£9,999 - £13,999 Price range
4 - 5 Seats
60 - 65 MPG
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 look is further bolstered by the blistered wheel arches and trio of d-pillar indents. It has appearance of a tiny SUV and, as we all know, that can only do good things for sales.
However, it does makes 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, that leaves the Suzuki to deal with superminis such as the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto.
Inside, the Ignis is 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 inside, 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, although 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.
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. While it might not have the polished feel of a VW the plastics feel durable and there are some nice touches such as the circular air vents, cute little instrument binnacle and two-tone dashboard plastics.
The interior colour scheme also changes, depending on the exterior colour you’ve chosen and in general the controls are logically positioned where you’d expect them to be.
Suzuki Ignis infotainment
Despite the striking resemblance to a VW Up infotainment system, the one that sprouts from the Ignis dashboard is an aftermarket Pioneer system that is fiddly to use and doesn’t integrate well with the rest of the car. It does support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the speed of operation and graphics are far behind rivals.
Suzuki Ignis passenger space
The Ignis may be on the narrow side, so shoulder room suffers, but in terms of leg and headroom it’s quite decent – four adults will be happy to travel long distances in the dinky Suzuki. That’s thanks to the new platform that provides as much interior space as possible, despite its small footprint.
Suzuki Ignis boot space
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. Storage areas are pretty good for a supermini with a glovebox that’s neatly divided into two sections and there’s cupholders galore – there are no fewer than four full-sized ones. Something worth keeping in mind is that the Hybrid version makes do with a 204-litre boot because the batteries are housed under the boot floor.
The way the Ignis drives is defined by its low weight. Even the hybrid version with its four driven wheels and heavy batteries tips the scales at 920kg, while the bog standard car weighs an impressive 855kg – 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 engine that would give VW’s 1.0-litre TSi a real run for its money.
Yes, the steering is absolutely devoid of feel, but it’s pleasingly light around town where this car was made for. 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 around town 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.
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 for £20 annual road tax and, even if you thrash it, 50mpg should be an achievable target.
The standard five-speed manual is perfectly weighed and a joy to shift, but the same can’t be said about the automated manual.
Suzuki Ignis Hybrid
Using the same engine, but aided by a small electric motor to drive the rear wheels, the Suzuki Ignis Hybrid promises low running costs as well as more than enough off-road ability for most supermini buyers – the Ignis is no Panda 4×4, but will get you up the occasional wet field or snowy driveway no problem. You can spec up Suzuki’s ALLGRIP four-wheel-drive system on the non-hybrid model but there it only adds weight and, because the ride height is the same across all models, you don’t really get that much more off-road capability.
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, road tax costs remain the same, and boot space is taken up by the hybrid’s batteries.
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 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.