New hero at Suzuki
A turbocharged Kizashi or a Swift Sport are contenders, writes Paul Gover
THE search has begun for a new Suzuki sports star. A turbocharged Kizashi concept is the first contender, but a Swift Sport is also a potential hero for the brand — perhaps even tapping a supply of go-fast gear from the US.
The Swift is heading for a total changeover in Australia and a Sport model is part of the plan — though not until the end of next year.
Meantime, a local development team has created the Kizashi Turbo Concept and is testing its sales potential at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
‘‘ If we build it, they will come,’’ the general manager of Suzuki Australia, Tony Devers, says of the force-fed Kizashi.
‘‘If we do it then it should be ready in the first half of next year. Right now we’re seeing if people are interested— and also how much they will pay.
‘‘It’s only a matter of putting the head down and seeing what happens.
‘‘There is no real problem on certification. That’s something we’re working on.’’
The Kizashi Turbo has been upgraded with parts from Road Race Motorsports in California, but there is also Swift equipment from Monster Sports in Japan — including a supercharger package.
At present, Suzuki Australia is committed to the Swift Sport which — based on the current model line-up— should deliver about 20kW more than the starter car.
‘‘The Swift Sport is coming towards the third quarter of next year,’’ says Devers. ‘ ‘ It will be a more performance-rated Swift.
‘‘I don’t know yet on the make-up. It will be more powerful, but we don’t know if it will have a turbocharger.’’
Devers believes a go-faster hero is essential for Suzuki to get cut- through with young buyers and says the experience in other countries, with everything from the Swift to the SX4 and Kizashi, shows the potential in the brand. That is why he gave the green light to the Kizashi conversion for the motor show.
‘‘This could be the catalyst converter. If it works for Kizashi then it should work elsewhere,’’ Devers says.
The turbo upgrade produces 179kW of power — 48 more than the standard Kizashi, with an extra 100 Nm of torque at 330.
For about $7000 it’s a costly conversion — without the extra work on the motor show display car.
The conversion includes lowered suspension, uprated brakes, a frontsuspension brace, a rear spoiler and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Force-fed: market tested for Kizashi Turbo Concept.