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Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review

The Suzuki Kizashi Turbo is a well-hidden secret in Suzuki Australia’s arsenal. Although still not available for sale officially, there is a good chance the turbocharged model will make it to production in the near future. CarAdvice got an exclusive first drive around Broadford race track earlier this month but we weren’t allowed to talk about it until today.

At a Kizashi owners’ track test day, Suzuki Australia had a nice surprise for us. Just when we thought the day was over, a blue Suzuki Kizashi Turbo appeared out of nowhere. If you must know, it’s actually the same car that we previously covered at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney last year. Technically it’s not a production car, simply a Suzuki Kizashi with a turbocharger kit provided by Road Race Motorsports in the US.

I have previously talked about the great ride and handling of the Kizashi and Kizashi AWD. I also can’t recall just how many times I’ve said that a chassis so well built could certainly do with more power. Thankfully, it seems as though someone is listening.

In its current form, the Kizashi Turbo is front-wheel drive. Although an all-wheel drive version of the naturally-aspirated Kizashi exists, it’s only available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which makes the turbocharging processa little tricky.

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review

Will the final version be available as a Kizashi Turbo AWD? We certainly hope so, but it’s currently an unknown. There is no doubt the factory in Japan could equip the AWD versions with a manual gearbox and a turbocharger if the demand was there, so it’s fair to say that anything is possible at this stage.

Under the bonnet sits the same JB24 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder engine, but with a turbo and front-mount intercooler attached. Power has increased from 131kW to 179kW at 4800rpm with torque rising to 330Nm at 4400rpm (100Nm higher than before). 0-100km/h times are not yet available, but compared with the standard Kizashi, it feels like a whole new car.

The massive increase in power and torque comes from running the turbo at just 7psi. The setup is mated to the standard six-speed manual transmission, which we are told is more than capable of handling the increased power.

Given our test vehicle was just a modified front-wheel drive Kizashi, it had exactly the same interior. Nonetheless, if the massive front-mounted intercooler didn’t give it away, the exterior is highlighted by 19-inch Enkei RPF1 wheels wrapped in 245/40 x 19-inch Pirelli P Zero tyres.

So why did we drive a modified turbocharged Kizashi when it’s still not confirmed for sale? The idea is simple: if the Kizashi Turbo gets enough attention from potential buyers, it will become a reality. So without further ado, CarAdvice was given the keys to the force-fed Kizashi for a few hot laps around Broadford.

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review

Helmet on, driving position and steering wheel adjusted. It was time for our drive. A yellow warning light in the instrument cluster signaled that all nanny controls had been switched off (as the systems weren’t calibrated to deal with the increased output), which is a great way to make racing around a track exciting.

Engage first gear and away we went. Broadford was designed to be a motorcycle track, so it’s not as wide as it could be. A few consecutive mistakes can see you flying off into a wall in no time. So it was recommended that I take it easy the first few laps.

It was with those words running through my head that I came screaming into turn one, heavy on the brakes and letting the Kizashi’s excellent chassis do the hard work. The Kizashi Turbo’s acceleration is intense with the push back into your seat coming early in the rev range and not giving up for a while. It doesn’t seem to run out of steam as the gear ratios are well spaced and torque is available at all speeds.

Even though the brakes had been abused with hot laps minutes before and were starting to fade, the Kizashi’s well balanced suspension allowed for a confident drive through the track. The steering was smooth (although slightly over-assisted) and accelerating out of corners was not a case of holding the wheel and praying to God. Despite pushing all its power through the front wheels, it’s still very much a driver’s car. Torque steer is evident but generally a non-issue. If you happen to dump the clutch for a quick take off, you will certainly get wheelspin but that’s not uncommon for a turbocharged front-wheel drive.

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review

Around the quick right and left turns in the back straight, the Kizashi Turbo was most impressive. In third gear it kept the power on and the smiles coming. The naturally-aspirated front-wheel drive manual Kizashi only weighs 1480kg (kerb), so with all the turbocharging kit put on it, it’s likely to hover around the 1500kg mark. It’s power-to-weight ratio is pretty good but we suspect it might actually be a little better if it was done at the factory in all-wheel drive form.

