DON’T BE JEALOUS OF SUZUKI’S BOOGIE
By Casey Williams
Ru Paul and that bitch’s drag race crack me up. Don’t “F—” it up,” she says as the drag divas lip sync for their lives! From playing clucking chickens to country divas, watching those queens compete to become the next dag superstar is too funny to miss. Grab a fruity martini and watch. As the song that sings the show out each week says, “Don’t be jealous of my boogie.”
But, you might be jealous of Suzuki’s new boogie – the Kizashi, pronounced “Kee-Zah-Shee” and meaning “something great is coming.” Engineered by Suzuki and Opel, it is like a Japanese athlete who speaks with a German accent – not much different than Ru’s contestants who speak in accents only discernible by an armada of United Nations interpreters. However you say it, Kizashi is gor-geous.
Designers went balls out with the exterior. Kizashi’s honeycomb grille and aero facia are as photogenic as a supermodel’s mug. Muscular 18″ alloy wheels, bulging thighs, and a perfectly shaped, high bootie are a joy to behold. The arching roofline is as smooth as shaved legs and contributes to a hushed interior. A little sporty, and suave elegant, the sedan should be much more of the toast of the town than the Italian-accented Suzuki Verona it theoretically replaces. V-angled twin tailpipes finish off the hind view as the Kizashi launches down the expressway.
If you can judge a Kizashi by its shell, then what’s inside should be 2 pc. and a biscuit (or two bratwurst and some sushi). Style is primo with comfy leather seats, perfect steering wheel, large analog gauges, soft headliner, and leather door pull straps. Details matter on the mid-size runway, and the Kizashi makes its mark with ambient lighting from overhead and in the footwells, felt inside the glovebox, three-stage heated seats, heated mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. I love the refined Euro fit, but could do without the hard plastic dash.
Electro-wizards also had their way with the Kizashi’s interior. One enters and starts the car without taking the key fob out of their pocket – just walk up, let the car automatically unlock the door, hop in, and press the start button. Bluetooth connectivity lets your cell phone sync with the car for one-button calling. While the audio system has a USB port to allow you to control your iPOD through the car’s controls, the menu is about as hard to decipher as an Indian drag queen’s accent. Fortunately, the Rockford Fosgate 10-speaker audio with subwoofer needs to translation to be clearly heard and enjoyed.
Sachet away, or more like hit the gas and shift gears. The only motor you’re going to make purr is a 2.4-litre DOHC four-cylinder that generates 185 horsepower with a manual transmission or 180-HP with a continuously-variable trans. as in our test car. There is plenty of power to scoot the sedan, but CVTs always behave like a high-powered weedeater had relations with a golf cart. Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel made this guy feel like he was driving a Ferrari. OK, maybe it won’t get you all that untucked, but it was a pretty good drive anyway. With fuel economy ratings of 22/29-MPG city/highway, you’ll pack enough back to show off at your favorite eatery.
To rage on the throttle of this hot rocket, you will need Pilotis instead of Jimmy Choos. Imagine one of those boys grabbing the ground with four ends of claws and you get whiff at the Kizashi’s grip. An all-wheel-drive system that can be de-activated with a dash switch makes hash of slick weather and curvy back roads. Upon the first hint of slipping front wheels, power is immediately sent rearward with the front/rear split dependent on road conditions and driver inputs. Its tenacious performance was validated on Germany’s Autobahn, Switzerland’s Alpine passes, English cobblestones, and the famed Nurburgring.
Kizashi is essentially a Chevy Malibu or Buick Regal in drag, gorgeous in its sexy dress, but very much a working boy beneath. The structure is solid, doors close with a fwoomph, and the car is very well engineered. Cars are usually much better when they behave like blue-collar workers than prima donnas anyway. To only think of the Kizashi as a Chevy Malibu in high hair would completely pan its superior performance and accoutrement. Better than safe sex, Kizashi protects with 8 airbags, electronic stability control, and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes – meeting U.S. crash standards four years early.
Hailing from Sagara Japan, Suzuki crafted a hot little social climber that may have been born from working class parents, but successfully graduated from finishing school to take its place among the best mid-size sports sedans on show. Don’t be jealous of Suzuki’s boogie. Get your own. Prices start at $18,999, but came to $27,864 as tested, making this Japanese hottie dragged-out competition for the VW Passat, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, and Dodge Avenger.
As tested price: $27,864.