Over the Ice & Through the Snow

Suzuki Kizashi / Reviews / 2010 Suzuki Kizashi review 2 / Over the Ice & Through the Snow

A white Christmas gave me plenty of opportunities to test the all-wheel drive, and the Kizashi proved to be a competent snowmobile. Now, the Kizashi has a feature that's rare among cars with all-wheel drive: an on/off button. We typically define all-wheel drive as a four-wheel-drive system that requires no intervention from the driver and lacks a low range. Suzuki says leaving the car in front-wheel-drive mode saves gas, but most automakers have acknowledged the difference is minimal and opted for the security of a system that's always on. Rest assured that the mileage with all-wheel drive shut off isn't as high as it would be in a front-wheel-drive car, which is lighter.

What was useful about the Kizashi's feature was it showed me how good the traction control is with front-wheel drive. Some traction control is so conservative that it impedes your progress on loose snow; it cuts the fuel supply and clamps the brakes with such zeal that you end up creeping along making grunting sounds — not all of them from the car. The Kizashi allowed its drive wheels to spin just enough to build momentum but not to lose control.

The all-wheel drive adds a sure-footedness you simply can't get in any two-wheel-drive car. For snow and ice, it's most useful if you live in a hilly region and/or an urban area with inadequate snow removal, but it's not for anything beyond light off-pavement driving. Given the car's front-drive performance and the standard electronic stability system, most drivers can do without all-wheel drive, saving themselves some money and gas — and improving acceleration.

Two wintertime quirks included a windshield washer system that froze up when it wasn't all that cold outside and a passenger-side wiper that refused to conform to the windshield. These might be isolated incidents, but they're exactly the kind of wrinkles that can happen on an all-new model and require ironing out. It's something to keep an eye out for.

See also:

Horn
Horn Press the horn pad on the steering wheel to sound the horn. The horn will sound with the ignition switch in any position. ...

Foreword
Your SUZUKI multipurpose vehicle is designed and built to be capable of performing both on pavement and off road. You should therefore remember that your vehicle is distinctly different from ordin ...

Safety
As an all-new model, the Kizashi hasn't been crash-tested yet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It features eight airbags, including seat-mounted torso airbags for all outboard seats ...

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