The Suzuki Ignis bears a familiar name but, if you think this new model shares the boring Euro-box design of the old cars, think again.
Instead, the company has gone for something altogether more appealing – its LED surrounded headlights look like black eyes and the dinky bruiser is further bolstered by blistered wheel arches and a trio of d-pillar indents. It has the appearance of a tiny SUV and, as we all know, that can only do good things for sales.
However, it does make choosing an obvious rival that bit more difficult. Clearly, the Fiat Panda 4×4’s head is in the cross hairs, but as it’s the only small SUV currently on sale – aside from Suzuki’s own utilitarian Jimny – that leaves the Ignis to deal with superminis such as the Fiat 500, Renault Twingo and Toyota Aygo.
Inside, it’s spacious enough to deal with all the aforementioned competition. There’s room for four adults and the build quality is good even if the materials are on the cheap and durable side. It’s colorful, though and the infotainment system is easy to read if slow to respond.
Thankfully the driving experience isn’t nearly as laborious. Thanks to a new platform, the Ignis is impressively light – basic models weigh just 810kg, about 100kgs less than a VW Up. It feels spritely on its feet and is enjoyable to drive around town but, out on the motorway, things are a bumpier and noisier than close rivals. Not to deal-breaking levels, though.
What could put you off the Ignis is its limited engine range. In fact, there’s just one to choose from – a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol, though for a little extra cash it can be boosted by an electric motor for better performance and cheaper running costs. Even basic models can return fuel economy of more than 60mpg.
Equipment levels are also impressive on entry-level cars, which come with air-conditioning, a DAB radio, electric windows and a Bluetooth phone connection. One step up to the SZT gets you sat-nav and a reversing camera.
Tree huggers will like the hybrid, but the basic model is the better allrounder
With cars like the new Baleno and the latest version of the Vitara, Suzuki’s on a roll and the Ignis should do nothing to slow its charge. It’s got everything needed to succeed in the class – cheap running costs, tardis-like interior space and nippy dynamics – blanketed in the crucial prerequisite of extremely cute looks. The VW Up is no longer the default choice in the class and it’s a humble Suzuki that has taken it down.
For a more in-depth review of the Suzuki Ignis, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you want to see the best current offers on the Ignis, go to our deals page.