Suzuki Kizashi… Gesundheit!

In the US Suzuki sells about 25,000 cars a year making it an intrepid but extremely marginal player.

However worldwide — especially in emerging nations and regions with challenging terrains and sub-standard roadway networks — Suzuki’s tough, reliable and economical line of small and mid-size off-road SUVs and small delivery vehicles sell over 5.6 million units.

There have been rumblings about a Suzuki pull-out from the US market for years! To keep that from becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, the company has staked its future on the Kizashi — an affordable mid-sized sedan that has gotten better than average response from the often crusty and tradition bound automotive press.

A recent test drive confirmed the good buzz on this $25,000 GTS All Wheel Drive model — bristling with standard premium features, offering impressive 22 city and 29 highway mpg ratings, and scoring on exterior and interior styling and build quality.

Less Americanized than other Japanese and South Korean brand offerings in this class, the Kizashi does very well in challenging handling maneuvers — especially twisting country roads. Though the 180 horsepower 16-valve 4 cylinder engine comes up just a bit short of the car’s sporty intentions!

Whether Kizashi is the foothold that keeps Suzuki in the US market remains to be seen.