After owning a manual version of the Kizashi for almost 4 years now I can honestly claim to be a very satisfied owner. What some people claim to be a weakness of the Kizashi (its size midway between a Mazda 3 and a Mondeo) was its appeal to my small family.
I love driving and favour handling & ride compromise over other areas. In this department, the Kizashi has received commendations around the world. Its balance and structural integrity for a mid-sized family car for the proletariat is simply spot on. My brother who drives a 2013 Mazda 6 believes that my Kizashi has similar handling attributes but superior comfort to his car. He also believes that the Kizashi's brakes and gearbox are also better. I concur, obviously.
His service intervals are at 10,000; the Kizashi's is 15,000. The lovely Honda Accord Euro which I drove before choosing the Kizashi had a wonderful gearbox but for me a less precise steering, gulped a lot more 95 octane (Kizashi 91) and had service intervals at 10,000k.
On countless highway trips from Cairns to Brisbane and back, the Kizashi was so comfortable and consumed only 6.3l per 100k; around 6.6 with the air-con on during some 38 degree summer hauls. Since it has been so poorly marketed by a small budgeted Suzuki it is also rare - this makes it have great cache as it is vary attractive and unique.
Not one thing has gone wrong which makes my dealer's special deal of a 5 year warranty seem redundant. The CarAdvice review noted the solidity of the engineering and it just adds to the joy of ownership knowing that Suzuki spent so much money in the design of this car before its release in 2010. It was not a good time to release such as car in post GFC times.
The only thing that I would place on the wish list would be more low down torque. Regardless, like all drivers purchasing different cars, I just adjusted when I would shift from 2nd to 3rd and that little alteration has largely negated that wish. Pity that more magazine road tests did not test the manual vs the sluggish CVT model as they would have highlighted that Suzuki had two distinctly different cars mainly due to its gearbox choices. Some American tests recorded 0-96k in 7.5 sec; when overtaking was done on the high-way this figure seems right because the manual has a very deceptive turn of speed.
In my spare time I often browse through the net and look at hugely depreciated sports cars (Renault Megane RS 265, Alfa Guiletta QV, Opel OPC) or others but ultimately I look at my Suzuki and come to the conclusion "But you do everything I want so competently."
I would like to have a car with integrated GPS and did not like the amateur add on that Suzuki did in 2014. But many people told me of the rip off that some dealers do to update maps. So my external TomTom fits the bill perfectly as I can take it on trips and plug it into hire cars without incurring an additional charge. Anyway, I loathe the pop up display in Mazda 3s that interfere with visibility all the time and impede in the smoothness of the dashboard layout.
Badge snobbery and poor marketing ensured that I purchased the Kizashi cheaply and in 2020 when I might consider passing it onto another lucky owner, I will not even think about low 3 year depreciation rates. Perhaps one of the finest second hand buys any Australian can get if looking for something a little bigger than current top market sellers such as Mazda 3, dull Corolla and i30.