Thursday, August 30, 2012

Affordable All-Wheel Drive Showdown: 2012 Suzuki Kizashi GTS AWD vs. 2012 Subaru Impreza AWD

Suzuki Kizashi GTS AWD versus Subaru Impreza AWD

All-Wheel Drive Systems and Safety     vs.   Pricing, Value and Features 


When anyone thinks they need an affordable and safe all-wheel drive family car they inevitably jump to the conclusion that their only choice is to buy a Subaru. Now, everyone knows that the Snow Belt is downright enamored with Subaru vehicles as their all the time, any weather toughness has been proven over decades spent not skidding across harshly salted asphalt. As such, Subaru has countered sales downturns in the auto industry in recent years which proved that it must have a very loyal and ever expanding group of fans.
But there must be some all-weather alternative that is as affordable as the relatively basic 2012 Impreza sedan and hatchback, right? Or at least something that offers buyers a sensible and viable option to the somewhat off-beat styling sensibility that has been a Subaru brand hallmark for years. Honestly, our road test 2012 Subaru Impreza was the snappier looking hatchback variant but it still managed to look reptilian or insect-like the whole time it was in our care.
As with most Subaru vehicles (at least the non-turbo models), the 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium that we drove for a week was the definition of the word sensible with its impressive 22.5 cubic feet of cargo in the cargo hold. That figure grows to an SUV rivaling 52.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.
The Impreza also boasted quite impressive EPA fuel economy estimates of 25 city/33 highway which is notable because vehicles that constantly turn four driven wheels tend to guzzle gas. So what kind of car can compete with the 2012 Impreza’s all-around excellence and affordability? Allow us to introduce you to the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi GTS i-AWD (intelligent all-wheel drive) sport sedan. If you are wondering why the Suzuki has “intelligent all-wheel drive” we promise to explain that in greater detail shortly.
But first, let’s have a look at how well these two very affordable all-wheel drive vehicles handle life in the real world even on days when it isn’t raining, hailing or snowing. The sun does come out even in places like Wisconsin and Alaska so you need to be prepared to have a car you absolutely love on those days as well.

Exterior and Interior Design

Now call us shallow if you want for judging a book by its cover but the Subaru just screams “pocket protector wearing dork” from every angle. The 2012 Kizashi GTS, on the other hand, had aggressive body spoilers, a lower ride height and a set of sweet looking alloys to make this four door sedan seem faster and sportier than it truly is. The Suzuki also isn’t too large or too small much like a VW Jetta.
The 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium is definitely not the fanciest trim level available so the interior felt rather spare and unimaginative with absolutely no areas of visual design interest. The Impreza also didn’t really impress by offering plenty of convenient storage spots and cubbies for smart phones, iPods, sunglasses or any of your other junk for that matter. It’s all very well assembled but the Impreza’s interior does not “imprez.”
Now, compared to the Subaru interior, the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi’s cabin appeared to have been endowed with and overabundance of interesting design flourishes like the unique dashboard textures that flow out into the wavy upholstery that moves along the inner door trims. The design of the climate and audio controls in the center stack appears as inspired a design as the Sydney Opera House next to the Impreza’s simple style which in our eyes was so humble that it bordered on being Amish.
The Kizashi boasts a decent sized 13.3 cubic foot trunk and rear seat passengers in both vehicles will be comfortable as long as you don’t try to go on a 12 hour road trip with five people aboard. Four passengers will be much, much happier. Overall, while the Kizashi does not measure up to the Subaru in the cargo hauling stakes but we happen to prefer automobiles that we aren’t embarrassed to be seen in. Therefore it is on those grounds that the 2012 Subaru Impreza hatch loses this round. (Winner: 2012 Suzuki Kizashi GTS AWD)

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*Great article from Autobytel.

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