As Maruti Suzuki venture into the as yet unexplored luxury car segment with the Kizashi, the designers seem to have taken inspiration from an athlete in motion, to give the sedan the sporty look, rather than that of a run-of-the-mill saloon. The Kizashi’s three-dimensional curved bonnet lines make for a strong presence while giving the impression of forward motion. The headlamps with their elliptical rings add to the muscular look of the car, aided and abetted by the mesh-design front grille. The taut shoulder lines run from the nose to the tail, giving the car a dynamic and sporty stance from the side and, at the same time, making it look elegant. The minute you step inside the car, there is an unmistakable air of luxury emanating from the leather upholstery and the fit-and-finish of the plastics and the switchgear. One has never seen this kind of quality in any Maruti product in the past, not even in their high-end SUV.
The sportiness of the car is evident inside too as you get behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel and take a first look at the driver-centred instrumentation layout. The Kizashi hides a 2,400-cc, DOHC 16-valve J-engine under its hood, which develops a healthy 178 PS at 6,500 rpm and 230 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine is mated either to a six-speed manual gearbox or, depending upon your choice, a continuous variable transmission (CVT) with a six-speed paddle shift on the steering. As I examined further, the rigidity of the body and suspension were a true revelation.
The straight under-floor members and comprehensively reinforced joints play an important part in increasing the tensional rigidity of the monocoque along with the reinforced pillars and suspension mounts. The suspension up front is standard McPherson strut and there is a multi-link set-up at the rear. The Kizashi is truly a sports luxury sedan and a fun car to drive right from the short-throw six-speed box to the 2.4-litre engine. The gear shift is slick and precise. The pull from this 2.4 engine is very strong up to 4,000 rpm and then it goes a little flat until it hits the rev limiter at 6,700 rpm. The ride is good too. The Kizashi now is only available on order. It is priced at Rs 17.6 to 18.2 ex-showroom New Delhi. For a detailed analysis read below.