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What’s in a name? That which we call a Kizashi by any other name would smell as sweet.
You may, or may not, recognise that bastardised line (I’ve replaced “rose” with the subject of this story) as one of the most famous in literary history, when Shakespeare used it to depict the beef Juliet’s family had with Romeo’s.
She, of course, loved Romeo despite her Capulet family’s hatred for Romeo’s Montague ancestry. It’s just a name, not a tangible thing worth dissing someone for.
But I understand the Capulet’s grief, because I hate the name of Suzuki’s biggest sedan – the Kizashi. Just as Juliet felt for Romeo, I love the car, but if they had just called it something else, perhaps more western-world friendly, I suspect it would be better accepted as the brilliant mid-sized, mid-priced four-door saloon it is.
RAW FISH DISH?
Suzuki says the name means “something great is coming” in Japanese, but I think it sounds more like a raw fish dish.
Enough of the name rant. The Kizashi’s been a welcome addition to Motoring’s fleet, and we often find ourselves scheming ways to get its keys off one another before hometime at the office.
I think most of its appeal comes from its pleasant temperament. It’s comfortable, the engine’s whisper quiet, the manual gearshift action is slick and positive, and it’s fitted with a neat set of Yokohama tyres designed specifically to reduce road noise. The cabin is also inviting with a dashboard and fascia comprised mostly of black plastic, almost all soft-to-touch, and accented with classy aluminium trim pieces.
Standard specification is brilliant. In fact the only options are manual or automatic transmissions, and paint colour. All Kizashis come with electric front seats, park assist, keyless entry and go, HID headlights, cruise control, sunroof and climate control, as well as all the obligatories such as air conditioning, power windows, steering wheel controls and remote central locking.
Two of my favourite features though, are vibrating washer squirters that apparently wet the windscreen better, and an eight-speaker sound system with a subwoofer, that sounds better than most in the R300 000 sedan category.
It’s also cool that Suzuki hasn’t skimped in parts of the car that no one sees. The rear suspension is of multi-link type, so it rides a lot nicer than it would if a cheaper torsion beam setup were used. Drive over a bump, or hole in the road with one side of the car, and only that side’s wheels are affected.
With a beam-type rear axle, the jolt would be transmitted through both left and right suspension mounts – meaning twice the shudder in the seat of the pants. Multi-links effectively divide shock and vibration by half.
The engine delivers power smoothly and inconspicuously, but as is always the case, some more pep would be welcome. There’s always enough in store to overtake, or to keep up with highway traffic front-runners, but I’d expect a little more from a relatively big displacement 2.4-litre, four cylinder.
DRAGGING ITS FEET
Suzuki quotes outputs of 131kW and 230Nm, which feels spot on, but I do believe the brand may be dragging its feet a little with engine technology (which is moving inexorably to turbos) and trying to compensate with cylinder bore.
A modern 2-litre turbo petrol or diesel with more power would go down a treat here. That said, I enjoy the lack of lag from its naturally-aspirated intake, and average fuel consumption is reasonable at 9.3l/100km.
As I’m writing this I’ve been informed that Suzuki SA’s planning to repossess “our” Kizashi in coming weeks, and I’m genuinely upset at the news. I’ve bonded with the car, despite its unfortunate name. Parting will be such sweet sorrow. -Star Motoring