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Compact Suzuki SUVs emerge as leaders in low emissions and New Zealand fuel tests

The Suzuki range of compact SUV models are winning the race for low emissions and frugal fuel economy following the results of independent testing on New Zealand roads.

Three Suzuki SUV hatchback models - the Vitara, S-Cross and Ignis - were each put to “real world” driving tests over North Island highways while also facing challenging weather conditions. Each car comfortably bettered official combined fuel cycles, proving careful driving can improve on claimed factory results.

In addition, the Suzukis achieved better economy than the claimed fuel consumption of some more costly hybrid models sold in the New Zealand market. The three SUVs evaluated in the tests also contribute towards Suzuki boasting the lowest emissions of the top ten brands sold locally.

The cars were picked at random and with no special preparation were taken on main highways between Auckland and Wellington. With two occupants and luggage, the journeys were dogged by high winds, heavy rain and snow on the Desert Road in central North Island.

Driving was shared between the father and son combination of Donn and Jamie Anderson who each have a reputation for returning class leading and record breaking fuel economy results in both New Zealand and Britain. In line with consumer preferences both the 1.4 litre S-Cross Prestige and 1.6 litre Vitara JLX come with six-stage automatic gearboxes while the Ignis was equipped with a continuously variable transmission.

With its generous 103 kW of power and 220 Nm of torque, Suzuki’s advanced BoosterJet direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine was a real benefit in the S-Cross Prestige. The S-Cross averaged 4.8 litres/100 kilometres (58.85 miles per gallon) over the journey of several hundred kilometres that included some urban motoring, road works and difficult weather.

This average fuel consumption was a remarkable 23 per cent improvement over the factory figure of 5.9 litres/100 km (47.88 mpg). Both drivers remarked on the car’s low mechanical noise at open road speeds and the high gearing that further enhanced the efficiency of the BoosterJet power plant.

The popular, similar weight Vitara, which is available with either a 1.6 litre variable valve technology, 86 kW, multipoint injection engine in the JLX version or the 1.4 litre turbocharged BoosterJet, also performed admirably in the tests. In less powerful JLX trim with two wheel drive, the Vitara averaged 5.0 litres/100 km (56.5 mpg) - a solid 24 per cent improvement on the 6.2 litres/100 km (45.56 mpg) factory figure.

Smallest SUV of the trio, the 1.2 litre, 66 kW Ignis also bettered factory results, returning a thrifty 4.34 litres/100 km (65.06 mpg). This was a 12.8 per cent improvement compared to the factory cycle of 4.9 litres/100 km (57.65 mpg).

The New Zealand results backed the findings of the Honest John website in the United Kingdom which said its readers and owners rated Suzuki being one of the most accurate in manufacturer claimed fuel economy results. Suzuki cars averaged 92 per cent versus an industry average of 83 per cent, and both the S-Cross and Ignis achieved better at 93 per cent.

Honest John has named the Ignis as its 2019 City Car of the Year, and said the car combined crossover character with affordable running costs and low purchase price. Buyers rated the quirky styling along with its ability to transport four adults in comfort.

Dan Powell, motoring editor of Honest John, said, “The Suzuki Ignis is a great city car, with its retro styling, low running costs and comfortable interior making it a popular choice with our readers. Great to drive and well-equipped as standard, the Ignis provides excellent value for money and is a worthy winner in the highly competitive city car class.