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