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2011 Suzuki Kizashi AWD Review

MPG-o-Matic 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD Review Summary: The all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of the 2011 Suzuki Kizashi just might be the most attractively designed affordable sedan on the market for folks with a sense of style and the need to deal with adverse weather conditions. Although the Kizashi is clearly intended to appeal to those who appreciate a sporting ride, the Kizashi AWD is exclusively fitted with a CVT.



The all-wheel-drive 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE is equipped with a 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower (HP) and 170 foot pounds of torque. Although a continuously variable (CVT) automatic is the sole transmission available in the AWD Kizashi, a six-speed manual transmission is available in the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Kizashi. The engine in the manual-equipped FWD Kizashi produces 185 HP.


The official fuel economy estimates for the CVT-equipped 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD are 22 city / 29 highway miles per gallon.

We traveled over 500 miles in our Ice Blue Metallic review unit and met the official mileage estimates, with an average of 30.2 MPG on the Interstate highway and 23.5 MPG combined, with temperatures ranging from the mid-twenties through the low-fourties. The test vehicle was delivered with slightly more than 3000 miles on the odometer.

The 2011 Kizashi SE AWD is equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels clad with P235/45-18 Dunlop all-season tires.

The CVT’s slapstick shifter allows for manual-control over pseudo-gearing for those so inclined. We’d prefer a true manual transmission. The Sport GTS trim level includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Highway driving range is good. All 2011 Kizashis are fitted with a 16.6 gallon fuel tank and are designed to run regular unleaded fuel.

The four wheel anti-lock (ABS) disc brake system uses Akebono components with vented front and solid rear rotors and features Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)

The Kizashi’s center mounted monochrome LED Information display provides distance to empty, along with average and real-time fuel economy. As always, we recommend driving with the real-time mileage display active, to enable a fuel-efficient driving technique.

While enthusiasts will opt for corner-carving with the FWD Sport GTS or SLS trim level’s lowered and tuned suspension, the AWD SE will do just fine for most folks.

Suzuki’s i-AWD system gives drivers the ability to switch between two-wheel-drive (2WD) and all-wheel-drive to accommodate all driving conditions. 2WD mode allows for better fuel economy.

The 2011 Kizashi’s cabin is nearly as stylish as its exterior, with well-bolstered front bucket seats. The mid-level SE trim has cloth seating surfaces. (Buyers will need to step up to the Sport SLS trim level for leather seating surfaces and three-level heated front seats.) The ten-way power driver’s seat has three memory presets and two-way power lumbar. The HVAC system is dual zone.

The Kizashi SE’s leather-wrapped steering wheel features integrated audio controls. XM satellite radio is standard along with a seven-speaker audio system with iPod integration. The standard audio system’s display is short on screen real estate. A ten-speaker 425-Watt Rockford Fosgate audio system is included with the Sport GTS trim level. Bluetooth support is optional in all trim levels and standard in the Sport SLS.

The USB jack is located in a compartment at the base of the dash, alongside one of two 12-volt outlets. The second 12-volt outlet is located inside the center console.

A touchscreen GPS navigation system with traffic service and rearview camera is optional in the Sport GTS and Sport SLS

Taller passengers may find the rear seats to be snug, but that tends to come with the territory in most sport sedans. There are 37 inches of rear seat head room and 35.6 inches of rear seat leg room. The Kizashi’s rear seat includes a center armrest with a set of concealed sliding cup holders. Rear seat ventilation is standard.

The trunk provides 13.3 cubic feet of cargo area, with a 60/40 fold-down rear seat to handle longer cargo. While the center passthrough’s integrated ski bag is an elegant and welcome touch for the skier, it will not accommodate larger snowboards.

All-in-all, the AWD 2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE presents a well-designed and executed alternative for folks with a need for year-round roadworthiness and a sense of style. More than just a pretty face, the Kizashi provides excellent handling at a very competitive price point. We look forward to testing a FWD manual transmission-equipped Kizashi Sport in the future.

Parts Content Infomation:
U.S./Canadian Parts Content: 2%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content:
Japan 81%
Final Assembly Point:
Sagura, Japan
Engine: Japan
Transmission: Japan

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2 comments ↓

#1 awdisnice on 03.22.11 at 10:00 pm

So i am wondering when you tested this cars MPG was this in fwd or awd? It would be interesting to see how much difference there is. I would really like to get an awd car and this thing has so many features for the money and i actually think it looks pretty nice

#2 mpg-o-editor on 03.23.11 at 7:03 am

@awdisnice – Good question. Roads were dry for the most part during the test week, so the Kizashi was in FWD mode.

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