Suzuki Vitara Hybrid: The Compulsory Compromise

Suzuki has found a hybridization solution for its new Vitara.

Big revolution under the hood of the Vitara since Suzuki equips it with a new single engine supported by a 48V battery for a light hybridization. Its price starts at € 22,640.

By the force of the constraints imposed by the legislator, the automobile manufacturers are obliged to find parades, sometimes in the urgency, to erase the penalties of the penalty and to prolong the commercial life of a sufficiently recent vehicle and knowing a certain success near the public. This is the case of the Vitara whose 4th generation, appeared in 2015 and restyled in 2018, still had good days ahead. Suzuki found the solution of a hybridization, without a fundamental transformation of a car, inaugurated on the Baleno in 2016. This is a technology specific to the Japanese brand which combines the thermal block with a compact and light system, weighing no more than 15 kg, composed of an alternator-starter and an auxiliary battery at 8 Ah lithium-ion battery located under the driver’s seat for an additional € 1,500.

More torque, less consumption

The latter does not infringe on the habitability and its power of 48V, allowing to support as often as possible the thermal, requires the presence of a converter since the car is in 12V. The alternator-starter, with a power of 10 kW, interposed between the engine and the gearbox, assists the engine only in the starting phases or at low speed, bringing it up to 50 Nm of additional torque by relieving its effort and therefore its consumption. Its effectiveness is mainly felt in the city. Each slowdown or braking phase results in energy recovery and rapid recharging of the two batteries. The system also serves as a stop/start and switches off automatically when the speed drops below 15 km / h, on condition that the clutch is released and shifted to neutral.

A simplified range

Between the two large dials on the dashboard of the Suzuki Vitara, the color screen indicates the different operating phases of the hybrid engine.
Between the two large dials on the dashboard of the Suzuki Vitara, the colour screen indicates the different operating phases of the hybrid engine. (© Suzuki)

At the same time, Suzuki simplified the Vitara range by providing it with a single petrol engine, retaining the same block of 4 cylinders of 1,373 cm 3 but the 110 hp and 140 hp make way for a 129 hp. The Vitara always offers the choice between a front or all-wheel drive with an additional € 2,000 while the 6-speed automatic transmission is only available as an option (€ 1,600) on the thermal versions. It will arrive at the end of the year on the Hybrid versions.

Suzuki also took advantage of the moment to equip the Vitara with new LED headlamps and a more expressive signature of the front and rear daytime running lights. Between the two large dashboard dials, the colour screen acting as a computer indicates, in addition, the different operating phases of the hybrid engine.

Hybrid condemns thermal

The financial interest of this light hybridization is obvious since the Vitara escapes the penalty, except in 4 × 4 version, but the price of € 125 remains paltry compared to the 4 × 4 thermal which strikes its price of € 1,700, so more than the supplement requested for hybridization. This brings an occasional power exceeding 150 hp and more flexibility in the operation of the mechanics, penalized by gear ratios that are far too long … the consequence of a penalty that is still just as poorly understood.

The Vitara Hybrid has the same performance as the ex Vitara S with 140 hp and the same good handling on the road, being more agile in traction than in 4 × 4. Its direction deserves to be more direct, almost 3 turns of the steering wheel from stop to stop.

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