Kizashi, Equator, SX4 drive Suzuki's success
The Japanese carmaker's stellar lineup is on a rampage, led by the flagship Kizashi. The sporty sedan has quietly collected three of Suzuki's five industry awards for 2011. Other prize-winners are the Equator compact truck and all-wheel drive SX4 crossover.
The Equator, equipped with 4- and 6-cylinder engines that deliver between 152 and 264 horsepower, won U.S. News & World Report's “Best Compact Truck for the Money.” Year-to-date U.S. sales have been rockin', up an impressive 55%, and May to June sales keep the party going (+74%).
Suzuki's SX4, for the fifth straight year, nabbed the NEMPA Yankee Value Award. In 2010, it was a Kelley Blue Book "Coolest New Car." It's high praise for the 5-door, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine-powered SX4. Sales in 2011 are only 3% higher than at this time last year, but that doesn't make the car any less cool. The SX4 in reality is the company darkhorse, making a bold run with a 33% sales boost in June over the previous 30-day cycle.
Whatever the comparison, the star for Suzuki as the 2011 model year winds down has been and continues to be the value-driven Kizashi (pictured). Its 55% sales jump in 2011 vs. 2010 has buoyed an overall 12% increase for the brand with American buyers.
The Kizashi's three key product accomplishments this model year have been impressive. Buyers and critics say with these awards that the Kizashi is a solid option that fun while at the same time being satisfying to drive:
1. “Top 10 Fun Cars to Drive,” from Cars.com.
2. Sedan of the Year, Puerto Rico International Auto Show.
3. AutoPacific “Vehicle Satisfaction Award,” making it the top-ranked midsize car in its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Survey for the second year in a row.
The AutoPacific accolade, especially, “is (a) great accomplishment,” said Steve Younan, American Suzuki's director of product planning and marketing. “This recognition from our owners remains a strong testament to the hard work that our engineers and designers have put into this vehicle.”
Other high points: Edmunds.com named the Kizashi “one of the best midsize sedans on the market …” and Automobile magazine evaluated the car this way: “With its nimble chassis and capable all-wheel drive system, the Suzuki Kizashi is a great alternative for the active-lifestyle folks that Subaru targets.”
The Kizashi is powered by a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that generates 185 horsepower. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is the result of surveys with 68,000 new vehicle owners.