Vince Vaughn quoting aside, Suzuki’s all out offensive into previously unthinkable areas of auto making continues with the third concept in their latest series of prototypes; the 2009 Kizashi 3. The typically economy car producing company already has plans for a Nissan Frontier-based truck and judging by recent marketing ads is attempting to remake the image of their SX4 as a viable Mini alternative. In Japanese Kizashi translates to something like “foretaste.” With the bold-looking Kizashi 3, the first attempt by Suzuki to take on the midsize car market is a serious look at what the future may hold.
In attractive silver paint, a somewhat Audi-inspired, large metallic crosshatch grille and a wide and muscular stance, this concept looks to be all business. The oversized, 21 inch aftermarket wheels add plenty of style, though the huge brake rotors partially hidden behind the spokes communicate an underlying athletic theme Suzuki was seeking. That’s further emphasized by Kizashi 3’s wide track, muscular stance and, at the very least, the image of upscale performance. Kizashi is Suzuki’s first glance at the third phase in their ‘Way of Life’ global strategy, which started in 2004 with the launch of the first tagline, which was ‘sportiness’. Under the bulging hood, the concept adopts a 300 horsepower naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 that is teamed with a paddle-shift six-speed automatic gearbox and uses an Advanced i-AWD (All-Wheel Drive) system that is the beneficiary of the company’s success in racing. Suzuki is also leaving on the table the possibility of future hybrid and clean diesel versions of the car. As to such a future car’s price, the company responds that with the exception of the most heavily-optioned versions, a production Kizashi will “absolutely” come in “without cracking $30,000. Clearly Suzuki, much like Hyundai, is well aware that not only is consumer spending potential tight in the current market, but that they will need to fight preconceived notions of their brand while fighting for buyers. While it officially is still a concept car, Suzuki has made it clear to all who will listen that it wants to enter a vehicle into a more up-market segment, perhaps first releasing a sport sedan version of this concept by 2010.