NEW YORK -- Suzuki, hoping to pump some mojo into the brand's slow-selling flagship, unveiled two concepts based on the Kizashi sport sedan.
Suzuki combined a 2.0-liter gasoline engine with a 15-kilowatt electric motor and 115-volt lithium ion battery pack to create the Kizashi EcoCharge concept. Suzuki says the gasoline-electric powertrain improves the Kizashi's highway fuel economy 25 percent. The EPA rates the 2011 Kizashi at 23 mpg city/30 highway, so a 25 percent increase in highway fuel economy would give the EcoCharge 37.5 mpg.
The Kizashi EcoCharge concept's powertrain also uses other fuel-saving technologies. Regenerative braking systems recharge the car's battery during braking. An automatic engine shut-down feature turns off the car's motor when stopped and another system cuts off the flow of gasoline to the engine during deceleration.
Suzuki spokesman Jeff Holland declined to say whether the car would go into production. The vehicle was developed in Japan, and the company has about 10 working models undergoing testing.
The other concept, the Kizashi Apex, is a turbocharged, performance-focused car designed to embody Suzuki's sport bikes.