Suzuki is a Japanese manufacturer of quality and affordable vehicles, in addition to their motorcycles and recreational vehicles. The brand has always offered a small product line-up and a limited number of dealerships, but the brand has always been relatively popular in Canada and especially in Quebec.
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The Suzuki Loom Works was founded in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1953 that their first motorcycle was introduced. After renaming itself the Suzuki Motor Company a year later, the brand developed and launched their first mass-production car in 1955, called the Suzulight 360cc.
In 1963, Suzuki started selling motorcycles in the U.S., and entered the Canadian market in 1973. Meanwhile, the Jimny 4x4, the Carry van and commercial truck, the Fronte, the Cervo as well as the Alto microcar appeared in Japan.
Suzuki Canada’s first automotive entry was the LJ80 in 1980, which became the Samurai sport-utility in 1985. The Forsa subcompact hatchback arrived in 1984, and five years later, the Sidekick SUV was introduced while the Swift replaced the Forsa. In 1989, total Suzuki sales reached the 10 million mark, and a joint venture with GM resulted in the opening of an assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.
The Esteem compact sedan and wagon were launched in 1995, followed by the X-90 two-passenger, T-topped SUV. In 1999, the Sidekick was redesigned while becoming the Vitara and Grand Vitara, and a year later, a 7-passenger version called the XL-7 appeared.
The Aerio sedan and wagon arrived in 2002, eventually replacing the Esteem. By mid-decade, Suzuki received the Daewoo-sourced Forenza compact sedan and wagon as well as the Reno hatchback in their U.S. line-up. The Verona mid-size sedan, also developed by Daewoo, was added in the U.S. and Canada as well, while the Swift+ was a Canadian exclusivity.
The Grand Vitara got a redesign in 2006, dropping the Vitara designation at the same time. A year later, the XL7 arrived in 7-passenger format using GM-designed components, while the SX4 compact hatchback with available all-wheel drive was launched. A sedan version of the SX4 appeared in 2008, replacing the Aerio. The Nissan-sourced Equator pickup was introduced in 2009.
Today, Suzuki’s product line-up consists of the Swift+ subcompact, the SX4 Hatchback and Sedan, the Grand Vitara compact SUV, the Kizashi mid-size sedan with available all-wheel drive and the Equator compact pickup.
The compact crossover market is growing at an almost alarming rate. What was once a niche product is now a must-have model in every lineup. Trendy isn't even the right word here because we feel like it's going to be more than just a passing fad, these functional well-proportioned vehicles are here to stay.
Upscale in appearance, packing available All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and offering a sporty and upscale alternative to machines like the Corolla, Civic and Focus, the Suzuki Kizashi was on sale to Canadians for only a few years before the brand ceased automotive business operations in Canada.
Usually, I come to a conclusion about a car fairly quickly. I like to rely on first impressions, first drives and overall "how do I feel right away" emotions. Of course, those can all evolve over the course of a week behind the wheel, but generally the initial reaction is the right one.
On September 10th, Suzuki will host the world premiere of the iV-4 concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany.
A decent ride, good driving position, and easy access to the rear seats make the 2013 Suzuki SX4 Sedan a practical and pleasant car to drive and live with. It also proves quite affordable in base trim.
The 2013 Suzuki Kizashi's biggest strength is arguably its standard intelligent all-wheel drive (iAWD) system, which provides confident grip in all conditions. Handling, styling, and interior fit and finish are other areas where this lesser-known Japanese sedan makes a name for itself.