AWD Asian sedan shootout: Suzuki Kizashi vs. Subaru Legacy


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.


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

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.


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.


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).


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

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.


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.


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.

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
page HERE. Photos by:

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