The best way to compare the Kizashi turbo is to use the Subaru Liberty GT as a benchmark. Although the Liberty is more powerful and all-wheel drive, the production-ready Kizash Turbo (when it happens) will be pretty much going for the same idea. Both of these cars are designed for enthusiasts that have practicality in mind. It’s fair to say the Kizashi has a better built chassis for the turbocharger application but Subaru has been doing it for so long that it’s got it pretty much just right (except for the looks, of course).

What we took away from our laps around Broadford was that, yes, indeed, the Kizashi can handle much more power. In fact, it deserves more power. It’s one of the few models in the medium segment that has been designed with sportiness in mind, so it will be a win for car enthusiasts if Suzuki can provide the goods to make it happen.

The big question is, if or when it goes into production, how much will it cost? The AWD Subaru Liberty GT starts from $52,990 for the manual and the range-topping Kizashi AWD CVT is $39,990. One can’t imagine Suzuki attaching a $13,000 premium for a manual turbocharged variant. If Suzuki can keep the price under $50,000, it will have a hell of a car on its hands and, we suspect, a lot of interest.

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review

In a perfect world, Suzuki would soon announce the Kizashi Turbo as being available with a manual transmission driving all four wheels (with potential for an automatic in the future). Will it happen soon? Will it be AWD? These questions all remain unanswered for now.

What is obvious though is that Suzuki Australia wants to know if you’re interested in a Kizashi Turbo. Let them know in the comments below.


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SUZUKI KIZASHI BREAKDOWN

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Review
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  • John

    How does it compare to an Evo X MR or WRX STI in terms of handling and track performance?

    • SteveP

      It wouldn’t not by a long shot, maybe with a proper AWD system and som real boost not the measilly 7lbs

    • IfItAintARotorItAintAMotor

      I feel like it’s more like the Mazda 6 MPS Turbo. In that it was never aimed at that market. But it would have to be AWD and manual, FWD doesn’t make sense. What market would it sit in with FWD? AWD would surely attract more people to it…

      • JooberFPVGT

        Dunno pershaps similar attraction to what the Jetta turbo, mondeo turbo etc, they didnt intend this to be a completely different car, just the option is there for those who want a bit of oomph.

  • Yeti

    It sounds. I think they should stick with FWD and a lower price point than the Liberty. It’s certainly a good looking car.(well maybe not in blue)

  • SteveP

    IF it were AWD and manual (none of this CVT crap)
    it would be a very formidable car.

    Start building some serious sports versions and let monster have his WRC team back with one of these and even go for production rally variants and take the crown from WRX!!

    worth a shot……..

  • Justin

    It won’t be a wrc car as it too big.

    Still rather the libety even with it’s looks, better engine, better gearbox and with the knowledge it will be reliable

    • IfItAintARotorItAintAMotor

      Please, a Subaru will break down before a Suzuki…

      Also, what about an engine and auto/manual drivetrain from VW? Thats an idea…

  • M

    Looks like it could be a good model to add to their range.

  • cam

    If the price was well under 50k, 6 speed manual (optional decent auto maybe), awd and throw in sat nav like mazdas do. I’d definitely put this on my list as the next daily driver. It’s a good looking well sized car but too soft now.

  • cam

    Oh yeah, I want red brake calipers (with a brembo logo) and dark wheels

  • Hung Low

    RRM Motorsports have had a turbo kit for the SX4 for years, yet Suzuki never released a factory version despite have the SX4 in the WRC!! It could have been a great hot hatch!
    Saying that, it leaves little hope for this car ever going on sale with a factory turbo, they may sell the kit as an option with the warranty provide by the shop doing the installation, so that will add a decent premium to the price making the whole exercise a non viability to the buyer let alone Suzuki.

    Kizashi had promised so much more than it has delivered, great car in base spec compared against other normal midsizers though.

  • Nic

    They better have a retrofit kit for all us early adopters …..

  • B

    1) It won’t happen

    2) The CVT in the Kizashi can’t handle that much torque

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2QCAXAMLKAHJCWLQ7CMSQXBVPU Chance

      That’s precisely why everyone including caradvice is suggesting it come in a manual transmission with awd. Did you not read the article?  Also, the current CVT in Kizashi might not be able to handle a turbo but there are several other CVT’s from the same manufacturor that could be used with a turbo version.

