• AWD Asian sedan shootout: Suzuki Kizashi vs. Subaru Legacy

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    It was bound to happen. Subaru finally has some competition. Aside
    from the STI vs. Mitsubishi EVO, Subaru is rarely challenged head on.

    Suzuki is the only automaker who builds two competitors for two of
    Subaru’s models. Okay, so Subaru has an optional 6-cylinder and beefier
    options for their Legacy. In fact the Legacy starts off with the
    advantage of having an optional manual WITH all wheel drive (AWD) in
    their 4-cylinder, larger proportions and more aftermarket goodies.

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    On the other hand, the Suzuki Kizashi has fewer options, no AWD
    offered with a stick, smaller proportions and only one engine to choose
    from. Its size is right in the middle of the Subaru Legacy and Subaru
    Impreza.

    My quick comparison is between an AWD Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium with
    the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the Suzuki
    Kizashi SE with a CVT and AWD. They fall within a grand of each other
    (Subaru is a bit more expensive) when comparably equipped. Both have 2.5
    liter, 4-cylinder engines. Both are quality built, and compete
    (roughly) in the same category.

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    Suzuki WINS!

    What? Oh, you want the reason why – right?

    The Kizashi is a surprising car. If you look at the standard
    equipment, fit & finish, sporty handling and – quite frankly –
    better looking skin, the Suzuki Kizashi is the better car by a whisker.

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    The Subaru Legacy is a much more comfortable vehicle with a vastly
    improved interior over its previous version. This is a better, more
    economical car for commuting and its CVT feels less sluggish than the
    Suzuki’s. Driving control is good as are the sightlines which are tops
    in the industry. This is an ideal vehicle for commuters who deal with
    inclement weather. Truly, a well made, safe, comfortable car.

    So why did the Suzuki win?

    There are only two reasons why I prefer the Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD
    over the Subaru Legacy 2.5i. The Kizashi looks much better and is a joy
    to drive through the corners. I truly feel that Suzuki’s other
    worthwhile machine; the SX4 is good looking in every variation and can
    compete with the non turbo Subaru Impreza (which will be on part II).

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    On paper, the two AWD, CVT equipped vehicles are close in power and
    economy (the Subaru is amazingly thrifty at about 27 mpg combined while
    the Suzuki Kizashi gets a decent 25 mpg combined). 0 to 60 times are
    just about the same (they average 9.4 seconds for both) with the Subaru
    sounding and feeling smoother all the way up to 100 mph. Both vehicles
    are much faster with their manual transmissions; however, the Suzuki
    Kizashi is quickest with its manual due to less weight and drag of the
    AWD.

    After charging around a few corners, the Suzuki begins to shine.
    There is nothing wrong with the Subaru Legacy as it is a mellow ride
    with good grip, but it wallows and leans like a Toyota Avalon. The same
    corners taken in a Suzuki Kizashi are much more enjoyable with good
    control and marginally good road feel. It comes off as a better balanced
    vehicle with a tiny bit of fun infused within.

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    I’ve driven just about every type 2010 Subaru Legacy and had many
    opportunities to question its looks. So, with this many Subaru Legacys
    to look at over the course of a year, my conclusion is – it needs to be
    restyled. The odd looking wheel well arches look acceptable on the
    SUV-ish Outback, but make the already chunky Legacy look larger. At the
    same time, the arches make the wheels look small which (once again)
    makes the Legacy look hefty. The headlights and taillights do not
    compliment each other and make the whole design look unbalanced.

    On the other hand, the Suzuki Kizashi looks sporty, handsome and
    slick. It reminds many of the newer VW Jetta, which is a good thing as
    the Jetta is handsome. The only flaw (which many automakers are now
    perpetrating) is the chrome, body matching exhaust ports. They look cool
    at an angle, until you see the tiny actual exhaust pipes resting inside
    – very noticeable from behind I dare say.

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    The CVT in the Kizashi is especially loud and slow. For folks who
    take long road trips, the Subaru’s CVT is a better, long distance
    choice. In fact, 90% of the Subaru Legacy 2.5i is equal to or better
    than the Kizashi. It’s that CVT man – it makes time slow down while
    feeling unnatural.

    Other than that, the Suzuki Kizashi is a great deal with a killer
    (transferable) 7 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, excellent
    standard equipment, nice handling and sweet looks.

    Don’t get me wrong – the Subaru is a good machine. Just a few things
    stand against the Legacy that play right into the Suzuki’s hands. In the
    end, it truly is the looks that tip the scales.

    Nathan
    Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
    sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
    of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
    enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com
    page HERE. Photos by:
    N.D

    Follow on twitter @TFLcar or
    watch latest car review videos on YouTube.

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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