Suzuki Kizashi Sport, Suzuki SX4 Sportback Launch in New York
The Suzuki Kizashi was introduced to enthusiastic reviews when it first went on sale late last year, and Suzuki is making a good thing even better with a new "Sport" package for the sedan, introduced just ahead of the New York International Auto Show.
Enhancements to the car's aerodynamics and suspension provide a much more engaging driving experience for the Kizashi Sport, along with a much more engaging appearance. The specifics include a number of exterior modifications from the original Kizashi, including a new, more aggressive front fascia with a lowered grille, body-side sill extensions and moldings, a rear spoiler, model-specific 18-inch alloy wheels, a lowered ride height and numerous chrome accents.
The Sport model's interior is upgraded as well, with a specially designed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, bolstered racing seats and an improved cockpit.
The only thing missing here is a more powerful engine choice, and that will likely be resolved in the near future. The problem is that when Suzuki was developing the Kizashi, the automaker was involved in a long-running alliance with General Motors and was looking to the General for powerplant assistance. Now that GM is out and Volkswagen is in as a Suzuki partner, the Japanese automaker is still in the process of trying to match up the Kizashi with an appropriate VW-sourced engine solution.
But there are no such holdups with the Suzuki SX4 Sportback, a more aggressive version of the cult favorite Suzuki SX4 Crossover that also debuted in New York. The Sportback brings an all-new 150-hp engine and standard six-speed transmission to the hot-hatch party, although a "performance-tuned" continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also available, and with paddle shifters no less. Also notable is that the Sportback retains the Crossover's all-wheel-drive system.
Filling out the small Suzuki's spec sheet are an aerodynamics-enhancing body kit, new rear fog lamps, performance shocks, keyless start, stability control, a revised instrument cluster and the only standard nav system in the Sportback's segment.
Customers can expect the Kizashi Sport package to be available on the car's GTS and SLS trim levels beginning in August; an on-sale date for the Sportback wasn't available at press time.
Suzuki SX4 Sportback photo by Jeffrey N. Ross