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Suzuki Kizashi Touring vs VW Jetta 118


Suzuki Kizashi Touring and VW Jetta 118 go head-to-head in this comparative review.

value

Suzuki Kizashi Touring

$32,490

The VW Jetta costs $2000 more but has parking sensors, Bluetooth and auto headlights and wipers. That's squares things up pretty well. It also less fuel but needs 95RON against the 91RON in the Suzuki. That'll cost about $4.40 extra a tank, based on an eight-cent price difference - but the Kizashi does 800km on its 63 litre tank against 880km on a full 55-litre tank in the VW.

VW Jetta 118

$30,490

The Kizashi is Suzuki's first move into the mid-sized market and the company was smart enough to juice it up with plenty of standard features. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a full-size alloy spare wheel and seven-speaker sound system are standard. There's no Bluetooth phone connectivity though - that's a $399 (plus fitment) option on the Touring.

technology

Suzuki Kizashi Touring

The 1.4-litre twincharge engine is a gem. Lag is barely noticeable and 240Nm of torque is spread across most of the rev range. Fuel use is 6.2 litres/100km. The Jetta now rides on its own platform instead of sharing a chassis with the Golf and is a better car for it. The seven-speed DSG has the signature hesitation before taking off but the crisp shifts up or down once underway make it worth adjusting your driving style for.

VW Jetta 118

It is the way the Kizashi has been built, rather than any special software, that makes this car a standout drive. The chassis is tighter than a forensic accountant and the interior fit is just a good. The continuously variable transmission is effective but not excellent and you can't help wondering what a seven-speed automated manual transmission would do to the responsiveness.

design

Suzuki Kizashi Touring

The Jetta is a VW so, depending on your view, it's either a clean design with no major detailing to detract from the overall shape - or a bland, androgynous look that could be mistaken for a Passat by non-motoring types. The boot is huge and rear legroom is adequate despite growing by 67mm over the prevous model.

VW Jetta 118

Suzuki first crack at a mid-sized sedan looks classy. It is also a contrast to the VW - curves against planes - and is a sportier vehicle from any view. That curved boot and stump tail don't help luggage capacity, though - at 461 litres, it concedes 50 litres to the Jetta. The sporty theme carries over inside where the buttons are backlit with red light.

safety

Suzuki Kizashi Touring

The Jetta's safety credentials are up there. ANCAP hasn't tested the new car yet, but the old one was a five-star rating. A new system of sensors gauge crash severity and location by sound to improve the timing of the airbag deployment. Smart, but I don't want to test it.

VW Jetta 118

Solid driving dynamics are the first level of reassurance in the Kizashi, backed by hefty brakes and quality rubber. The car has earned a five-star safety rating from ANCAP and comes with all the electronic nannies needed to keep cars on the road in the absence of driver training.

driving

Suzuki Kizashi Touring

The Jetta is the quiet kid who gets lost in class photos and kicks everyone's butts on the sports field. The seven-speed DSG makes it the quickest auto in this class, easily accounting for everything from the Toyota Camry to the Mazda6. The suspension soaks up small bumps and it tracks true over the bigger corrugations.

VW Jetta 118

The Kizashi earns the same marks as the Jetta for different reasons. It handles and rides the ruts better and the steering is more precise but it doesn't have the responsiveness of the Jetta's engine. Press hard to keep up and the CVT drone intrudes into the cabin but at normal throttle inputs the interior is normal-conservation quiet.

Verdict

Suzuki Kizashi Touring

VW Jetta 118

The Jetta wins by TKO. It comes down to the how you judge your car - if the verdict is for a sporty looking and handling sedan, go the Suzuki; while the VW's the pick for a refined small car with class-leading fuel efficiency. Buyers are backing the Kizashi so far this year with 1330 sales to the VW's 1068.