Tow vehicle: Suzuki Kizashi

By: Steve Vermeulen, Photography by: Steve Vermeulen


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What’s a medium-sized car doing in our tow vehicle section you ask? This one boasts the highest maximum tow capacity for any petrol vehicle this size, out-tows some of its rivals, and is fantastic to drive.

Tow vehicle: Suzuki Kizashi
Tow vehicle: Suzuki Kizashi
  • Excellent ride refinement and handling
  • Plenty of torque available even at low rpm
  • Generous interior specification
  • Kills competition on spec versus cost comparisons

Subaru, Mazda, Toyota – they’re all (or at least should be) anxiously biting their nails waiting to see how the Kizashi is going to impact their mid-size car sales, and to cut to the chase it is every bit as good as the current segment-leading Mazda6.

In addition to this, Suzuki claims it exhibits the best towing capabilities in its class, and given the 1700kg maximum capacity its capable of lugging, I won’t argue.

Admittedly, I haven’t had the opportunity to tow with the Kizashi yet, but geeze, you could hardly claim this is a mid-size sedan reserved to just light garden trailer duties. That 1700kg max (braked) tow weight – in a vehicle of this size – can only be matched by torquey and significantly pricier diesel models like Volkswagen’s Passat. Impressively, it even trumps the Hyundai ix35 crossover vehicle we featured recently.

It opens the doors to comfortable caravan ownership without needing a family vehicle larger than what you require or that is agricultural to drive like a ute. Something like Jayco’s lightweight Expanda range up to around 17" remains a towable prospect with the Kizashi, yet day to day you’ll have a cost effective and manoeuvrable car that everyone can drive.

The features

At the higher end of the Kizashi range lies the $42,000 Limited spec, with front and rear parking sensors, sunroof, high intensity discharge lights,18" wheels, premium Rockford Fosgate audio, rain sensing wipers, photo-chromatic rear view mirror, electrically adjustable, heated and leather clad upholstery kills competition on spec versus cost comparisons. Those comparisons could look all the more one-sided after the proposed GST increase too, which all bodes well for the Kizashi.

Factor that the $35k manual base model, which also features impressive kit like dual zone climate control, full iPod integration with steering wheel audio controls, trip computer, electronic stability control, six airbags and keyless entry/start, and there’s undeniable potential for the car in our market.

Wisely the Kizashi has borrowed a lot of DNA from the awesome Suzuki Swift small car. Obviously things are scaled up here, but there’s a genuine small car eagerness and agility that remarkably shines through. Yet at the same time it feels all grown-up with a comfortable, quiet ride and an impressive confidence over slick surfaces, thanks to a broad foot print and tenacious mechanical grip.

It’ll eventually be available in all-wheel drive too, which may even extend the towing capabilities further. As it is though, the front-drive version seems to cover all the bases beautifully, comfy and solidly planted for mum and the kids, rewarding and easy to drive for enthusiasts.

Engine and power

The power and torque delivery feels more than the sum of its 131kW/230Nm parts. It’s best in the base model manual version, which out-performs the CVT transmission overall. I’m also still unconvinced that towing with CVT transmissions is a wise move. Shame the manual isn’t available in the range topping Limited spec, the enjoyable snick-snack of the six-speed manual is great and the clutch take up makes it an easy drive.

It’s not without its weaknesses. The styling is a bit bland and Suzuki seems to have fallen into the trap of styling the car for bland American tastes. There’s also a little more hard plastic around the cabin than what you’ll find in the Mazda6, but it’s screwed together so the drive experience isn’t marred with rattles and the like.

Towing strength aside, it’s a great car. But that muscular load hauling specification should keep it on your buying radar, it’s the perfect mid-size car for those with mid-size caravans.

See the Suzuki Kizashi for sale on Autotrader.

Specifications

Towbar price Aprox $790
Towing capacity 1700kg braked
Power 131kW @ 6500rpm
Torque 230Nm @ 400 rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual/CVT transmission
Fuel economy 7.9L/100km
Length 4650mm
Width 1820mm
Height 1480mm
Seating capacity Five
Luggage capacity 461L

 

 

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