Whether it’s intentional or not, Suzuki has become something of a rebel. The classification of the Ignis as an SUV is certainly a move that pushes boundaries. For such a small car to be branded with the SUV moniker shows how important it is to be cool by association.
One could argue that the Ignis is just another slightly raised hatchback looking to cash in on the popularity of the SUV category. However, there’s more to the little Suzuki than just elevated ground clearance.
Suzuki has supplied us with a 2017 Ignis GLX, it has a list price of $18,990 plus on-roads. Straight off the bat, the Ignis packs plenty of kit into its diminutive frame.
Keyless entry and start, automatic headlights, cruise control, climate control, and a well-equipped infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are all included in a stylish package that feels fresh.
What brings some personality to the exterior of the car is the ability to have contrast colours for the roof and mirror covers. Our white test car was optioned with a black roof and red mirror covers, it’s surprising how much impact these styling choices make. For those wanting to take things a step further, the front grille, front grille centre bar, and fog light bezels can also be adorned with splashes of colour.
There are not many models, if any, that immediately come to mind in the mainstream light, compact or small segments that offer the amount of customisation available on the Ignis. It's a car that rebels against boring.
The tale of the tape brings the Ignis in at 3,700mm long, 1,660mm wide and 1,595mm high. When put next to a common midsize SUV, in this case, a Mazda CX-5, the Ignis channels its inner Mini-Me. It looks tiny but dig a little deeper and there are some surprises waiting to be unearthed.
Interior spaciousness isn’t something you would normally associate with a car of these proportions. The Ignis is well packaged and can easily accommodate four adults. The high seating position is excellent, it will appeal to those chasing a commanding view of the road. The Ignis proves a big car doesn’t always translate to more interior space.
It’s not just comfortable for those up front, both rear seat head and leg room are exceptional in the Ignis. The generous amount of rear space does cap the cargo volume at 264 litres, without rear passengers this can be raised to 1104 litres if the seats are folded down.
Aside from the brilliant use of space, what we really found appealing about the interior was the use of colours. The two tone dashboard combined with red accents lifts the cabin presentation and brings in personality and style that puts the Ignis ahead of what most of its rivals are offering at this price point. Avoiding the dull monotony of dark textiles and plastics that are common place in affordable cars is a simple, yet very effective way to stand out in a crowded section of the market.
For the most part, the interior of the Ignis is hard to beat, however, there are a few things missing. There’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel or a digital speedo which is puzzling. Plenty of thought has been put into what is a well laid out cabin, it’s unfortunate these small, yet important features are not available.
Up front, the addition of a centre armrest would be welcomed, it’s difficult to get a comfortable gangster lean happening without one.
A 1.2L Dualjet engine resides under the bonnet, it develops 66kW and 120Nm, modest numbers in anyone’s language. However, the Ignis is a featherweight, the engine isn’t required to move a lot of mass. With four onboard acceleration from 0 to 60km/h is perfectly satisfactory. The Ignis is not going to set records reaching three figures, but it doesn’t need to.
Suzuki has used a CVT automatic to ensure two hands remain on the wheel. This is one of the better versions of this technology. It’s difficult to detect any of the drone or whirring noises that plagued early incarnations of the CVT. The sound from the engine disguises any transmission noise.
For city driving, the Ignis is perfect. It’s agile, possessing wonderfully light steering and a compact turning circle. It’s such an easy car to manoeuvre and effortless to park.
On the highway, the compact Ignis can keep pace with traffic. There is some tyre roar but it’s at an acceptable level for a car of this size and price. Also, this is an engine that will get a bit boisterous as the tacho needle climbs.
One thing to be careful of is how easy it is to slip the transmission into L instead of D. I managed to make this error a few times throughout this test. I’m not convinced a low range setting is necessary for the front-drive Ignis, it didn’t seem to offer anything noticeably different other than a concerning screeching sound.
With power sent exclusively to the front wheels, I would forget any off-roading, it’s the urban jungle where the Ignis will do its best work. Along with the view of the road, the extra ground clearance is helpful for entry and egress, but its talents shouldn’t extend to bush bashing.
After a week behind the wheel of the Ignis GLX, the consumption figure sat at an impressive 5.7L/100km, this was without paying any particular attention to high-efficiency driving. If one was to drive very carefully with a delicate right foot, achieving the official figure of 4.9L/100km would be possible.
When the discussion turns to safety, the Ignis comes with six airbags, ABS, brake assist, electronic brake distribution, ISOFIX points and a reversing camera that produces a quality image that would embarrass cars at a much higher price.
The Ignis is yet to be assessed by ANCAP. To achieve the 5-star rating in Europe, additional equipment was required, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.
Suzuki does offer a capped price service program that covers the first five years or 100,000km of ownership. At first glance, costs are reasonable, averaging $238 a throw. However, maintenance intervals are set at an unnecessary and inconvenient 6 months/10,000km.
Underwhelming is the best way to describe the Suzuki’s warranty coverage. A three year/100,000km offering looks too light in today’s market. Before long five-year plans will be the standard.
The Ignis is one of those cars that fights well above its weight. It cleverly brings personality to a sensible package in a way that many rivals struggle to do. The Ignis is an engaging car to drive, it handles well and it’s comfortable. It’s not an SUV in any traditional sense, but that’s not a bad thing. The great seating position and easy going character of the Ignis will win it many admirers.
2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX Review
Price from $18,990, plus on-road costs Engine 1.2L Dualjet 4-cylinder petrol Power 66kW @ 6,000rpm Torque 120Nm @ 4,400rpm Transmission CVT automatic Combined Fuel Consumption 4.9L/100km Tank Capacity 32L Length 3700mm Width 1660mm Height 1595mm Wheelbase 2435mm Kerb Weight 865kg Turning circle 4.7m Ground Clearance 180mm Service Intervals 6-months/10,000km Warranty three year/100,000km
Let’s start a Car Conversation, does the Suzuki Ingis' bold styling and zippy performance put it in your top five for concrete jungle conquerers?
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