  • Mark

    I’m from the states and I just drove a Kizashi FWD Manual 6spd – adding a turbo would put this car at the top of my list. It handles great in its’ standard configuration and is smaller and ligter than the new Optima and Sonata Turbos and with that much power should be a tad quicker. I loved the last generation Subaru Legacy GT. The Kizashi has a great interior and better looks than that car IMO. We bought a Suzuki SX4 Sport for my daughter a couple years ago and it has been bullet proof. Add gas change oil and go. I was blown away by the fit finish and ride of the SX4 for a little economy car – we drove all sorts of alternatives from the more established brands and I didn’t think anything came close. I drive a Civic Si now and am ready to go back to a more adult oriented car and the Kizashi is a strong contender. If nothing else Suzuki should make a factory backed turbo kit available!

  • Nic
  • Techtragic

    I looked at the Kizashi (FWD & AWD) before eventually buying a (used – late 06) Mazda 6 MPS. Key reason I ruled out the Kizashi was the lack of grunt. (Interestingly, I read somewhere that when development of the Kizashi stated, Suzuki had a connection with GM, and the intention was to source a more powerful engine from them for the Kizashi, but the connection was terminated mid way thru the development process and Suzuki were left with only their own engines as options.)
    Anyway, with a decent forced induction system of some sort added, and either AWD or retuning of suspension to handle the extra grunt, I think it would be a winner, in a similar mould to the Mazda 6 MPS.
    My Opinion for what its worth…

  • joe

    I am from the states and having a Turbo option paired to AWD would make this do 2 things:

    1. Would be much better than all the Midsize sedans that do not have turbos
    2. With the AWD, would be much better than the new Sonata Turbo and Optima Turbo
    3. Actually be comparable to the BMW 3, Audi A4 and Benz C class. 180 HP doesnt cut it against the big 3.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2QCAXAMLKAHJCWLQ7CMSQXBVPU Chance

      Great points and I gotta agree 100%.  A turbo Kizashi would suddenly be a whole different game!

  • Sumpguard

    To me it’s the best looking car in the segment and all it is crying out for is that turbo donk. Build it and they will come.

  • Charles

    Please Suzuki DON’T torture us with a turbo Kizashi. I am perfectly happy with my AWD CVT Kizashi. You’ll give me many ways to regret my purchase, plus another reason to tap into our 401(k) (US pension-type account). And whatever yo do, do not do not equip it with those sick wheels. For that would definitely cause me to go buy one.

  • James Cortez

    CA, I am quoting your WRONG statement ” It’s power-to-weight ratio is pretty good but we suspect it might actually be a little better if it was done at the factory in all-wheel drive form.”

    Come on, with AWD the power to weight will be poorer / lower but acceleration should be better due to better traction. That’s not a professional statement at all!!

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Notice the “at the factory” bit? I imagine Suzuki engineers, if given the opportunity, can get more power out of the engine in AWD form than a third party tuner running a turbo on just 7psi,

  • GV

    The Kizashi was definately on my list until i heard about power issues, whack the turbo in and i’ll race you to the dealership…..

    • nic

      After driving it for a week, the manual version has more than enough power for city driving. You can get the front wheels spinning without to much trouble.
      In any case if you like driving you should be looking at a manual anyway.

      • Pistol Pete

        I agree Nic. I was hesitant in looking at the Kizashi due to all the reviews where it stated the power was lacking. I’ve owned V8′s and turbos before, so I really was a bit nervous of how it would drive. OK – it’s not a V8 and it’s not got the head snapping performance of a turbo, but I think it’s definitely adequate! Once you hit around 3500 revs, it really does accelerate quite well and very smoothly too. It’s definitely no slouch and I wouldnt have bought it if it was!

        On the side, they WONT offer a turbo version. I harrassed my dealer until he went as high as he could to find out what the possibilities were. Basically the response was this: “They wont offer a turbo version because the US market think the 2.4l is too big for a turbo and they wont offer something here that they wont offer in the US. The only possible scenario would be a V6 of some description, way down the track”

        All I can say is that I am loving my Kizashi and if there is a Turbo or V6 variant offered later on in life, it will be the car I upgrade to!

