Suzuki, the whole range is also available with automatic transmission

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Raising the bar to make your offers increasingly attractive is a winning strategy for Suzuki. It is no coincidence that the Japanese brand improves its shares every year and even in the horrible 2020 it has climbed the Italian market up to 2.4%, with the prospect of closing this year at 2.7%. A healthy niche that grows because it knows how to interpret customer needs, in fact it focuses almost exclusively on individuals who cover 97% of sales.

After clearing the mild-hybrid technology, on which few would have bet, the Japanese house is now launching a new challenge: an entirely hybrid range (as only Lexus, which however offers the full-hybrid, can boast) interpreting the technology in the various formulas depending on the model, but also a range entirely available with automatic transmission, also in three different technologies. “I could add that we are also the only ones to offer models all available with 4×4 drive – says the president of Suzuki Italy, Massimo Nalli – with the only exception of the Swace station wagon”. The partnership with Toyota has brought new resources, but the secret has always been to seduce buyers with rich amenities at affordable prices.

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In the Vairano racetrack, where there is a demanding off-road track, and in the winding streets of the Pavese Suzuki showed off the entire jewelery of its full-face hybrid models with the initials AT (Automatic Transmission). The Vitara and S-Cross SUVs have also just arrived, which in the Starview set-up offer (at 1,500 euros more) a six-speed automatic gearbox that manages the 235 Nm torque delivered by the 4-cylinder 1.4 Boosterjet turbo petrol engine. It is a 6A / T transmission with torque converter equipped with a lock-up mechanism; used in manual mode thanks to the paddles on the steering wheel, it allows you to have a lot of fun. Selecting 1M prevents the internal clutch from slipping and increases the engine brake for difficult situations and steep descents. Thanks to the ongoing promotion, Vitara Hybrid AT costs 25,650 euros, 28,150 the top of the range 4×4 AllGrip. S-Cross ranges from € 26,090 to € 28,590.

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The Suzuki tradition in the field of automatic transmissions has distant origins, dating back to 1988 and precisely to the launch of the first generation of Vitara, when the diffusion of these broadcasts was still very limited both in Italy and in Europe. Since the launch of that four-speed gearbox with torque converter, then combined with a 1.6 petrol engine, the offer has greatly evolved and has risen with specific technologies for each model (today there are three types provided).

One of Suzuki’s pride is to make the automatic available in the A segment, the “lowest” on the market, where the Ignis competes successfully. Like the compact Swift Hybrid, the city car (with a 1.2 four-cylinder petrol engine) offers a continuously variable CVT automatic transmission, an acronym that stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. A system that eliminates engine speed drops during acceleration when changing from one gear to another, eliminating the typical elastic effect and returning constant power to the driver. The CVT transmission can also be managed manually via the steering wheel controls, with six predefined ratios. Swace Hybrid e Across Plug-In, with their full hybrid and plug-in hybrid propulsion systems, on the other hand, are fitted with a continuously variable transmission with planetary electronic control, a tested and functional system, easy to use. Both have a petrol engine and two three-phase AC synchronous electric motor generators.

The three elements of the hybrid system are connected to each other and to the final drive thanks to a planetary gear, a gear that uses three rotating shafts without the need for clutches, torque converters, transmission belts and other elements subject to wear and possible breakage. A mechanical connection allows the motor to recover energy during the slowdown and braking phases. When the petrol engine has to start, the secondary motor generator acts as a starter motor. Once a regular sequence of bursts has been obtained, the secondary electric motor works mainly as an electricity generator, useful both for charging the batteries and sometimes for powering the primary motor generator. Operation reminds the driver of a continuously variable transmission, which is why this gearbox is called the eCVT. Also in this case there is a manual mode via the paddles on the steering wheel. The entire Suzuki automatic range is on promotion, so the Ignis Hybrid AT starts at 17,350 euros, Swift from 17,690, Swace from 24,500 and Across from 46,900.

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