If you’re in the market for a sporty, mid-sized family car, these two propositions from Japan should be considered; the 2012 Honda Accord Euro Luxury and the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD.
They both promise ‘sporty’ dynamics while blending five-seat accommodation, reasonable performance and an upper-class character. Both feature a 2.4-litre four-cylinder, and both are available at $40K. So which one do you go for? Let’s start with the basics.
2012 Honda Accord Euro vs 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD: The Specs
|2012 HONDA ACCORD EURO||2012 SUZUKI KIZASHI SPORT AWD|
|Engine||2.4-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol||2.4-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol|
|Compression ratio||2354cc / 11:1||2393cc / 10.0:1|
|Bore x Stroke (mm)||87mm x 99mm||92mm x 90mm|
|Power||148kW@7000rpm, 230Nm@4200rpm-4400rpm (234Nm with six-speed manual)||131kW@6500rpm, 230Nm@4000rpm|
|Power to weight ratio||10.8: 1 (kg:kw)||12.21: 1 (kg:kw)|
|H x W x L||1440 x 1840 x 4740 (mm)||1470 x 1820 x 4650 (mm)|
|Drivetrain||five-speed automatic with Grade Logic Control and paddle shifters, front-wheel drive||CVT (continuous variable transmission) with manual control and paddle shifters, front-wheel drive|
|Brakes||F: ventilated discs, single-piston calipers|
R: discs, single-piston calipers
|F: ventilated discs, single-piston calipers|
R: discs, single-piston calipers
|Wheels||F and R: 18 x 8 inch, 235/45 R18||F and R: 18 x 8 inch, 235/45 R18|
|Fuel tank capacity||65 litres||63 litres|
|Fuel consumption||Tested combined average: 8.6L/100km|
Official combined average: 8.5L/100km
|Tested combined average: 12.8L/100km|
Official combined average: 8.4L/100km
|Performance||0-100km/h: 8.8 seconds (tested)||0-100km/h: 9.1 seconds (tested)|
|Priced from||$39,790 drive away (NSW price at time of writing)||$40,465 drive away (NSW price at time of writing)|
|Warranty||3 year / 100,000km||3 year / 100,000km|
2012 Honda Accord Euro vs 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD: The Package
2012 Honda Accord Euro
We’ll start with the 2012 Honda Accord Euro as it’s one of the most popular sub-$60K premium packages around. It’s just received a facelift as well, bringing slightly redesigned headlights (now with clear front indicator lenses) and surrounds, and some trimming changes. Our test car is the Accord Euro Luxury, which is smack bang in the middle of the range – the models are Base, Luxury, and Luxury Navigation.
The latest Accord Euro is powered by the same 2.4-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine as seen in the previous generation models, offering 148kW of power and 230Nm of torque (234Nm with the six-speed manual. Manual not available in Luxury Navigation form). The engine is backed up by a five-speed automatic transmission, which also features a neat gradient automatic downshift function called Grade Logic Control, which downshifts the gears for you when trailing the brake down a hill.
On the Luxury variant, standard features include machined and polished 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45 tyres, front fog lights, an electric sunroof, HID headlights with auto height control, and a leather interior with electric front seats.
2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD
The Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD is a bit of an underdog here. It’s not as popular as the Honda, with 1592 new Kizashis sold in 2011 compared with 4879 Honda Accord Euros. The Kizashi is steadily becoming more popular though, sales are up 6.9 per cent compared with 2010 figures, while Euro sales dropped 9.9 per cent (partly due to the Thailand floods inundating parts production facilities, slowing production of the Japan-made model).
It’s powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated twin-cam engine, producing 131kW of power and 230Nm of torque. The engine is the same in all Kizashi variants, including the Prestige CVT on which the Sport AWD is based. Due to the push-button all-wheel drive system, 70kg is added to the Kizashi’s weight (1600kg) over the Prestige.
The Sport AWD can be distinguished by the full bodykit with black mesh front grille, chrome trimmings down the sides of the doors, as well as double-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45 tyres. The Sport AWD also gets Bluetooth streaming, a sports steering wheel and silver-stitched leather sports seats over the Prestige.
Interior, Comfort & Equipment
(Honda above, Suzuki below)
The 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD comes with relatively puffy soft-leather-clad sports seats front and rear, with silver stitching providing a performance sportscar theme. All seats are comfortable and provide plenty of lateral support.
The 2012 Honda Accord Euro Luxury comes with slighty larger front chairs, offering equally supportive comfort. Out of the two, the Suzuki’s are perhaps a touch more suitable for smaller people. The Honda front seats also come with lumber bolsters that are quite obvious. These could become a tad intrusive for some.
In the Kizashi, front corner vision is limited due to the position of a thick A-pillar and large side mirrors. The limited view may not be a problem for taller types, but it’s something to be cautious of. In the Honda, forward and rearward vision is good.
Rear seat legroom is very similar in both cars, with the Suzuki providing perhaps a little more length-wise, and the Honda a little more width-wise. The Kizashi also comes with a poke-through access cavity which can be flipped down from the central fold-down armrest.
(Suzuki above, Honda below)
As far as quality goes, the Suzuki Kizashi’s soft-touch dash and centre fascia is a nice touch. Every button on the centre fascia is made with velvet-feel coating, even the toggles on the steering wheel for volume and cruise control are made of soft rubber.
The 2012 Honda Accord Euro Luxury interior is typical premium Honda; up-market, classy with stainless-steel-like finishes and even some fake dark marble trimmings. It’s all pleasant, offering a good modern office-style environment.
Again, if you’re after something youthful and sporty, you’ll find the Suzuki interior home, but if you’re more of a James Bond fan and like a bit of class, the Honda is likely to be more your thing.
