Suzuki has announced the return of the Shield in Japan, following a short break following the discontinuation of the SUV last year. While it looks identical to its predecessor, the updated Shield (known as suzuki Vitara in Europe) benefits from an all-new hybrid powertrain that helps it move forward for a while before a redesigned successor arrives. It is an interesting renovation that seeks to quickly position itself among the best cars in the segment that exist in the current market.
It’s getting better
The current fourth-generation Suzuki Vitara (Third Generation Shield) has been around since 2014, although it has received major updates since then. The subtle facelift in 2018 brought modern turbocharged engines, followed by the addition of 48V mild hybrid technology in 2020 and finally full 140V hybrid technology in 2022. The latter is the only option in Japan, although in Europe it is sold together with the mild hybrid.
The mechanical capabilities of the car
The new powertrain combines a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder DualJet engine that produces a modest 99 horsepower (74 kW/101 PS) and 132 Nm (97.4 lb-ft) of torque, with a 33-horsepower (24.6 kW) electric motor. / 33.4 PS) and 60 Nm (44 lb-ft) of torque. European data suggests that the combined power is 115 hp (85 kW/116 PS), which is less than the 127 hp (95 kW/129 PS) of the 1.4-liter mild hybrid TurboJet. This is evident in performance with acceleration from 0 to one hundred kilometers per hour in 12.7 seconds and a top speed of 179 kilometers per hour (111 mph) for the HEV, compared to 9.7 seconds and 190 kilometers per hour (118 mph) for the MHEV.
Has four-wheel drive
Power is transmitted to all four wheels via a 6-speed ASG automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, in combination with Suzuki’s AllGrip AWD system. The latter offers Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock modes, allowing for great off-road capability for the segment and improving performance. In some European markets, the Vitara hybrid also comes with front-wheel drive and AWD is optional, like the rest of Suzuki’s range.
The electrical qualities of this car
The 6 Ah battery is larger than in mild-hybrid variants, so it’s mounted under the cargo space (it used to be under the front seats). Thanks to that, the Shield/Vitara can be driven only with electrical energy in certain scenarios such as deceleration or reverse. Suzuki claims a combined WLTC fuel consumption of 5.1 lt/100 km (46 mpg).
The price of the car
The Suzuki Shield is already on sale in Japan, where the only grade available costs 2,970,000 yen, or what would be equal to about 23,153 US dollars with a lot of standard equipment both in terms of safety (ADAS) and comfort. In Europe, the Suzuki Vitara is offered from the beginning of 2022 with prices starting at £25,499 or what would be similar to about US$32,464 in the UK, making it more expensive than the mild hybrid sibling, more powerful but also more thirsty.
Judging by the new-generation S-Cross related mechanics, which is a much-redesigned version of its predecessor, we expect the upcoming Vitara/Shield to follow a similar route before Suzuki moves into the all-electric era. There are also rumors about another upcoming hybrid SUV with Suzuki’s flagship based on the Toyota Yaris Cross.