Suzuki Grand Vitara 2009

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

A preview on Suzuki Grand Vitara 2009

Suzuki Grand Vitara 2008

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Short video overview of Suzuki Grand Vitara’s 2008 features

Futuristic Japanese cars

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Tokyo Auto Show displays some of Japan’s car concepts

Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak hillclimb

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

With almost 1000hp, Monster’s Escudo battles its way up Pikes Peak, followed by an insane hillclimb in France, then an unbelievable glacial moraine crash in Iceland

Suzuki and VW to start joint projects in January

December 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki VW logo

Newlyweds Volkswagen and Suzuki won’t waste anytime in getting started on their new joint projects. At the recent launch of the new Suzuki Alto, CEO Osama Suzuki told reporters that the teamed up automakers will begin “Actual, detailed execution — with our people going there and their people coming here… after January.”

That first project will be a new small car that will be sold in developing countries, which could be outsourced from Suzuki’s Indian Maruti operations and is rumored to cost between $4,300 and $5,400 USD.

Volkswagen has much less experience in building ultra-small cars than Suzuki, which is a leader in Japan’s tiny Kei car class, and an expert at making money with low pricing.

Volkswagen acquires 19.9% stake in Suzuki

December 10th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki VW logo

Volkswagen has just announced that it has “reached a common understanding to establish a close longterm strategic partnership” with Suzuki Motor Corporation. Rumours of such a match-up have been circulating for some months. Now, according to an official statement, VW will purchase 19.9 percent of Suzuki’s issued shares. In payback Suzuki will use up to half of the cash received from VW to buy a smaller stake in the Wolfsburg company.

Although the two automakers compete in some segments, there is a belief that they can compliment each other. VW has expertise in diesel technology and hybrid systems while Suzuki is quite strong in the fast-emerging Indian marketplace. Suzuki has a few tricks and in addition to cars and motorcycles builds marine transportation solutions and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

If the authorities approve the transaction, this new connection would create the world’s largest car manufacturing alliance. VW and Suzuki would surpass Toyota in terms of sales.

Consolidation seems to be the key word in the automotive industry again. Recently French company PSA Peugeot Citroën announced it was entering into a cooperative agreement with Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors. Italy’s Fiat is now playing boss at Chrysler LLC while Nissan and Renault have been tight for about a decade now. Who knows what’s next, possibly a three-way partnership?

Suzuki Swift hybrid plug-in concept

October 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki Swift hybrid fq

The popular Suzuki Swift has been a big player in new car sales here in NZ and now it’s taking on a new form. Suzuki has just announced that it will introduce a plug-in series hybrid version of the Swift at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, with an interesting powertrain.

The model, which is just a concept at this point, uses a 660 cc engine, probably sourced from a Japanese kei car. The engine charges the lithium-ion batteries, which are placed between the front seats. The batteries power a 54 kW motor that moves the front wheels.

More will be revealed about the Suzuki Swift hybrid at the Tokyo Motor Show, check back for updates.

New Suzuki Alto – cheapest new car in NZ

September 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki Alt fqr

Suzuki’s all-new five-door Alto hatchback has arrived on the twentieth anniversary of the launching of the original version.

The latest seventh generation Alto is a far cry from the 1979 Alto SS80 which was assembled at the Suzuki plant in Wanganui.

The newest rendition is larger, stronger and higher specified, yet uses less fuel and boasts lower emission levels. It is the only car in its class with six air bags as standard. There is clear lineage, however, between the first generation Alto and the European inspired 2009 model.

Both are front wheel driven and are powered by three-cylinder engines, although the new Alto has a larger capacity motor producing more power.

In 5-speed manual gearbox form, the stylish Alto has a recommended retail price of $16,990, including on road costs, while the four-stage automatic transmission version is $18,500.

“Alto will redefine the term ‘value motoring’ with the lowest new car price currently available,” said Gary Collins, Automobile Sales Manager for Suzuki New Zealand Ltd. “Not only is the Suzuki $1,000 less than its nearest rival, it has two more air bags, superior fuel economy and far lower emissions,”

Aerodynamic styling translates into low wind noise and efficient operation while engine noise is well suppressed for enhanced occupant comfort.

The distinctive body shape majors on a smooth front end, large windscreen and bold headlamp design, elements that contribute to a low drag coefficient of 0.30.

New Alto is the fifth and smallest member of the Suzuki world strategic models and, with an overall length of 3,500mm, is only marginally smaller than the top-selling Suzuki Swift.

The concept was to build an eco friendly car with low CO2 emissions, low fuel consumption and lightness through downsizing.

At the same time, the car had to be smartly designed and embody a roomy, comfortable cabin with a good level of appointment.

One specification level is available in New Zealand in a package that includes power steering, electric operation for the front windows, air conditioning with pollen filter, digital clock, six air bags, front seat belt pretensioners, anti lock braking with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) function and brake assist function and full size spare wheel and tyre.

The Alto comes with halogen multi-reflector headlights, two-speed wipers with intermittent action, two trip meters and a rear window wiper and washer. A stereo audio tuner with compact disc/MP3 and auxiliary input socket for MP3 player is also standard.

In manual gearbox form, the car has a curb weight of 855 kg, rising to 880 kg for the automatic. The Alto scored four stars in recent ANCAP safety ratings.

There are twin front air bags, plus side and curtain air bags, energy absorbing trim and a head impact protection pad.  The brake pedal is designed to protect the foot in the event of an accident, and the car also includes ISO FIX child seat restraints, child-proof rear door locks, side impact beams front and rear and an engine immobiliser.

Alto’s new K10B double overhead camshaft engine is the result of three years’ development. This multi-point fuel injected three-cylinder unit has four valves per cylinder with an offset crankshaft offering better volumetric efficiency.

With a piston displacement of 996 cm3, the K10B develops 50 kW of power at 6,000 rpm and 90 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm.

In the official combined fuel cycle test, the Alto manual averages 4.8 litres/100 km (58.85 miles per gallon), while the automatic versions achieves 5.5 litres/100 km (51.36 miles per gallon).

With automatic transmission, the Alto has a top speed of 150 km/h, rising to 154 km/h for the manual gearbox variant. Ventilated disc brakes are fitted up front with rear drums, and the 14-inch diameter steel wheels are fitted with 155/65R tyres. Front suspension is by MacPherson struts and coil springs, with a highly rigid suspension frame complemented by further strengthening in the strut mounting areas for better handling.

The rear suspension comprises Suzuki’s proprietary three-link rigid axle design which has been tuned for optimum handling and stability in extensive testing on European roads.

Alto sits on a 2,360 mm wheelbase, is 1,470 mm high, a trim 1,600 mm wide, and has 150 mm ground clearance.