Suzuki Australia will add the mild-hybrid Swift SHVS offered overseas to its local range, with the electrically-augmented BoosterJet powertrain set to touch down in 2019.
Speaking with CarAdvice in Melbourne yesterday, Michael Pachota, Suzuki Australia general manager for automotive, said the brand would be welcoming a hybrid option on a "very strong nameplate" next year, and the technology would carry a "very, very, very minor" price bump. Yep, that's very three times.
Pachota said the decision comes after consulting with consumers and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on the rollout of hybrid and electric power Down Under.
Given the Vitara isn't offered with a hybrid anywhere in the world, the Swift SHVS is squarely in the firing line. Offered in the UK and Japan, it has previously been a forbidden fruit for the Aussie market.
The powertrain, dubbed Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS), blends the existing 1.0-litre three-cylinder BoosterJet turbo petrol engine with an integrated starter/generator and a battery pack, recharged by energy harvested under brakes. The generator is able to provide an extra kick in the back with the throttle buried, but doesn't allow for any pure-EV driving.
It puts out 83kW of power and 170Nm of torque, and is only offered with the five-speed manual in the UK. Interestingly, the system is also offered in partnership with the base 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, although we'd be surprised to see an all-paw variant Down Under.
Claimed fuel economy is 65.7mpg (3.6L/100km) on the combined cycle, making it a seriously miserly customer. Even if you don't get close to that in the real world, expect the Swift SHVS to sip, not swig.
Beyond next year, we can't confirm detailed timing for the hybrid. Stay tuned for all the latest.