Suzuki Malaysia Automobile (SMA) has finally given the Suzuki Kizashi an official launch – the D-segment sedan was unveiled at the roof of Lot 10 this morning. Only one drivetrain is available here – a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with 176 hp (131 kW) and 230 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

This J24B unit is paired to a CVT gearbox with six ratios, controlled by paddle shifters. 0-100 km/h is done in 8.8 seconds and top speed is 205 km/h. We’re pleasantly surprised to see performance figures on the brochure, something not very common these days. Fitting, since the Kizashi is positioned as a sports entrant, and looks the part.

Fully imported from Japan, the Kizashi is new ground for Suzuki, both in price and type of car. Known as a small car expert, the Kizashi (translates roughly to “something great is coming” in Japanese) sees Suzuki trying its luck in a segment dominated by Japanese heavyweights and a new breed of Euro sedans coming in from VW, Peugeot and Ford. Let’s not forget that the Koreans are very much in the game, too.

However, the Kizashi is rather unique, because it’s smaller bodied compared to a Camry or Accord. The car’s length and width of 4,650 mm and 1,820 mm is only 110 mm and 65 mm more than that of a Honda Civic, and the Suzuki’s 2,700 mm wheelbase is identical to the C-segment Honda’s. So it’s clearly not for those who want the most space for money, but the proportions lend the Kizashi a compact and muscular appearance, like a proper sports sedan.

Two trim levels are sold by SMA, the SDLX and Sport. The well equipped SDLX is priced at RM147,888 and it comes with six airbags, traction control, ESP, leather seats (from Japan, not locally fitted), electric seats (10-way for driver with three memory settings), auto cruise, keyless entry and push start, ABS, EBD, BA and Hill Assist.

There’s more. Stereo with steering controls and USB, front/rear parking sensors, auto folding side mirrors, auto dimming rear view mirror, auto leveling HID headlamps with washer and 17-inch alloys are all standard on the cheaper Kizashi. Quite a list.

The Sport, which looks more menacing, is priced at RM158,188 OTR with insurance. As seen on the white car here, it adds on 18-inch rims in a sportier design, sports suspension that lowers ride height by 10 mm, a different front bumper and chrome highlights around the car. Inside, Sport trim gives you a sport leather gear knob and silver stitching on the seats and gearshift/handbrake boot.

Here’s an interesting fact. The headlights of the Kizashi are from Malaysia! A supplier from Penang supplies the headlights to Suzuki Japan, which fits it on every Kizashi it makes.

Actually, SMA worked hard to get prices down to the current level, which is very decent for a fully-loaded 2.4L CBU import from Japan. On a different note, SMA bosses let slip that the new Swift will be assembled at DRB-Hicom’s Pekan plant, but it won’t start so soon, perhaps a year from now.