Yesterday, I represented AllSmallCars.com at the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience (RMDE) outside of sunny Denver, Colorado. This was the inaugural year for the event and was put on by the Rock Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP). The goal was to bring manufacturers to Colorado where we could give them an opportunity to show off their cars on our newest road track, High Plains Raceway (HPR), and for some their cars at the off-road experience at Colorado Off Road Experience (CORE). On of the two dozen or so cars brought to the event was the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. This Suzuki had a twist—a turbocharger.

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Concept

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Concept

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Concept

Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Concept

Yes, this particular Kizashi is a pre-production vehicle that Suzuki is testing for market reaction. Our reaction—this is one hot car that could come at a very affordable price. The Suzuki Kizashi Turbo is the basic 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that has been modified to have a 16G turbocharger that cranks out around 290 horsepower. For those of you keeping score that is more than the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 we reported on last month. The car has a host of custom pieces that won’t be found on other Kizashi models in the showroom—at least not yet. Those upgrades include custom fuel management, high flow intercooler, blow-off valve, a Velocity air intake, Extreme spray injectors, custom manifolds and an impressive sounding exhaust system. In fact, I could hear it as I drove beside it on the highway in a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

On the racetrack, the Suzuki Kizashi Turbo is quite the capable track vehicle. It has impressive acceleration, good pedal position, fantastic turn in and phenomenal braking with the upgraded suspension and brake pads. The only thing we wished for was a crisper feel in the manual shift action. The Kizashi Turbo felt like an affordable version of the 2010 Lexus IS F (also on the track yesterday) and if Suzuki built it we figure it would come in right around the $25K price tag. The question is will they build it? In talking to the Suzuki representative at the event, Suzuki is testing the market to see if there is interest for a car with this type of performance in this car category. It certainly could change the mostly unknown image of the Suzuki car brand (in the U.S.) into a company that produces well-outfitted commuter cars inline with Hyundai and Kia and has a exciting performance edition as well.

Bottom line—We give it two thumbs up for being tight on the track and tight (potentially) on the bottom line. So if you want a 290 hp manual transmission four door that is affordable, capable of track days and grocery getting, let Suzuki know.