Not that I'm going to replace my Kizashi any time soon but for me, the next would be a CUV or an SUV (if they get more fuel efficient for commuting). I love sedan handling but really want more space and ground clearance for my passion for the outdoors. My girlfriend has a new Chevy Equinox work vehicle with AWD and even that has impressed me with how much more it caters to things like camping and off-pavement travel. The reality is that one doesn't need a body-on-frame 4x4 SUV for most outdoor activities and a CUV with AWD offers much more than a low sedan with 2WD in that regard. I often think of the ideal next vehicle but most have reasons keeping it from being perfect. Here's some of my considerations:
Mazda CX-30 and CX-5: Love the styling, stellar reliability, available low-oct turbos, and top praise by critics. Not digging the automatic-only trans but at least Mazda avoids CVTs. Of the CUVs, these are more road-oriented than others.
Subaru XV/Crosstrek: King of the soft-roaders for offroad ability. Recently got a 2.5 liter engine option. Available manual trans with AWD (a very rare combo these days in the industry). The bad: 2.5 only with CVT so the manual has the gutless 2.0 liter. Subaru loves CVTs... ugh. Their engines have been problematic for years now and I lost a lot of confidence in them. The EJ25 blew head gaskets way too easily and the newer FA engines brand new burned oil more than most engines with 200,000 miles. Subaru used to be a shining star in my sky but no more. Gotta be careful.
Subaru Outback/Forester: Eh, rather have a Crosstrek as these no longer offer manual trans. I just avoid CVTs.
Jeep Compass: Definitely top offroad ability for a CUV. Manual and AWD available. Styling is nice, like a baby GC. The bad is the reliability (FCA, lol), poor reviews, lame MPGs, and general low ranking among peers. May be had for a good deal?
Ford Bronco Sport: Brand new so not much info on it. Questionable reliability, especially since new Fords are plagued with issues historically. Overall, a serious contender in ability, putting Jeep and Subaru on notice.
Toyota RAV4: Many variations ranging from TRD to Prime. Digging the special versions but this vehicle is so so so ubiquitous. Hybrid and Prime would be nice to blend adventure with commuting, but the TRD and Adventure versions are still more fuel efficient than the Kizashi despite having torque-vectoring AWD. Automatic trans only on all.
Buick TourX: I personally like wagons unlike most Americans. This thing is like an Outback with a better powertrain (turbo engine and gears in the auto) but more for the paved road. I like the huge space and design. German-built. Buick ranks well in reliability. These were killed off recently due to poor sales, but maybe can be found for a good deal used. Automatic only but no CVT. Like the Kizashi, I like the rarity of this vehicle.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: I like the concept but it's really dated now. Mitsubishi is just so disappointing these days. There's a new version coming that's now apparently sharing platforms, engines, and tech with the new Nissan Rogue. The current Outlander PHEV tech is dated with newer models like the RAV4 Prime available now. Come on, Mitsu...
There are others of course, but I think about these ones for their attributes. The reality is that I'll keep my Kizashi a lot longer and when the time comes to replace it, the hope is that the perfect next vehicle is on the market.
2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport GTS 6MT (Black)