Recently, I have seen 4 Kizashi's go down with engine failure and one of these had already had an engine change . The problem on all of these was overheating due to a simple drive belt coming apart. These cars range in miles between 115k to 172k . The battery light comes on and yet goes unnoticed due to , in my opinion , poor placement on the combination meter . It can be completely blocked by the steering wheel. The better position was given to that darn tpms light . Since the power steering is now run by a motor right on the power steering rack , that hint that you use to get that something is wrong from the extra steering effort needed like in older models is gone . This can be avoided by 1. Adjusting your seat and steering wheel so that your battery light can be noticed by the driver and they know to shut it down . 2. If your Kizashi, sx4 or Vitara 2.4 has more than 100k miles , install a new tensioner and belt . Oem tensioner 17540-54L00 or Febest 0790-GRV $45 shipped on Ebay. Belt Bando 6PK1795 on Ebay shipped $19 . If you want to check your tensioner before replacing , you can use this simple test . Turn engine by the crankshaft bolt counterclockwise 6 revolutions and check drive belt alignment on all pulleys. If it looks ok, then start engine , run for 30 sec. shut off and recheck . It's working for now, but I would suggest changing it as a preventative maintenance. I hope this saves someone from avoidable engine failure.
Thanks for the heads-up. It does however sound like it's not really an issue that the Kizashi is prone to but rather that it's harder to detect in modern vehicles like it. As you stated, many cars now have electronic power steering instead of a hydraulic pump powered by the serpentine belt. Hence, when the belt fails, it's harder to tell what's going on when the vehicle's at speed as it will continue to drive rather normally. Also, alternator failures are indicated by the red battery light which can be misleading as most would think it to mean low battery voltage when it actually indicates an alternator issue in that it's not charging the battery properly. The battery light would come on when driving if the belt was to fail as it would cease to power the alternator which would then not recharge the battery.
I think in the end, the main indicator of overheating people need to watch out for is the engine coolant gauge. Many people overlook that given it doesn't move after an engine reaches normal operating temperatures. Some people don't even know to immediately stop driving once the needle moves towards the Hot zone, indicating an overheating issue.
Also, I'm not surprised these issues happened with Kizashis with over 100K. Modern belts are expected to last about that long but after that, it's likely on borrowed time depending on condition. I occasionally check the condition of my belt to look for cracks, splitting, and uneven wear. I already have a brand new Bando replacement handy. At 100K, I plan to replace the belt regardless of condition as a broken belt is better avoided than dealt with at an inconvenient time. I'll test my tensioner then but I should mention that I believe very early Kizashis (early MY 2010?) were recalled for bad tensioners.