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Old 05-20-2016, 03:52 AM   #1
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New Suzuki Baleno

Sounds like an interesting little car, not a full hybrid, but a "mild hybrid" similar to my little insight, very similar how the system operates. And priced well too, the hybrid starts from 12500.

Suzuki Baleno 2016 Road Test | Road Tests | Honest John
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Old 05-20-2016, 05:36 AM   #2
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Honda's IMA created the assist class for hybrids. There is no real hard rules on what defines an assist beyond that it sits between the mild and full ones in terms of the electric side's power.

Your Insight's electric motor has over four times the power output of the Baleno's.

Suzuki gave up on the US market a few years ago, so we won't be seeing any Baleno here. We should finally get the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV this fall though.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:24 AM   #3
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That's not a bad looking car although the interior materials could do with a bit of an upgrade. Still, for $18-19k U.S. dollars it seems like a good value.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:56 AM   #4
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Why aren't hybrid assists more popular on the market? They're cheaper, less complicated, take up less space and weigh less than a full hybrid too. I'm surprised there are so few on the market, especially when you consider that they can easily operate with a manual box, something that puts a lot of people off buying hybrids is the fact they have auto boxes. Maybe its just the fact that people who want a petrol/diesel car want exactly that, and people who want a hybrid want a full hybrid. An assist kind of sits on the fence between the two. I'm looking forward to more models like this, Renault are working on a New Megane diesel hybrid assist too. These would reach a wider audience than a plug in or full electric car in my opinion.
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:28 PM   #5
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I don't have any clue why more people aren't interested. It baffles me every time I read my mileage, especially when I'm driving far enough to allow it to really do it's thing.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:23 AM   #6
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Despite going to look at a Hybrid Honda Jazz (which they didn't have), I was far more interested in Toyota hybrids. This was because I read the Toyota use EV, while the Honda is IMA only, no EV at all.
When I compared some Hybrid Yaris models against Hybrid Jazz models on Fuelly, the Toyotas seemed to bear this out with overall higher hybrid MPGs.
For pure fun - charging on petrol and braking, and trying to maximise the EV portions of your route, I'd imagine the Toyota system is going to be hard to beat. It looks like the Prius has IMA too, as under certain circumstances you see the electric motor and petrol motor both powering the wheels.
And I've just clocked 66 mpg as your first Insight tankful - well done Paul, a very respectable opening score!
I am expecting about the same the next time I fill up.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:58 PM   #7
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Back to the manual/auto debate, if you haven't yet driven a CVT, I'd suggest test driving one. I had only bad things to say about autos for 15 years (without ever having driven one!). Loved manuals for economy, driving experience etc - all the things I thought autos lacked.
As it turns out, I love the CVT auto transmission!
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:29 PM   #8
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Yes thanks Ben, quite impressed with the insight given that most of that first fuel up was popping about town, only a few longer journeys. I'm never going to get great economy living where I live, in a valley surrounded by steep mountains, each and every journey I take consists of a cold engine going up a steep hill! It's worse when you have no battery boost too!

Getting back to the Baleno, I guess these mild hybrids have been ignored a while, since diesels have been so popular and offer similar performance and economy too, and despite diesels being slightly more expensive, I'm sure they'd be cheaper than the mild hybrid system. I guess now with "local air quality issues" and the future fuel being electric, more of these mild hybrids will be popping up.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:00 PM   #9
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I can sympathize - the 3 years before last October I also lived in the dip at the bottom of a valley - 3 out of 4 exits were immediately steep hills (the steepest two our route to work!). Now I have 4 miles of flat before I start hitting the uphill slopes. Didn't make as big a difference with the Hyundai as I expected though, when we moved.
I guess there are a lot of people who make short car journeys, where a diesel would be plagued by dpf regen issues, that a mild hybrid would be the perfect choice for best economy.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:01 AM   #10
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Japan and North America are the biggest hybrid markets. Not being able to get a hybrid with a manual isn't a minus, and can be a plus.

Honda's new one motor system is a full hybrid; they bumped up the power output of the motor for full EV operation.

In the early days of hybrids, many wanted a full hybrid. On top of that, Honda's aren't cheap. The Civic hybrid started at the same price as the gen2 Prius here. A sedan with less cargo space and no fold down rear seats that got lower MPG than the Prius hatchback.

Then there was the early battery failures, and Honda's handling of that mess.

The issue for other mild and assist hybrids has been cost. The first gen BAS on the Chevy Malibu was nearly $2000 for very little improvement. The second gen eAssist likely improved on cost, but it was dropped from the Malibu when a new engine with just start/stop got the same EPA numbers. The new Malibu has a full hybrid option.

We'll see mild hybrids come back though, for rising fuel economy numbers. GM is offering eAssist on pick ups in California under a market test. The system is only $500 to $700 now. Then Continental and another auto part supplier have a 48v mild hybrid system they want to sell. I haven't seen anything on its actual cost.
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