Alongside the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi we tested at Virginia International Raceway was a V6-powered "chassis verification prototype" test mule, providing more power and an aggressive body-kit. Is this the car Suzuki should have built instead?
The vehicle is equipped with the GM-designed 3.6-liter V6 straight out of the unpopular XL-7, putting out around 260 HP, an increase of at least 75 HP over the Kizashi's standard fourbanger. On the track, the V6-equipped mule does clearly provide more power, able to pull itself out of corners with a level of aggression completely absent from the production car.
Unfortunately, the added weight is felt and the well-balanced feel of the regular sedan is reduced. Also, speed is limited in the straights by a CVT transmission unwilling to let you push the car hard (there's a soft rev-limiter on the manual version allowing more leeway).
Overall, we preferred the four-cylinder GTS model and think the Kizashi is better suited to a small turbo than a full V6. Unfortunately, we think the V6 is where they're headed with a future higher performance Kizashi model.
Whatever engine is chosen, they need to make sure the next model update includes the more aggressive bodywork and attractive fascia. It gives the car more of a presence and makes the Kizashi as attractive as any vehicle on the upper end of the class, exceeding the funky TSX and nipping at the heals of the sensuous Passat CC.