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Suzuki confirms Kizashi hybrid

Signed and sealed: Suzuki's Kizashi sedan will get a hybrid alternative drivetrain apparently developed with GM.

Hybrid version of Suzuki’s upcoming medium sedan confirmed for US but not Oz – yet

24 Aug 2009

SUZUKI has confirmed it will release a petrol-electric hybrid version of its upcoming Kizashi sedan in the US in 2011, but there is no word on whether it will become available in right-hand drive for Australia, where it would be a direct rival for next February’s locally-built Toyota Camry Hybrid.

The existence of the petrol-electric Kizashi mid-sizer, which reportedly will employ a hybrid drive system developed with General Motors, was revealed by Japanese publication Nikkei Business Daily, and according to Automotive News was confirmed for the US by American Suzuki Motor Corp spokesman Jeff Holland.

The Kizashi will be Suzuki’s largest ever passenger car and first medium sedan when it goes on sale in Australia during the second quarter of next year, powered by a 2.4-litre engine that drives its front wheels via a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. An all-wheel drive option will also be available in the US.

30 center image Suzuki previously confirmed a hybrid version was under development, but has put development of a 3.6-litre V6-powered version on the backburner due to the global financial crisis. Suzuki product planners are reported to be sceptical of the V6’s ability to be profitable, despite the fact V6 versions account for 30 per cent of rival mid-size sedan sales in the US.

While a diesel-powered Kizashi is also understood to be under development, confirmation of a hybrid version could be another blow for the chances of a V6-engined Kizashi emerging.

However, Suzuki Australia spokesman Andrew Ellis said the Japanese brand’s first petrol-electric model is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

“Suzuki has talked about alternative fuels for the Kizashi right from the start,” he said. “We are yet to lock in final specifications for the standard Kizashi in Australia, but it’s something we’d have to consider.

“There is no confirmation of a hybrid Kizashi from Suzuki, but it could become one of the options available to us.”

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