Both cars come with an abundance of up-to-date gadgets and technology, with Bluetooth and USB compatibility, an electric sunroof and all the safety features to earn an ANCAP five-star rating. Neither car is fitted with satellite navigation, however, they both come with a kicking stereo system to keep in-car entertainment at bay.
The Honda gets a six-stacker premium system with MP3/WMA readability, and 10 speakers including a subwoofer mounted in the rear parcel shelf. The Suzuki comes with a Rockford Fosgate sound system incorporating 10 speakers and also a subwoofer mounted in the parcel shelf. Out of the two, the Honda system provides slightly more clarity and plenty of bass, but both were more than satisfying.
2012 Honda Accord Euro vs 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD: The Drive
Out on the road, the 2012 Honda Accord Euro Luxury and 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD are both quite capable and engaging sub-$60K sedans. They do possess different personalities though.
In the Honda, with its racing-car-like double wishbone front and rear suspension layout, the ride is supple, quiet and refined. Its eagerness to turn in during enthusiastic driving may not be completely conveyed through the steering wheel at first, though rest assured, the chassis is well up to the task.
On a quick mountain drive, the Honda feels confident and absorbs bumps, and corners, very well. It’s perhaps the most comfortable and relaxed out of the two, and in that respect, it’s the more refined option as far as ride and handling goes.
The Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD on the other hand, is a lot more energetic. The steering is noticeably quicker giving off a more sporty character than the Honda. It’s easily one of, if not the most enjoyable chassis in the class. It comes with MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link independent rear suspension.
As a bonus, the Kizashi Sport AWD has the all-wheel drive option on hand, selectable via a button on the dash – all other Kizashi variants are only front-wheel drive. In AWD mode the car feels pretty much the same on the road as it does in 2WD mode. Near the limit, however, the chassis feels more stable during cornering. And on the dirt or in wet conditions, you can feel even more stability and confidence. During highway cruising in the wet, aqua-planning is almost non-existent in AWD mode as well.
The drawback to having it in AWD mode is increased fuel consumption. The 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD has an official fuel consumption figure of 8.4L/100km. However, during our test we couldn’t get the dash readout below 12.8L/100km – even after driving on a freeway for around 150km, the consumption figure wouldn’t budge (in 2WD mode). Fuel consumption for the Honda is rated at 8.5L/100km, while during our test the dash readout hovered around the 8.6L/100km mark.
If you’re after a softer yet more comfortable ride, we say the Honda is the way to go. If you’re after something sporty and energetic, the Kizashi Sport AWD is hard to beat in this category, as far as handling goes anyway.
As for the engine performance, both vehicles are neck and neck. We timed 0-100km/h and the Honda slightly edges out in front; 8.8 seconds versus 9.1 seconds. Neither engine is anything to get too excited about though, but both offer reasonable performance for day-to-day driving. Up long steep hills, the Suzuki’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) does some mysterious and interesting things, and does a great job of utilising the engine’s torque on half-throttle.
The Honda’s five-speed is perhaps a little outdated, in terms of cog count, but it is a tad more refined during stop-start driving and going from reverse to drive. In the Suzuki, there is a noticeable delay and soft clunk between ‘D’ and ‘R’ selections, for example (this may be an issue isolated to our test car).
(Honda above, Suzuki below)
Unfortunately for the Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD, there is no six-speed manual option, which, we think, really does ruin the potential fun that could be had in this car (there are paddle shifters in both cars). The CVT still gets you around just fine and in good time, but during enthusiastic driving the transmission simply holds the engine at 4500-5500rpm, so you miss out on the joy of changing gears, or even hearing gears change.
We also feel the chassis could quite easily handle a decent hike in power. But hey, having an overall package that is more than capable is better than one that bites off more than it can chew.
Braking performance is strong in both cars, with the Suzuki, once again, offering a more engaging brake pedal feel to suit sporty driving. The Honda’s anchors perform just as well, they simply completed the task without making any sort of deal about it.
2012 Honda Accord Euro vs 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD: The Verdict
The 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD really does handle brilliantly. It feels solid on the road and provides that perfect balance of eagerness and confidence for driving enthusiasts. It’s fun, overall. Even if you take a trip to the shops, it feels like you’re going on a little joy ride.
The Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD is also presented in a modern, curvy exterior design with pumped wheel arches and cool exhaust outlets (although not actually connected up). It all carries along with the consistent theme of the car; a sporty medium-sized sedan.
The 2012 Honda Accord Euro Luxury is more conservative in styling but it might not age as bad as the more dramatic Suzuki. It’s confidence on the road and overall quality driving experience puts it up there with the best of them, too, while the i-VTEC engine lives up to its refined heritage providing decent poke and great fuel economy.
So to answer the original question; which do you go for? If you’re after something a little different and a bit on the exciting side, the 2012 Suzuki Kizashi Sport AWD is definitely the way to go. It offers everything a young family needs while providing futuristic hotrod looks and a great handling chassis, packed with features.
With the Honda Accord Euro now available from $34,990, it’s a pretty difficult proposition to beat. Refined, well-equipped, and backed with Honda reliability, it’s the way to go if you’re after a respectable car that even your grandmother will warm to.
As usual though, we recommend you test drive the rivals before making a final decision just to make sure. Other Japanese vehicles in this segment, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, are the Mazda6 and Subaru Liberty.
- Mazda6: 2.5L 125kW/226Nm, $31,450-$42,515
- Subaru Liberty: 2.5L-3.6L-2.5T 123kW-191kW-195kW/229Nm-350Nm, $33,990-$56,990
- Kia Optima: 2.4L 148kW/250Nm, $36,990
- Volkswagen Passat: 1.8T 118kW/250Nm, $38,990-$57,990
- Peugeot 508: 1.6T-2.2TD 115kW-150kW/240Nm-450Nm, $35,990-$52,990