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Future models - Suzuki - iM-4

Geneva show: Suzuki uncovers hybrid SUV concept

4 more: The Suzuki iM-4 concept is underpinned by a new platform and is powered by the new SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) mild-hybrid system.

Suzuki's hybrid-powered iM-4 SUV concept previews possible new crossover

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Suzuki logo4 Mar 2015

SUZUKI previewed a potential new compact SUV in the form of the iM-4 concept that might one day sit between the forthcoming Vitara and the ageing Jimny off-roader.

Revealed at Geneva motor show, the mini SUV promises some off-road capability with an all-wheel drive system, while the Japanese car-maker says it will produce “outstanding” fuel economy thanks to a new mild-hybrid powertrain.

Suzuki says a media release that the iM-4 provides a glimpse at a possible future production soft-roader 4 incorporating the company's four-wheel drive know-how.

“The iM-4 is our vision for a new compact 4x4 that embodies that DNA while bristling with the latest technology,” the company said. “Its innovativeness, uniqueness and Suzuki’s DNA make it the iconic mini 4x4.” At 3693mm long, 1709mm wide and 1566mm tall, the compact iM-4 is 2mm shorter, 109 wider and 139mm lower than the Jimny.

The dimensions mean the iM-4 could slot into the Australian Suzuki line-up below the S-Cross and the Vitara compact SUV that is set to arrive in showrooms in the third quarter of the year, should it be given the green light for production.

Direct competitors are few for the little high-riding hatch, but slightly larger crossovers such as Ford's EcoSport and the Nissan Juke are likely contenders.

Using the theme “Shape the Inspiration”, Suzuki designed the boxy, almost kei-car-like crossover that it says is designed to be “simple yet iconic, pure yet lovable and innovative yet retro”.

The iM-4 features super-short front and rear overhangs, an almost bulging, rounded roof the company describes as “helmet-like”, and sharp rear-window cut-offs with blacked-out A- and B-pillars.

Up front is a clamshell bonnet and “sunglass-like” grille and headlight design, while the lower air intakes and light cluster take a minimalist approach.

Big wheel arches, 18-inch wheels with a five trapezoid design and side body mouldings emphasise its 4x4 capability, while the Innocent White colour scheme gives the iM-4 a clean, modern look.

The crossover concept is based on a new-generation platform designed to reduce weight and increase rigidity thanks to a redesign of the underbody's structure.

The Japanese car-maker says the new platform aids fuel efficiency, handling, stability and safety as well as noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

Suzuki says it will streamline future model development by consolidating its platforms down from the existing four to three modular platforms, which will enable the company to introduce new models “in a more efficient way that can be tailored to fast-changing market demand”.

The new SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) mild-hybrid system matches a 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries.

An integrated starter-generator incorporated into the system provides both power assistance and power regeneration. Suzuki says this SHVS system improves fuel efficiency while keeping costs and weight down.

No fuel or performance figures were released.

If the iM-4 makes it to production, it would be one of few hybrid-powered sub-compact SUVs available. Honda's HR-V is offered in hybrid guise in Japan.

Suzuki Australia general manager Andrew Moore told GoAuto in July last year that the car-maker was gearing up for a model onslaught, starting with the Alto-replacing Celerio this month, followed by the return of the Vitara in quarter three.

“Those two cars are the first in a barrage of new product, including at least one or two new Suzuki models every year for the next five years,” he said.

The iM-4 was shown at the Geneva motor show alongside the iK-2 small hatch concept (see separate story).

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