On its softened suspension and large wheels, the Kizashi delivers a fantastically pliant and absorbent ride. Broken surfaces don’t faze it in the least and you can drive confidently over any poor patch. Agility and handling however aren’t as good. Body control becomes loose as you push the Kizashi hard and this is a bit disconcerting.
What’s disappointing is that you can tell there’s a lot of potential in the chassis. It turns in beautifully at slower speeds, is well balanced in long corners and, while the steering isn’t great, the wide tyres really provide a lot of grip.
For all its radical lines, the Kizashi’s nose is pretty conventional. The sporty wire mesh grille is typically Suzuki, and big headlights make it look like a grown-up SX4 from head-on. But look closer at the rest of the car and funkier lines start to emerge. This design has a Swift-like vibe to it and the compact and sporty dimensions seem to grow on you the more you look at them. We particularly like the chromed-over alloys, the bulging wheel arches, the tight- fitting roof and especially the heavily sculpted rear, with its integrated boot lip spoiler and chrome exhaust brackets.
The Kizashi has been positioned as a sportier alternative to cars like the Accord at one end and as a larger, more spacious alternative to cars like the Skoda Laura at the other. And Suzuki wants drivers to enjoy this car. The all-round independent suspension comes attached to rigid sub-frames and you get an impressive 176bhp under your right foot.
Maruti however has diluted some of this sportiness for India. You don’t get the stiff setup present in other markets, the suspension has been raised by 15mm to help deal with Indian roads better, and the four-wheel-drive system has been deleted as well.
What feel special are the interiors. This car may not have the size of an Accord and legroom at the rear especially is nowhere near as good, but the Kizashi feels pretty comfortable and sophisticated in its own right.
The V-shaped dash has a smart design, the steering wheel is beautifully built and the cabin does have the ambience of a luxury car. There are plenty of shiny chrome bits, the sunken dials on the instrument panel look good and the doorpads are pretty substantial too, generously padded and detailed.
The dimpled leather seats are well constructed and both large and very supportive. There’s plenty of shoulder- and headroom at the front and features like powered front seats, seat memory and keyless go only add to the ‘feel good’ the cabin delivers.
What spoils the ambience of the insides are some carried-over Suzuki buttons, like those on the driver’s doorpad and others on the right of the steering wheel. Legroom at the rear is better than you expect – you are seated high and seat comfort in isolation is really quite good. But that’s not to say it’s perfect, for the seat squab is a bit short and the backrest slightly upright.