2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport review: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.0
  • Cabin tech: 6.0
  • Performance tech: 6.0
  • Design: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Bluetooth connectivity is standard for 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport SLS models. Handling is responsive and the six-speed manual transmission added some fun to our commute. The Rockford Fosgate premium audio system provides a lot of thump for your buck.

The Bad Choosing the navigation option deletes Bluetooth audio streaming. Power and fuel economy are middle of the pack.

The Bottom Line While the 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport SLS is nimble for its class, its premium audio system offers more performance than its engine and suspension do.

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When we last saw the Suzuki Kizashi , we called the sedan "a sheep in wolf's clothing," alluding to the Suzuki's promise of sports car performance but delivery of middling power, handling, and economy. For the 2011 model year, Suzuki is back, this time with a Sport badge on its Kizashi. So has the automaker given this wolf some bite to back up its bark or is the sedan sporty only in name? We took a spin in the 2011 Kizashi Sport SLS to find out.

Sport 'upgrades'
What sort of features come with the Kizashi's new Sport moniker? Aside from a more aggressive nose, lower body kit, trunk-lid spoiler, and more chrome accents than you can shake a stick at, the Kizashi also gains a slightly stiffer suspension that sits 10 millimeters lower than previously. Suzuki claims that this lower stance enhances aerodynamics and handling, but our first impression was that it, too, was primarily a stylistic decision. We didn't have too many complaints about the previous Kizashi's handling, but we were more than happy to test out Suzuki's claims on our favorite back roads.

What we found was that the way the Kisashi handles is more or less unchanged, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. There was still a great deal of understeer, but the sedan was also still very responsive to our inputs. If nothing else, the firmer suspension made it much easier to feel the sedan's front end washout as it pushed it through turns and react faster to counteract it. Around one particular bend, taken perhaps slightly faster than advisable in the wet conditions, we were able to almost perfectly feel the front wheels skipping over the cracks in the road and quickly prevent a slide. In day-to-day driving, this level of communication, responsiveness, and predictability is infinitely more useful than a few seconds' additional speed around a track.


Handling has been slightly improved, but power remains unchanged in the new Kizashi Sport.

So, there are modest improvements to the Sport's handling, which was fine in the first place. Now, what has Suzuki done about the Kizashi's middling power and performance numbers? As it turns out, the automaker has done nothing. There's no turbo, no direct injection, and no boost in power. The Kizashi Sport is powered by the same 2.4-liter, 185-horsepower, four-cylinder engine that we previously described as "run-of-the-mill." The six-speed manual transmission is still as fun to row through as it was in our last encounter, but the Sport SLS offers no more power this time around. In fact, the EPA's highway fuel economy estimate for the car is down 2 miles per gallon at the SLS trim level to 29 mpg, while city mpg remains unchanged at 21 mpg. With so little changed in just one model year, we're not sure where those 2 mpg went.


The six-speed manual transmission is easily the most fun part of the Kizashi's driving experience.

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Where to Buy

2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport

Part Number: 101374117

MSRP: $22,899.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Trim levels Sport GTS
  • Body style Sedan
  • Available Engine Gas