Suzuki Claims Most Fuel-efficient 2WD Light Van

Aug 27, 2014
Takashi Takada, Nikkei Automotive Technology
A new model of the "Wagon R" is equipped with the mild hybrid system.
A new model of the "Wagon R" is equipped with the mild hybrid system.
[Click to enlarge image]

Suzuki Motor Corp partially improved the "Wagon R" and "Wagon R Stingray" light cars and released them Aug 25, 2014.

By combining the "mild hybrid system," which has a simple structure and can lower costs, and an improved engine, Suzuki achieved a fuel efficiency of 32.4km/L (approx 76.2mpg) under the JC08 test mode, which is higher than that of any other two-wheel-drive (2WD) light van (overall height: 1,550mm or higher).

The prices of the Wagon R and Wagon R Stingray are ¥1,078,920-1,493,640 (approx US$10,364-14,348, including consumption tax) and ¥1,461,240-1,716,120, respectively. The "Wagon R FZ," which comes with a hybrid system, has a price about ¥230,000 higher than that of the "Wagon R FX," which does not have a hybrid system. Suzuki aims to sell 16,000 units of the two types combined per month.

Conventional hybrid systems use a motor as a source of driving force. On the other hand, the mild hybrid system that Suzuki calls "S-ene Charge" uses a generator having a motor function or "ISG (integrated starter generator)" to help engine operation at the time of start-up and acceleration and to restart the engine that was turned off for a short period of time when the vehicle stopped.

The amount of energy regenerated by the S-ene Charge is 30% more than that regenerated by the "Ene Charge," which generates electricity at the time of deceleration and is used to power electrical equipment such as an air conditioner and audio equipment, because Suzuki improved the efficiency and output of the ISG. The increment is used to help engine operation, etc.

With regard to the engine, Suzuki made improvements to the "R06A Type," the engine of "Alto Eco," whose fuel efficiency is 35.0km/L under the JC08 test mode. Specifically, the company reduced friction resistance and improved combustion efficiency in the aim of preventing knocking caused by the increased compression ratio. Moreover, it made changes to the accessory belt drive system and used two belts: one for the ISG and the other for other devices.