Joining the turbocharged Kizashi Apex Concept on stage at this week’s 2011 New York Auto Show is a greener version of the popular Kizashi mid-size sedan, the EcoCharge gasoline-electric hybrid concept. Possibly previewing a future production Kizashi hybrid, for now Suzuki is also stating that its EcoCharge concept will be used to study the virtues of green technology in its Kizashi platform.

In developing the concept, the key goal of Suzuki’s engineers was to build a sedan with substantially improved mileage but without any detriment in performance. The proof of their efforts is that the Kizashi EcoCharge has the capability to deliver a claimed 25 percent fuel economy while still retaining the production Kizashi’s dynamic handling and braking abilities.

The key is the EcoCharge’s gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain, which consists of a 144 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine matched to a 15 kW (20 horsepower) electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries. The lightweight motor is too small to power the car exclusively; instead it acts as a booster to aid the vehicle during high load situations.

To help maximize efficiency, the Kizashi EcoCharge concept also features numerous fuel-saving technologies, including regenerative braking, automatic engine shut-off when the car comes to a stop, fuel cut-off during deceleration and low-rolling resistance tires.

Drive is sent to the front wheels via six-speed automatic transmission.

Ensuring the EcoCharge concept stands out is a white satin paint job with a subtle blue undercoat. To further set the concept apart from its production Kizashi sibling, it has also been given a specialized headlight treatment, as well as LED fog-lights.

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