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Kizashi gets a grip with sport trim

Posted by Keith Griffin  March 31, 2010 01:05 PM

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(All photos: Clifford Atiyeh/Boston.com Staff)

NEW YORK—The wishes of Suzuki Kizashi fans has been answered — and the hot, new sedan has barely hit the market. Last night on the eve of the New York International Auto Show, the Japanese automaker rolled out its Kizashi sport model. The mostly external modifications drop the vehicle closer to the ground and improve handling.

Let the hype commence. “We took the hottest car Suzuki has ever made and added a little Tabasco sauce,” said Steve Younan, Suzuki director of product planning. (Hot and Suzuki was a classic automotive oxymoron until the Kizashi went on sale this past December.)

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Modifications include a more muscular, lowered front grille with chrome accents, body side sill extensions, more chrome accents on lower body side molding, lighter 18-inch wheels that mirror those on the original Kizashi concept, and a 10 millimeter (about four-tenths of an inch) drop in ride height.

That seemingly minor drop in ride height improves skid pad performance from .89g to .93g. Suzuki spokesman David Boldt said that translates into a 5 percent improvement in grip on the skid pad.

Interior modifications include sport steering wheel with perforated leather grip and contrasting stitching on the leather seats, shifter boot and emergency brake boot (when equipped with black leather interior).

The Sport will be available in the GTS and SLS trim models. No firm pricing was announced but Younan said a GTS model with six-speed manual transmission should start under $23,000 with the SLS model with manual transmission under $25,000. The current GTS with all-wheel drive starts at $21,899.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
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