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Characteristic: A historical past of Suzuki and 4WD | Autocar India

Written by Raghav

From 1970 to 2018, we check out the historical past of Suzuki’s 4WD system throughout a few of its iconic fashions.

Printed On Jul 31, 2022 09:30:00 AM

As a motoring icon, Suzuki has labored in the direction of creating a few of the most memorable, small, light-weight autos globally. Nonetheless, its historical past additionally consists of a wide range of succesful off-roaders and four-wheel drive techniques. The Japanese model’s journey started within the 1950s when it turn into one of many main Kei-car producers. These automobiles needed to meet the Japanese authorities’s tax norms and automotive requirements (dimensions and engine measurement limitations), which resulted of their decrease pricing and excessive worth for cash. Throughout this time, Suzuki got here up with the concept of taking inspiration from the 4×4 Jeep fashions utilized in WW2.

1970 Suzuki LJ10

Suzuki’s journey of manufacturing 4X4 autos started with the LJ10, launched within the Japanese market in April 1970. Being the primary mass-produced 4X4, the SUV was strictly a 3-seater, with the spare tyre fitted behind the entrance passenger seat; this uncommon placement was on account of limitations arising from the phase’s dimension norms. The LJ10 got here with a 25hp, two-cylinder petrol engine, which was mated to a 4-speed handbook transmission and powered the rear wheels. It additionally featured a mechanical switch case that could possibly be managed through a protruding lever, which allowed drivers to interact or disengage four-wheel drive primarily based on the street and driving situations.

All through the subsequent decade, Suzuki started exporting the LJ50 (1975) and the LJ80 (1977) to international markets, throughout which era it was often known as the ‘Jimny’. The LJ80 was the ultimate LJ sequence mannequin, which was powered by a 41.6hp, four-cylinder petrol engine.

1981 Suzuki SJ410/SJ413

To capitalise on its abroad gross sales success, Suzuki launched the SJ410, which sported a brand new exterior and inside design. Powered by a brand new 45hp, 1.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, the SJ410 retained the 4-speed handbook gearbox together with the identical four-wheel-drive system that featured on its predecessor. After Suzuki made its alliance with Maruti in 1981 for the Indian market, it launched the SJ410 because the ‘Gypsy’ in 1985.

In 2000, Maruti Suzuki up to date the Gypsy by giving it a brand new 81hp, 1.3-litre petrol engine, mated to a 5-speed handbook transmission, while retaining its off-road technicals. Obtainable in long-wheelbase guise, the ‘Gypsy’ was the model’s first four-wheel drive automobile, which additionally went on to turn into essentially the most profitable rally automotive in India and the de facto SUV for the Indian military till its 33-year manufacturing run ended in 2019.

1988 Suzuki Vitara

To additional increase its portfolio in abroad markets, Suzuki launched the Vitara SUV as a 3-door mannequin. Powered by an all-new 80hp, 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine, mated to a 5-speed handbook transmission, the Vitara used a part-time four-wheel-drive system and an built-in 2-speed switch field. The model additionally ensured that the Vitara had considerably improved trip and dealing with by changing the leaf spring suspension setups of earlier fashions with coil springs and including in energy steering.

Over the subsequent 26 years, three extra generations of the Vitara had been launched as 5-door fashions, with a raft of design, mechanical, and have modifications. From these, the model selected to deliver the 2nd-gen Grand Vitara XL7 to our markets in 2003, adopted by the Third-gen Grand Vitara in 2009 through CBU routes. Nonetheless, each merchandise failed to realize traction amongst the lots on account of their excessive pricing.

2006 Suzuki SX4

Suzuki capitalised on the success of the Vitara by launching the SX4 crossover, which debuted the primary iteration of the electronically managed four-wheel-drive system that we all know as ‘AllGrip’ as we speak. Generally known as i-AWD, the system assessed the street floor and driving situations primarily based on info from a variety of sensors. The i-AWD system had three driving modes – 4WD Auto, which mechanically despatched energy to the rear wheels primarily based on driving situations; 2WD, which restricted energy to the entrance wheels; and 4WD Lock, which allowed for close to 50:50 distribution of torque between the entrance and rear wheels.

In 2007, Maruti Suzuki launched the SX4 for our markets as a midsize sedan, however solely in a front-wheel drive guise to compete with the Honda Metropolis of its time. Primarily based on a modified Swift hatchback platform, the SX4’s engine choices included a 102hp, 1.6-litre petrol and a 90hp, 1.3-litre diesel.

2013 Suzuki S-cross

After years of experience in growing four-wheel-drive techniques, Suzuki launched the ‘AllGrip’ system through the S-cross in worldwide markets. Constructing upon the i-AWD system from earlier, Suzuki gives its four-wheel-drive tech in three variations – AllGrip Auto, AllGrip Choose, and AllGrip Professional. To know how every of those variations works, you may click on right here. The international-spec S-cross options the AllGrip Choose model, permitting drivers to select from 4 driving modes – Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock through a push-and-turn dial on the dashboard.

Maruti Suzuki first debuted the S-cross as a front-wheel-drive mannequin in our markets again in 2015 with two diesel powertrains – a 90hp, 1.3-litre unit and a 130hp, 1.6-litre mill. The crossover then obtained a facelift in 2017 and was ultimately geared up with a sole 105hp, 1.5-litre petrol engine in 2020. With its manufacturing having ended this 12 months, the S-cross might be changed by the lately unveiled Grand Vitara, which can characteristic the Choose model of Suzuki’s AllGrip system.

2018 Suzuki Jimny

Almost 50 years since its first introduction, Suzuki debuted the all-new Jimny, which retained the unique’s small, light-weight 4X4 automobile design precept. Launched as a 3-door mannequin, the Jimny utilises a ladder body chassis, coupled with a coil spring suspension setup and the Professional model of the model’s AllGrip system. Showcased on the 2020 Auto Expo, the fourth-gen Jimny comes powered by the 102hp, 1.5-litre Okay15B petrol engine and was greenlit in 2021 for an India launch.

Just lately, a check mule of the 5-door Jimny world mannequin was noticed testing in Europe and is predicted to make its India debut on the 2023 Auto Expo in Delhi. Sources state that the India-bound Jimny might be powered by the brand new 103hp, Okay15C DualJet engine that’s current in Maruti Suzuki’s present mannequin line-up.

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About the author

Raghav