Drive Type: 4x4
Newburgh, Indiana, United States
With the Tokyo Motor Show looming on the horizon, Suzuki has revealed a trio of concept cars it will present at the expo.
First up is the Crosshiker concept, a compact crossover that looks good enough in metallic red, but in its essence reminds us of the oft-maligned X-90 convertible crossover coupe. Based on the G70/Regina concept, the Crosshiker packs a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine into a compact form that weighs just 1,785 pounds.
Next comes the X-Lander, which strikes us as a smaller take on the formula espoused by the Isuzu VX-02 or Land Rover DC100 Sport concepts. Unfortunately based on the Jimny, the white X-Lander incorporates a 1.3-liter engine with a robotized manual and four-wheel drive into a high-riding, chopped-windshield convertible sport-ute form.
Suzuki's plant in Manesar, India builds cars for Australia, specifically its Alto small car. Or at least they were building cars before violent worker riots forced the factory to close. The plant has been idled for five weeks as a result of worker violence that led to the death of one manager and 95 injuries. The riot was spurred over a labor dispute - specifically, a gulf in salaries between temporary workers and their salaried counterparts who earn triple the contract workers' wages.
According to reports, on Tuesday, the factory re-opened with more than 1,200 police officers stationed around the plant. The staff of actual workers at the plant numbers just 75 currently, meaning the police force greatly outnumbers Suzuki employees.
The number of employees will eventually grow to 300, and the officers will run in shifts of 100 at a time, but the initial disparity of workers to police is meant as a show of force to the more than 500 permanent and 500 temporary workers who were found to be involved in a July 18 riot.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.