Suzuki Malaysia Automobile recently launched the new Suzuki flagship, Kizashi. Here’s some facts about the car :-
Powertrain: 2.4 litre NA engine
Transmission: CVT with 6 ratios
Torque: 230Nm @ 4,000rpm
0-100km – 8.8 seconds
Length : 4,650mm
Width : 1,820mm
So, what we have is the following:-
1) The Kizashi is priced at a scale of RM150k (+ – a couple of grand)
2) The Kizashi’s wheelbase is the same as the Honda Civic (I can’t imagine calling a Civic a car that has dimensions between a C & D segment) and 49mm longer than a Jetta (both are C segments category vehicles)
3) The Kizashi has a 2.4l powerplant giving more than adequate propulsion of a sub-10second car to century sprint
4) SMA is the licensed importer, marketer and distributor of the Suzuki brand
Looking at the above, we are paying RM150 for a C segment-dimension-like-claimed-to-be-D-segment vehicle with a 2.4 litre performance vehicle. It must also be noted that in markets where the Kizashi is launched and tested, much applaud is given to its performance and handling so it’s a great car to drive. I had the liberty of checking one unit out at a shopping mall where the car was on display.
You can see the back of the front seats are contoured and designed to be thinner so rear legroom is quite alright. The problem is you can’t sit 3 adults abreast comfortable (unless one or 2 of them are anorexic). The driver’s seat has nice side bolsters that provides nice lateral support, the leather is fine to touch …. but the longer I sit in the car with the big S logo staring back at me, I wonder, “Is this worth RM150k?”. Honestly, I don’t feel it.
Now, terms like performance and adequate (space) are all relative and how one defines them is up to each individual. Let’s look at how it stacks up based on the facts presented to us:-
Price tag (range of vehicles that RM150k can afford)
1) Toyota Camry
2) Honda Accord
3) Nissan Teana
4) Volkswagen Jetta
5) Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSi (Kizashi Sport)
5) Hyundai Sonata
6) Kia K5 Optima
If you want space, the Koreans and Jap D segment contenders offers more.
If Japanese/Korean makes is not your cup of tea, then we have two VW. But wait … Jetta is made in Mexico in which quality cannot be compared to a true Japanese CBU. And it does not have as much features as the Kizashi (leathered powered, memory seats, HID and all). So that leaves a Golf …. but a Golf is a hatchback. We can’t compare a hatch with a true sedan. Cabin space is definitely smaller in the Golf. Smaller …. but adequate, some might argue. And in terms of specs, build quality, performance, the Golf beats the Kizashi. If you still want the space, then the Jetta makes more sense. In terms of brand value of VW vs Suzuki, it’s quite obvious which holds higher.
If you want the push button, leather electric seats, HID but not willing to pay more, then the Sonata and Optima are alternatives. In some areas, the Koreans would lose to the Kizashi but in some other, it’s the other way around. Again, the term “value for money” is relative.
If a person willing to fork out RM150k for a car, road tax amount is probably the least on their mind so those who b*tch about paying higher road tax is probably just nit picking.
The problem with the Kizashi is that it occupies no firm position. It’s not about size (other D segments are bigger), it’s not about performance (continental brands does it better) and not about gadgetry (Koreans offers them at a lower cost). And honestly, how many people who buys a car out of “uniqueness”? So you buy a car that you tell yourself is jack-of-all-trades? It’s size is neither here nor there but has the performance of a compact sports car (which, ironically everyone else in the world is talking about downsizing and saving fuel and nothing is mentioned about it’s FC km/litre). There is a saying: Try to be everything and fail to achieve anything. I believe it will still sell as it appeals to some people but don’t take my word for it …. just wait a few months to see how the sales figures show. Just for the record, I don’t believe Suzuki/SMA is out to gain market share domination but I doubt they can hit whatever target they have set (unless they’re launching the car for the sake of launching it. Still, anyone heard of anyone saying they want a D-segment sedan SUZUKI?). And in the world where engine downsizing and force induction is becoming the norm, I have to question the viability of Suzuki launching a large cc car.
Coupled with cases reported by Swift/Vitara/SX4 owners of spare parts availability and poor after sales service in which SMA has not addressed, yes, I do believe the Kizashi is up for an uphill battle, even if it does offer a 5 year warranty program.
So what do you drive? A Suzuki. Not Toyota, not a Honda, not a Hyundai, not a Kia, not a VW. A Suzuki. Hey, if you’re fine by that, by all means, go ahead and buy one. I’m sure it’s worth all the praises heaped onto it by international journos. As for me (and speaking strictly from my own perspective), if I have so much money to buy a “unique” car (read: not anyone else in my neighborhood drives one), I’d get a car specific to my needs: big for big, performance for performance. If I don’t have so much money, I buy the car that I feel has the best value for money based on my needs. And to me, being a family man with a car for business and family, family comfort is of top priority. And because of this, you’ll have to excuse me for seeing the Kizashi as an unsuitable conveyance for me.
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