Suzuki To Introduce Hybrid Kizashi In N America In 2011; Hybrid System Reportedly Co-Developed with GM
|The new Kizashi will have a hybrid option, reportedly in 2011. Click to enlarge.|
During its recent introduction of the new mid-size Kizashi sedan at the end of July, Suzuki said that it was developing a hybrid version to be added to the lineup in the future. Kizashi is slated to begin sales in North America later this year as a 2010 model; Suzuki introduced a concept Kizashi at the New York Auto Show in 2008.
The Nikkei reports that Suzuki will introduce the Kizashi sedan into the North American market in 2011, using a next-generation system co-developed with GM.
Suzuki and GM are developing a next-generation hybrid system that uses small but high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. The planned vehicle will get about 20% better mileage than comparable gasoline-driven cars.
The Japanese carmaker launched full-scale hybrid development work with GM several years ago, and the partners have continued with the efforts despite the US firm’s bankruptcy filing in June.
The Kizashi is an all-wheel-drive sport sedan, and Suzuki’s first mid-size sedan—a core vehicle for increasing its share in the North American market. Built at Suzuki’s new manufacturing facility in Sagara, Japan, the conventional 2010 Kizashi is equipped with a standard 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine. The engine employs both an aluminum block and cylinder heads, providing a lightweight installation; aluminum pistons with low tensile force rings deliver improved power and efficiency. Dropped-forged connecting rods, rotating on a forged steel crankshaft, contribute to the inline four’s durability, and a balancer shaft delivers improved engine balance and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
The inline four is connected to a six-speed manual transmission for heightened performance in the low gears, along with relaxed and economical cruising capability in the higher gears. Customers may opt for an available Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that delivers both the driving experience and fuel efficiency. Suzuki says that fuel economy will be competitive with either choice.
For the Japanese market, the Nikkei reported, Suzuki plans to sell a smaller hybrid equivalent to a 1.3-liter gasoline-powered car.