Special Coverage

New York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – American Suzuki Motor Corp. lowers the ride height of its Kizashi midsize sedan by 0.4 ins. (10 mm) for a new Sport variant of the car, available in August with ’11 Kizashi GTS and SLS trims.

Suzuki details the car here tonight at an event on the eve of the New York auto show.

The Sport variant will retain the Kizashi’s existing engine, a 2.4L 4-cyl. making 180-185 hp, but will have unique exterior and interior styling flourishes.

Exterior changes for the Kizashi Sport, compared with existing models, include lower body-side molding with chrome accents, “a more muscular front fascia and lower grille,” trunk-mounted rear spoiler and 18-in. lightweight alloy wheels.

The interior has a unique steering wheel with perforated leather. Contrasting stitching can be found on the leather seats, shift knob and emergency brake lever of Kizashi Sports with a black leather interior.

Suzuki says the car’s seats and form-fitting cockpit also “speak to the Kizashi’s sporting intent.” Ward’s data shows Suzuki sold 416 Kizashis through February. The sedan went on sale last December, with 71 deliveries for the month.

American Suzuki’s Gene Brown, vice president-marketing, told Ward’s last month slow sales of the Kizashi were expected.

Suzuki launched the car at the end of the year so it would be eligible for awards, including the prestigious North American Car of the Year competition. But the auto maker did not intend for large volumes of Kizashis to arrive at dealerships until spring, Brown says.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com