Suzuki 2013 Kizashi EcoCharge — New York show: Suzuki’s green, hot…

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Future Models — Suzuki 2013 Kizashi

New York show: Suzuki’s green, hot Kizashi concepts

Green is good: Suzuki’s Kizashi EcoCharge uses GM-developed hybrid technology to achieve fuel economy improvements of up to 25 per cent.

Suzuki unveils first hybrid and factory turbocharged versions of Kizashi mid-sizer

20 April 2011

AFTER promising earlier this month to reveal two new concepts in New York that “take the Kizashi to the next level”, Suzuki has taken the covers off a long-awaited petrol-electric hybrid version and a sizzling 220kW-plus factory turbocharged variant of its medium-sized sedan.

Demonstrating that its hybrid program is back in full swing after being derailed during the global financial crisis, Suzuki wheeled out the ‘Kizashi EcoCharge’ in the Big Apple and has confirmed to GoAuto that a decision on series production is expected once its American subsidiary finishes a test fleet program in the next couple of months.

Suzuki Australia spokesperson Andrew Ellis said “naturally, we will be investigating the possibility of, and feasibility for, a right-hand drive version” that would hand it a direct rival to Toyota’s Australian-built Camry Hybrid, but there is currently no firm timetable for an Australian launch.

Preliminary specifications for the Kizashi hybrid show that it uses a Suzuki-sourced J20B 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – as seen in the current SX4 – that produces 106kW of power at 6500rpm and 173Nm of torque at 4500rpm.

The combustion engine works in conjunction with a 15kW belt-driven, liquid-cooled induction motor/generator unit tied to a 115-volt air-cooled lithium-ion battery system, driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission and delivering a claimed 25 per cent improvement in highway fuel economy over the conventional-engined (2.4-litre) Kizashi sedan.

Left: Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge hybrid technology. Below: Kizashi Apex concept.

Specific economy and emissions figures are still to be released.

As per Suzuki’s 2009 announcement of the petrol-electric Kizashi program, the hybrid technology is sourced from General Motors and is about to enter service in the MY 2012 Buick LaCrosse, in which it combines with a 2.4-litre Ecotec engine.

This ‘eAssist’ system enables regenerative braking (with up to 15kW of electricity available to charge the battery), provides up to 11kW of electric power assistance during acceleration, includes an engine idle-stop function and ‘aggressive’ fuel cut-off during deceleration.

In a bid to further reduce consumption, the Kizashi EcoCharge is also fitted with low-rolling-resistance tyres and lightweight alloy wheels.

Other identifying markers on the hybrid include a unique luminescent white satin paint design with a subtle blue undercoat, ‘specialised’ headlight treatment and LED foglight illumination integrated into the front fascia.

Inside, the vehicle features hi-tech seat materials which, according to Suzuki, require 84 per cent less energy to produce and create 80 per cent fewer emissions than virgin material production.

American Suzuki Motor Corporation’s director of automotive marketing and product planning, Steve Younan, said the company was “continuing to study the virtues” of the hybrid technology used in Kizashi EcoCharge.

“Our basic concept was to attain substantial gains in fuel economy without the traditional sacrifices in drivability required with today’s mid-size hybrid sedans,” he said.

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“The proof of our concept is that the Kizashi EcoCharge has the capability to deliver a 25 per cent fuel economy gain in real-world driving through an electric charge to the powertrain system while still retaining the production Kizashi’s dynamic handling and braking advantages that make it a standout category performer.”

Meanwhile, the turbocharged Kizashi Apex concept car presented in New York adds fuel to the case for a force-fed factory version of the mid-size sedan, following a number of aftermarket kits that have built momentum for such a model and which is still on the cards as a dealer-fit accessory in Australia.

Suzuki Australia has confirmed to GoAuto that it has put on hold the case to offer a Kizashi Turbo here – but has definitely not shelved the program – after showing a high-performance concept at last year’s Australian International Motor Show that was developed in conjunction with Californian-based hot tuners Road Race Motorsports in the US.

That version featured an intercooled turbo with 7psi of boost that raised the 2.4-litre four-cylinder’s maximum output to 179kW and 330Nm – up from 131kW and 230Nm on the naturally aspirated version powering the entire range, including the flagship AWD Sport version.

“We think there is potential for a higher performance Kizashi and are hopeful the concept shown by the US adds more momentum for the possibility of a factory version,” Mr Ellis said. “However, at this stage there are no such plans.”

Designed to showcase the link between Suzuki’s automotive division and its successful motorcycle racing program, the Apex has arrived with the standard 2.4-litre engine plus a Garrett turbocharger, an air-to-liquid intercooler, electronic boost control and a specific engine control unit calibration “to provide outstanding drivability”.

As a result, peak power is said to climb to between 275hp and 300hp at 5800-6200rpm – equivalent to between 205kW and 224kW – with a maximum boost of 8.5psi.

The powertrain is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox – as seen on the Australian turbo concept, and in contrast to the CVT transmission on the current AWD Sport – while enthusiast drivers will also welcome the Yokohama S-Drive 245/35-section 19-inch tyres that use “advanced nanotechnology micro-fibre compound” to maximise traction in both wet and dry conditions.

Other points of interest include the GSX-R Superbike-inspired paintwork, lightweight performance alloy wheels (with a so-called ‘burnt-asphalt’ finish), Euro-spec Xenon headlights, LED-based foglights and, in the cabin, ‘laser blue’ Alcantara accents on the black leather sports seats and steering wheel.


“Our turbo-equipped concept leverages the already-exceptional Kizashi platform and infuses it with a substantial boost,” said Mr Younan.

“The Kizashi Apex concept will further elevate our flagship sedan in the US among enthusiasts who crave added power and performance.”

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