    • Arky

      Exactly. I wish the 6MPS was still produced, or was produced a year or two longer so that reasonably low km used versions were still available. I can’t afford both a sporty car and a family car, I need a car that does both, and a turbo Kizashi would be perfect.

  • M

    Having an auto option would be good.

  • Joshua

    Suzuki Australia, Put this car into Production as a fwd, manual with all the right equipment, make it for $45K, and I will buy one in a heart beat!

  • William Edward Ferguson

    Have none of you seen this? My buddy chose the Mazda only because of the turbo. Suzuki’s are very reliable. Pike’s Peak record stands proud! Under 10 minutes now!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT42S4GG8Fs

  • shane

    A v6 in the awd sport will pull it along nicely, just for more grunt. You could then have manual or auto option and would be much more affordable and would sell more. When you’re paying high 40′s 50′s for a car you would probably start loocking at vw r models or a sirocco or even back down to a wrx or evolution for cheaper. As much as i think suzuki’s are great cars and i really want a kizashi i’m not sure i or anyone will pay that much for a suzuki. I myself want a v6 in a kizashi and am waiting to see what they do.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2QCAXAMLKAHJCWLQ7CMSQXBVPU Chance

      Suzuki already tested a V6 in the Kizashi and the results were less than optimal due to the added front end weight.  You can find the story about it on the internet.  Do a search for “Kizashi V6 test mule”.  After that they determined that the best option for the Kizashi design would be a turbo-4 to maintain the low weight and high performance.

  • Paulie G

    Definitely interested in this vehicle . The boot lid on the
    Prestige is fine as it is though. How much dearer than the
    normal aspirated engine is salient consideration.
    I tend to agree with Joshua!

  • Al Juraj

    The AWD system in the current non-turbo model is virtually negligible as it does not have that much power to play with. I hope the turbo does become a reality, and driving all wheels at that. It would become an upsized Lancer Ralliart.

  • ScottB

    Suzuki, if you’re not going to market it as production model, can you at least make it available as an after-sales dealer install kit? I wouldn’t mind sticking these upgrades in my Kizashi…

    • Pistol Pete

      I agree Scott! That would be a fantastic option!

  • steve

    yes pls

  • COLIN ROSE

    I currently drive a 6 litre V8 Calais, 270kw but i am really impressed with the Kizashi look and love the interior. I am thinking shortly of changing over to either a Honda Euro, Liberty, however the Kizashi has me interested especially if they bring out the Turbo model but i would like to see an aito version as well but it would have to have all wheel drive as you get to much shudder under power through the front wheel drive.
    That front wheel shudder turned me off a Audi front wheel drive i looked at a couple of years ago.
    I would definalely seriously consider a Kizashi Turbo.

  • jk

    if you are not going to sell the car, can i have the test drive turbo kizashi?

  • SMJ1220

    If Suzuki make one of these in manual (either FWD or AWD) for $40-45k then they have a buyer right here …

  • Woody

    Pretty cool hears hoping Suzuki put it on the market, Ill have mine in white with dark coloured wheels please…

  • mike

    Im not really after a “performance” car. I would be really happy with a v6 and would definetly buy one as im updating soon. Love the kizashi but dont want the current engine in the awd. Suzuki, please let us know asap , the suspence is killing me!

  • Xavier

    Yes, Yes, and Yes!!!

  • josh

    Have your partners at vw build a tdi for this and i am sold…

  • Richo

    If they do a turbo (auto preferably so the wife will drive it – otherwise a manual is also ok) I’ll buy one. I’ll be replacing my Mondeo XR5 in the next 9 months and it’d be good to know there was a decent alternative to another XR5 or Octavia RS. I’ve had Liberty’s in the past but the current model looks like its been belted with an awfully blunt object.

  • Stevieg

    Please Suzuki, hurry up and get this into production. My lease is up in 12 months and I want a Kizashi Sports AWD Turbo!

  • Kim

    I too test drove the standard XL Kizashi – steered well, rode well, incredible VW-like ambiance inside (OK, not everyone likes black subdued Audi style interiors, but I do), but ….

