transmission is not jerky and shifts are smooth, though not exactly butter smooth.

Manual Mode (Paddle Shifts)

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Paddle to downshift with steering mounted audio controls

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Paddle to upshift with steering mounted cruise controls

To get into manual mode, push the lever far back and towards your right by pressing the black button on the top of the gear lever. Its there when the fun starts. Torque of the engine can be controlled manually and choosing the right gear to extract th best combination of power and mileage has never been so easier. The instrument cluster shows the gear selection indicator and clarity is superb. Shift paddles on the steering wheel are used to manually select the six gears, that is plus (+) to upshift, or minus (-) to downshift. Driving has never been so much fun.

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Gear position indicator. Showing first gear engaged.

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In third gear.

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In fourth gear.

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In fifth gear.

Manual Mode (console gear lever shift up and down mode)

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Pic of Gear Lever position in manual mode, to the right.

If concentration is atop your agenda, then the manual mode can also be enjoyed via the touch shift operation by first shifting the gear lever to the right, and then by upshifting for higher gear by slotting forward (+) or backward (-) to extract the best from the engine.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 21:53

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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Ride, handling and braking:

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Riding on 17 " wheels with low profile 215/55 R 17 tyres, the Kisashi rides decently, though not as cushy as the accord or sonata transform, which ride on higher profile 16" rubber. Low speed ride is decent but jiggly and minor imperfections do have a tendency to jostle the passengers a bit, the handling oriented stiff suspension setup to blame. As the car goes faster, the ride improves dramatically, with the multi link rear suspension doing its job almost perfectly. Ride up front is good, and improves as speds clmb up. Rear ride quality at low to medium speeds can be distracting but above 60, things improve dramatically and the suspension soaks up bumps and potholes with effortless ease. Road noise is well suppressed and the fat tyres do their job of isolating the cabin from unwanted wind and tyre noise.

Straight line stability is one of the best ever seen in a Japanese car and perhaps, very un-Suzuki Like, better than the accord, way better than the wallowy camry but the Euros are infinitely better.

The steering is calibrated for a sporty setup and this electrically assisted steering provides great, though sometimes inconsistent feedback. At zero parking speeds, the steering is light, though not featherlight and requires close to no effort. At medium speeds, the feel is not felt and sometimes the body does feel disconnected to the chassis. But go higher and the steering (for an EPS) is superbly weighted and the car is actually fun to drive. Body roll is kept to a minimum and the car changes directions according to the command from the driver, though cars like the laura are overall better connected to the road.

The Kizashi comes standard with standard Anti Lock Braking system (ABS), electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and four wheel disc brakes (front are ventilated discs and rear are solid discs). Braking feel is superb and stpping power is amazing. Pedal feel as well as calibration of ABS is close to perfect and the brakes are easy to modulate. No evidence of brake fade after some hard use was noticed, thanks to the awful Delhi traffic.

The GC is sufficient though a bit lower, but we did not manage to scrape the underbelly over some speed breakers.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 22:08

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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Buying, owning and final verdict:

Attachment 506860

In the first phase, Maruti is setting a realistic target of selling approx 200 Kizashi's per month, given the high price and limited snob value of the Suzuki brand. Maruti's top honchos are serious this time of cracking the D segment and have only allotted the Kizashi only to their top dealers. All dealerships will have a specific sales team dedicated to Kizashi clients, and the drivers who will conduct test drives are also specifically trained on how to handle the car and are made familiar with the controls, as it was in my case also.

Test drives at select dealerships have started and like other marutis, owning and maintaining it should prove to be hassle free, thanks to the vast service network and competitive spare parts prices.

While the after sales service is the strongest points of maruti suzuki, catering to a different clientele with humongous expectations is going to be a different ballgame altogether. the stakes are high here and competing with Honda, Toyota and Skoda will be no easy task. They have fierce weapons with multiple options to guard their turf and D-coding the D segment will no doubt be daunting task for Maruti. Now how long will customers turn off from the premium value offered by Honda or Skoda towards a "janta" brand like Suzuki will be a question only MSIL can answer the best and going by the initial pricing, which is on the higher side, the car will easily have its work cut out. Still, for a self driven person who doesn't mind owning a mass market badge and wants to drive something different from the crowd and enjoys driving, the Kizashi does make a strong case for itself with its superb engine plus transmission, sporty compact design and balanced ride and handling. On the other hands, plain jane and ordinary interior, limited rear seat space and hesitant CVT gearbox could prove to be deal breakers.

But the big question remains: will the Kizashi D-code and crack the D-gang?

Only time will tell. And the market. Driven by we, the consumer.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 22:28

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
8 Attachment(s)
Some other highlights:
Keyless go:

Attachment 506861

Keyless go: the car comes with standard keyless go feature with a request sensor which locks and unlocks the doors. A range of 2 metres is needed to start the engine. If the key is more than two meters, the car won't start. Sadly, due to some time constraints, missed the detailed part review of the keyless go like the theft and safety aspects, etc.

Attachment 506862

Push button start/ stop feature standard, and so is the ESP which keeps the car stable at high speeds.

Attachment 506863

Controls for the MID on the bottom right of the steering column.

Multi Information Display (MID)

The Kizashi also comes equipped with a comprehensive trip computer showing the:

Attachment 506865
specific door ajar warning.

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instant fuel consumption.

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average fuel consumption.

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The driving range.

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Average speed.

In addition to this, it also features constant fuel consumption graph, distance to empty and digital odo with dual trip meters.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 22:31

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
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The smaller yet significant things:

Attachment 506872
space above glove box wasted, an additional glove box could have been added easily. Decent though not king size glove box.

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Dual tone waterfall effect console looks superb. Silver touches sporty, though design a bit dull.

Attachment 506874
Boot space. High loading sill, decent depth considering the car's size. tool kit inside the plastic bag.

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Tool Jack and full size alloy spare wheel.

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rear legroom with front seats fully pushed back.

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optimal pedal spacing. Dead pedal standard but hidden under the floor mat. Bad mat design W.R.T. safety.

Attachment 506878
Power window and electric OSRVM controls feel cheap, as a result of parts sharing with the SX4.

sidindica 23rd February 2011 22:41

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
7 Attachment(s)
And to top it off, some random exterior shots, my personal favorites:

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Eddy 23rd February 2011 22:59

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
Thanks for sharing the review Sid. It was a fantastic read, and it will be interesting to see how many cars does Maruti manage to sell.

Btw, any idea of their target numbers for this ?

blackasta 23rd February 2011 23:11

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
Nice and punchy review Sid.
I like the alloys and the stance, but find the front grill a bit too large.
Lets see how the people digest a 18-20 lakh maruti-suzuki sedan!

KALINGA 23rd February 2011 23:23

Re: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 CVT: Test Drive and Review
Excellent review Sid.
Rank it 5 star.

This is the first car from Maruti at above 15 lac range.
Lets see how the Market reacts.

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