With the Ignis, Suzuki is relaunching a model line that went out of production nearly 10 years ago. Because of this, the Ignis is basically an all-new car. It offers buyers an affordable price tag, a fairly generous amount of standard equipment and respectable fuel economy figures from its peppy little 1.2-litre engine that it shares with the Swift. Then, of course, there are those rather quirky looks, which will no doubt appeal to customers who are in the market for a car that stands out from the crowd.
Looks and image
First things first, the Ignis’s looks aren’t going to appeal to everyone. But then again, that’s a rather good thing – the Ignis certainly turns heads when you’re out on the road. To look at, the little Suzuki ‘compact crossover’ combines quite a cutesy face with a rather staunch stance – well, as staunch a stance a car this size can manage, anyway.
Regardless of your tastes, it does have the effect of giving the Ignis a far more assertive presence on the road than those of its immediate rivals in the city car class.
Inside, the Ignis is a bit of a let-down, with cheap plastics festooned all over the cabin. But then again, this is billed as an affordable city runabout, so to complain about less-than-premium materials being used in the interior rather seems to defeat the whole purpose of the car.
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A two-tone colour scheme helps to lift the cabin, and makes it feel a bit more spacious than it would if it were all black. Suzuki also offers buyers the chance to personalise the centre console so that it matches the car’s exterior colour, which is a nice touch.
Space and practicality
Don’t expect to be bowled over by the Ignis’s practicality. Sure there is enough room in the cabin for four adults, but don’t expect them to be massively comfortable for long journeys.
Despite the car’s rather tall stance, headroom in the back of the Ignis is tight, and taller passengers will find their heads come in contact with the roof. That said, though, knee room isn’t too bad at all. For those with small children (who won’t mind being being in the back of the car), it’s worth mentioning that only the entry-level SZ3 Ignis is available with three seats in the second row.
As far as boot space goes, the Ignis offers 260 litres with the rear seats in place, which is more than enough for a week’s worth of food shopping. It does pay to mention, however, that this falls to 204 litres when the optional 4×4 system is specified.
What’s under the bonnet?
The Ignis is only available with one engine – the same 1.2-litre petrol unit that’s found in the larger Swift. The four-cylinder engine isn’t the most powerful, with only 89bhp on tap, but it does a good enough job of getting the big little city car up to speed. The dash, or stroll in this case, from 0-60mph takes 12 seconds, and in cars that feature the SHVS ‘mild hybrid’ system and four-wheel drive, this drops to 11.3.
Behind the wheel
One of the first things you’ll notice when the time to drive the Ignis comes is the fact that you sit rather high up. While this does mean visibility out of the sides and back is excellent, it also gives the impression that the car will roll around a bit more in the corners – which it certainly does.
This is a car that has been engineered to provide a comfortable ride, rather than one that is all about out-and-out driving dynamics. Don’t get us wrong, though – on British roads it deals with lumps, bumps and uneven surfaces in a composed manner, which is a welcome characteristic.
Around town, the Ignis is an ace little car to drive. Its incredibly light controls make tight manoeuvres a doddle, and thanks to incredibly short overhangs at both ends of the car, you’re never in too much danger of accidentally pranging into anything. SZ-T and SZ5 models also benefit from a standard-fit rear-view camera that makes parking even easier.
While the Ignis might be great around town, on the motorway it does leave a little to be desired. There is a great deal of wind noise – likely because of its boxy shape – and in the high winds that Storm Doris brought with her, it did get blown around a fair amount. That said, most cars probably did as well. The Ignis wouldn’t make much sense as a long-distance machine, but for short squirts down the motorway it’s more than bearable.
Value for money
Suzuki hasn’t left much room to criticise the Ignis as far as value for money is concerned. Base-spec SZ3 models come with standard features such as DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as USB connectivity and a CD player that is MP3 compatible.
Moving up the range, the SZ-T gains larger 16-inch alloys, a touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates satellite navigation and a rear parking camera, while the flagship SZ5 gains LED headlights, keyless entry and climate control.
Running costs aren’t horrendous, either. Suzuki claims the SZ5 SHVS 4×4 model that we tested can manage a combined fuel economy figure of 60.1mpg. While we didn’t quite manage this, we were still able to average around 52mpg during our time with the Ignis.
It’s a fairly comprehensive little car, really, and when you consider that prices for the SZ3 start at just £9,999, it’s quite a sensible choice, too.
Who would buy one?
The Ignis will appeal to buyers who want the ease of use of a city car with the slightly larger dimensions and higher driving position of a crossover. Urban dwellers in search of a city runabout will no doubt find the Ignis’s quirky looks, low running costs and generous equipment strong selling points for what is a hugely competent A-segment car.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model as tested: Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SHVS SZ5 4×4
Price as tested: £12,999
Engine tested: 1.2-litre ‘Dualjet’ SHVS petrol
Max speed: 103mph
MPG: 60.1 (combined cycle)