Suzuki Ignis Review

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.

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after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Striking looks
  • Decent passenger space
  • Hybrid version for the environmentally conscious

What's not so good

  • Limited engine choice
  • Some rivals ride better
  • Infotainment system isn’t class-leading
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Suzuki Ignis: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

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

Mat Watson
carwow expert

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.

How practical is it?

For a car of this size, the Suzuki Ignis has a remarkable amount of space inside, although the narrow body means that you can really only get two passengers in the back seats

You have to admire what Suzuki has done with the Ignis. Getting so much style and space into it really is some kind of wizardry

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
204 - 267 litres
Boot (seats down)
490 - 514 litres

The Ignis may be on the narrow side, so shoulder room suffers, but in terms of leg and headroom it’s quite decent and the two rear seats can be slid forwards and backwards to increase legroom in the back – it means four adults will be happy to travel long distances in the dinky Suzuki.

Storage areas are pretty good for a supermini with a glovebox that’s neatly divided into two sections (although quite small), two cupholders for the front seats, a smaller cubby next to the gearstick and three cupholders.

If you go for the non-hybrid model, the boot capacity is 267 litres, which is competitive in class – the Fiat Panda has a 260-litre capacity. Something worth keeping in mind is that the Hybrid version makes do with a 204-litre boot, because of the four-wheel drive system under the boot floor.

What's it like to drive?

The way the Ignis drives is defined by its low weight, which means it doesn’t need a powerful engine to be nippy nor stiff suspension to make it nimbler in corners.

Tree huggers will like the hybrid, but the basic model is the better allrounder

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The Suzuki Ignis sits on a new platform that will form the basis of the new Swift city car and one that has already been used in the Baleno hatchback. Suzuki’s new 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine is available with the Baleno and the Swift soon too but, unfortunately, the Ignis only gets an older 1.2-litre petrol.

The 1.2-litre produces 89hp and even though the official 0-62mph time of 12.2 seconds may lead you to believe otherwise, the Suzuki feels quite lively, provided you don’t mind stirring up the revs and gears on inclines. Suzuki says it can average 61mpg and emit 104g/km of CO2 and, even if you thrash it, 50mpg should be an achievable target.

The standard five-speed manual is perfectly weighted and a joy to shift, but the same can’t be said about the automated manual.

Using the same engine, plus a small electric motor that can also be fitted to the standard two-wheel-drive SZ5, the Suzuki Ignis SZ5 Allgrip promises low running costs as well as more than enough off-road ability for most supermini buyers – thanks to its slightly raised suspension and its Allgrip Auto system that can send power to whichever of the wheels has the most grip.

Thanks to the low-down torque boost from the hybrid system the 0-62mph time is cut down by two seconds, but there aren’t many other reasons to go for the more expensive version. Fuel economy of 66mpg is close to what the regular model can return.

Even the hybrid version with its four driven wheels and heavy batteries tips the scales at just 920kg, while the bog standard car weighs an impressive 810kg – just five kg more than an old Citroen AX with safety credentials akin to a milk carton.

As anyone from motorsport will tell you the easiest way to make a car handle better and go faster is to lose weight. And, as a result, the featherweight Ignis displays the sort of agility and keenness on turn in that was long missing from the class. It’s a shame Suzuki couldn’t fit it with the 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo engine that would give VW’s 1.0-litre TSi a real run for its money.

Yes, the steering is low on feel, but it’s pleasingly light around town and nicely direct out of it. The ride also isn’t perfect – big potholes are quite intrusive and the Suzuki likes to bounce around on poor quality roads.

Wind and road noise are fine at low speeds but quite vocal out on the motorway. One can argue that a small dinky car such as the Ignis should be predictably poor out on the open road, but the Skoda Citigo is better equipped when it comes to travelling long distances.

What's it like inside?

The Suzuki Ignis may not have the quality materials or bank-vault build quality of a VW Up, but it’s distinctively styled enough to let you ignore those shortcomings.

Next Read full interior review
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