Suzuki Across PHEV launches; Australia in limbo

Suzuki’s Toyota Rav4-based Across with hybrid drivetrain launches, but an Australian debut is still in doubt.

The new Suzuki Across goes on sale in Europe next month, priced from an equivalent Australian price of an eye-watering $80k. It’s the Japanese brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle – and it will soon join a growing marketplace of plug-in hybrid family SUVs, such as the Toyota Rav4 (PHEV), Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Ford Escape PHEV. Only the Mitsubishi and Ford are available in Australia for now, though.

Essentially, the Across is a rebadged version of the Toyota RAV4 PHEV – different from the hybrid non plug-in model – and it forms part of the two brands’ recently confirmed partnership that will ultimately see Toyota develop a new hybrid vehicle for Suzuki. Suzuki will also follow-up the launch of this new SUV with a Toyota Corolla-based hybrid hatchback towards the end of this year.

Cosmetic revisions over the RAV4 are minimal, with Suzuki fitting new badging, new front and rear bumpers, fresh projector LED headlamps and some tweaked tail lights. Buyers also get a set of 19-inch alloy wheels and a choice of six different paint finishes.

Inside, the new Suzuki Across features a multifunction steering wheel, air conditioning and a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which offers support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also a range of storage bins and cup holders scattered throughout the cabin, as well as an electrical accessory socket mounted in the SUV’s 490-litre boot.

The Suzuki Across is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain, which comprises a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor mounted on each axle. Combined, the system has an output of 134kW and 270Nm of torque – which Suzuki says offers a 0–100km/h time of six seconds flat.

Suzuki says the Across will also return up to 1.6L per 100km on the WLTP combined cycle test, while only generating 22g/km of CO2.

As with the RAV4, the Across’s powertrain sports an independent rear electric motor, which can vary the torque between the front and rear axles in any combination of ratios ranging between 100:0 and 20:80. Suzuki says this gives the Across better stability on slippery surfaces, as well as improving the SUV’s cornering ability.

The Across’s PHEV powertrain also comes with a range of driver profiles, which allows the SUV to operate in either hybrid or fully-electric mode. There’s also an extra setting which holds the battery’s charge level for use later in the journey, as well as a battery charger mode which can top-up the battery pack without the need to visit a charging station.

Finally, there’s a Trail setting, which Suzuki says will manipulate the car’s differential and braking system to provide the best performance off-road. The system automatically sends power to the wheels with the most grip – and brakes the wheels that are losing traction – while adjusting the throttle and gearbox shift pattern to keep the Across moving.

Buyers get a wealth of safety equipment, too, including pre-collision assist, lane-keeping assist, road sign assist and a blind-spot monitoring system. There’s also a rear cross-traffic alert system and an active cruise control system, which can automatically control the SUV’s throttle and braking in stop-start traffic.

Suzuki Australia remains interested in the model, though is yet to commit to the availability of a right-hand drive model on local roads. If it does make its way here, the equivalent $80k price certainly won’t fly.

Luke Wilkinson

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