WHAT IS IT?
Kizashi is Suzuki's first go at a larger car and it's an impressive effort. Looks the goods and is about the size of a Camry or Mazda6, with a 2.4-litre four cylinder engine and space for five occupants. The Japanese name interestingly means 'something good is coming'.

HOW MUCH?
Our top of the range XLS manual is priced from $34,990 plus on-road costs. A CVT style auto will set you back another $2000. Bluetooth is $500 and satnav is a prohibitive $4000, though we're told Bluetooth will soon be standard on XLS.

Explore the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi Range

WHAT ARE THE COMPETITORS?
The aforementioned Camry and Mazda6, plus the likes of Liberty, Mondeo, Accord Euro, new Hyundai i45 etc. In terms of size it's exactly the same width as a Camry but with its short rump is about 16cm shorter.

WHAT'S UNDER THE BONNET?
A 2.4-litre four cylinder petrol engine, with 131kW of power and 230Nm of torque. That's more power and torque than Camry, but it falls short of the current front runner the i45 at 148kW. The engine is a development of that in the Grand Vitara.

HOW DOES IT GO?
Not bad. Smooth and nice and quiet, with impressive ride and handling. The manual lends a sporty feel, but it could do with a bit more torque down low. Nice to see one-touch blinkers too!

IS IT ECONOMICAL?
Yes. For an engine this size 7.9 litres/100km is excellent. With a 63-litre tank that gives the car a theoretical range of close to 800km. Mind you, we were getting 8.3 and it was nearly empty with 454km on the trip meter.

IS IT 'GREEN'?
Yes again. Produces 186g C02/km. The Green Car Guide gives it an air pollution rating of 8.5 out of 10.

IS IT SAFE?
From all accounts. We're still waiting for it to be crash tested here, but in the States it scored a full five stars. Comes standard with six airbags, electronic traction and stability control and anti-lock brakes with brake force distribution.

IS IT COMFORTABLE?
Thumbs up. Nothing like heated seats to get you through cold winter mornings. Power adjust driver's and passenger seat, with 10-way adjust for the driver and 4-way for the front passenger (plus driver's lumbar adjustment too).

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Sportier than your average family bus. The four cylinder engine needs and likes to be revved and the shortish-throw manual falls easily to hand and is a snack to use. We found the steering a little heavy initially. It's the first Suzuki with steering wheel reach adjustment, but either our legs are too long or our arms are too short, because finding the ideal position eluded us.

IS IT VALUE FOR MONEY?
Competitively priced. Well equipped. Feels like a quality job. Full size alloy spare. XLS gets a 425 watt sound system with a USB port for music devices like iPods. Standard gear leather and twin-zone air, along with auto everything, front and rear parking sensors, trip computer with distance to empty, a sunroof, foglights, push-button start and cruise control.

WOULD WE BUY ONE?
It would certainly be high on our list of contenders if we were in the market for a mid-sized Korean/Japanese car. Being a brand newie, it also has early adopter appeal.