    Could not handle the fact the engine was so underpowered … on the open road that’s fine, but general driving around Sydney navigating those slight hills brought out the weight of the car …

    And on a smaller note, why old style goose neck hinges on the boot, Suzuki? Take a leaf out of BMW / Mazda and even the Lancer’s book … clever little external cantilever hinges that don’t crush cargo in the boot or make it hard for the boot to close when the family’s good to go on their long trip …

    A shame because my lease just ended and if the two items above had been solved, I would have been behind the wheel of a very beautiful and generally great driving car ….

  • http://CarAdvice Denis Johnston

    I have recently test driven the AWD Sport andI would definately be interested in the Kiashi Turbo AWD. But as my wife will only drive an auto it must be in the CVT version.

  • Kicks

    What Denis said!

    Factory CVT Kit please, pretty please…

  • Jon

    I’m currently looking to get a new car and have decided on the Kizashi. I’ve been watching the Kizashi since it was released, but the lack of power is the main thing stopping me from buying it.

    Therefore, if Suzuki puts the turbo into production with AWD, they will have a guaranteed customer!

  • Josh

    I have been interested in the Kizashi since it came out. I would buy one if they would make a turbo model.

  • David

    I bought a Kizashi AWD Sports for my wife ,cvt and all its a great car .push it up into the 5′s plus and the thing moves ,as well as handles.Great drive ,yes put a turbo on .It’s just as much fun as my Datsun 1200 rally.

  • Chris

    its got my vote!! The lack of power in the Kizashi sport is the only thing holding me back – how can they call it a ‘Sport’ without working on its power plant?

    The Kizashi’s styling seems to fill the gap that the other Japanese manufacturers have been missing. Liberty styling is too old-timer, the Impreza looks dated, the Lancer is too rice-boy and the Mazda MPS looks like a girls car. The only thing holding this gorgeous car back is its performance!

  • Jim

    AWD Turbo auto version please Suzuki Australia

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2QCAXAMLKAHJCWLQ7CMSQXBVPU Chance

    If Suzuki adds a Turbo option to Kizashi, we are talking a whole new ballgame here.  Suddenly Kizashi would become a Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima (i45) killer (yes both of those cars come in turbo versions but neither of them have AWD and have vastly inferior handeling characteristics as compared to Kizashi) and a SERIOUS threat to cars like Audi A6, BMW 3 Series, etc!  And that my friends would gain world wide attention for Suzuki. It would be a game changer.

  • Sean

    RPF1s are one of my favourite wheels, and light too.

  • Rjt9059

    I test drove a FWD Kizashi and was impressed with the look and feel of the car. It had all the bells and whisles just no power. I currently own a VW Jetta with a turbo! After having a turbo it will be hard to buy one without a turbo. I love my turbo! If the Kizashi comes out with a turbo I will be back to retest drive the Kizashi and probably take one home! Very nice car!

  • C.

    It would be a nice combination; turbo,
    AWD and manual. If this could all be offered sub 30K, I would think that there
    would not be any question for any price conscious consumer and Suzuki would
    capture the market.

  • Sloth

    Its pretty simple really, don’t waste your time waiting for a turbo model that may never come, just get the kit from RRM in the US and bob’s your uncle, instant turbo kisashi.

  • rob

    I have the AWD sport at the moment , great car, great suspension, but certainly could do with a few more KW’s under the bonnet or even a V6.

    Had my Sport for nearly 2 years now and still not 100% sure about the cvt. Its ok but I would probably prefer a standard 6 speed auto car next time.

Suzuki Kizashi Specs

SPORT AWD : 2.4L MULTI POINT F/INJ - CONTINUOUS VARIABLE - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
SUZUKI
Model
KIZASHI
Variant
SPORT AWD
Series
FR
Year
2011
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.4L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
230Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
131kW @  6500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
81.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
92x90mm
Compression Ratio
10.0
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
CONTINUOUS VARIABLE
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
5.798
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
63
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1600
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1470mm
Length
4650mm
Width
1820mm
Ground Clearance
135mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1700  Unbrake:720
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
8x18
Rear Rim Size
8x18
Front Tyres
235/45 R18
Rear Tyres
235/45 R18
Wheel Base
2700
Front Track
1565
Rear Track
1575
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program
Driver
Cruise Control, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Exterior
Body Kit, Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
9-H-15
Country of Origin
JAPAN