The Suzuki Vitara Hybrid has come up trumps in the quest for thrifty motoring in a recent independent New Zealand fuel economy test.
Auckland motoring journalist Donn Anderson, a veteran of fuel economy challenges for more than three decades, has found the manual transmission Vitara JX Hybrid BoosterJet Turbo can not only match the official combined fuel consumption figures for the model, but actually beat them.
In a mixed drive that included heavy traffic conditions on Auckland roads, the Vitara Hybrid averaged 5.0 litres/100 km - exactly the same as the factory figure. This is a 16% improvement compared to the normally aspirated 1.6 litre Vitara JLX manual and a better economy result than the Vitara Hybrid automatic.
Further evaluation in the Vitara Hybrid manual, predominantly over rural highways and motorways, produced an even thriftier result with a cost-saving consumption figure of 4.3 litres/100 km. Anderson pointed out that manual gearbox versions of mild petrol/electric hybrid cars are rare, and they can offer significant advantages over automatic transmission equivalents when it comes to saving fuel.
At the same time the Suzuki Hybrid with its 1.4-litre BoosterJet engine paired with a 48-volt lithium-ion battery and an electric motor emits 25.8% lower CO2 emissions than the 1.6 JX Vitara manual. In the 3P-WLTP test, which measures fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and range, the Hybrid averages a low 112 grams/km.
There are worthwhile benefits with the Hybrid manual, especially for motorists who do a lot of open road driving, according to Anderson. “The gearing is relatively high, with the turbocharged motor turning at little more than 2,000 revs per minute in sixth gear at 100 km/h and around 2,300 rpm in fifth gear at the same speed,” he said. “The Hybrid’s power train, with its integrated starter generator (ISG) working alongside the regular motor, is 10% more powerful than the 1.6 Vitara.
“The 235 Nm of torque between 2,000 and 3,000 revs per minute for the Hybrid is the highest of any Vitara variant and a huge 50% increase over the 156 Nm at 4,400 revs of the 1.6 Vitara. This is particularly noticeable on the open road when the Suzuki offers generous amount of performance and response. Back in urban and city driving and the automatic stop/start system works seamlessly with imperceptible restarting.”
When the driver decelerates or brakes the extra battery powers the ISG and a discreet warning light illuminates within the instrument cluster, encouraging driving with greater anticipation.
Drivers embarking on a combination of town and country motoring could expect the Vitara’s 47 litre fuel tank to provide a range of around 900 kilometres, an excellent result for NZ’s most wanted SUV.
To find out more go to suzuki.co.nz/vitara-hybrid