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There’s reason to feel sorry for the Suzuki Kizashi. This impressive sedan has remained obscure, like a talented athlete who plays for a losing team. In both cases, nobody often notices.

That has clearly been part of the problem with the Kizashi, which debuted in 2010. Due to a lack of marketing and not enough Suzuki dealerships in the U.S., the Kizashi might be one of the best vehicles that no one recognizes.

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Suzuki is certainly making a nice statement with the Kizashi, a sedan that should be at least on the consideration list when folks go shopping. Although the name won’t roll off anyone’s tongue, its meaning should draw interest. Translated, Kizashi means “something great is coming.”

2012 Suzuki Kizashi

  • Power: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 23-30 mpg
  • Price: $18,999 – $26,199
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 7 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/100,000; corrosion unlimited

Depending on your viewpoint, the Kizashi is either a small midsize or a big compact. Either way, it’s an appealing car and one Suzuki should be proud to display on its sales lots. The vehicle is targeted for car buyers who want a somewhat upscale sedan at a discount price, which in this case begins at $18,999.

In test driving the Kizashi, people will discover this is a vehicle with surprising spunk for a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder with 185 horsepower. It reportedly goes 0-60 in 8.3 seconds. It also handles quite well, is good on gas (23-30 mpg), features a nice interior layout, and also has a European-type look that is appealing. All Kizashis are equipped with front-wheel drive, while the all-wheel drive is an option.

The Kizashi is smaller than midsize vehicles like the Nissan Altima and Honda Accord, yet larger than the Ford Focus, Kia Forte and Toyota Corolla, which is why the Kizashi is considered a “tweener.” The front seat offers a roomy feel and the trunk is fairly spacious, but backseat passengers will feel a little scrunched in the leg department.

The Kizashi was a pleasure to drive on the freeway, easily keeping pace with traffic and providing the needed passing power when called upon. Steering is responsive and the braking is also solid, providing an agile ride in city conditions.

The lingering question is – will the Kizashi continue to be ignored?

Although Suzuki is the second-largest automaker in Japan, its U.S. numbers are lousy. And with a weird name like Kizashi, it might be difficult for this model to garner attention in a very crowded class that has some standard-bearers from Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai and others.

However, when given a chance, the Kizashi competes favorably with the Corolla, Honda Civic, Focus, and new Forte.

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