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Yorkshire Times
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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
8:29 AM 23rd September 2020

Suzuki’s Ignis Gets A Makeover

Suzuki has a reputation for making excellent small cars. I have driven most, and they definitely punch above their weight in terms of affordability, equipment levels and driving characteristics.

I was lucky enough to travel to Rome to drive the current Ignis when it was launched in January 2017 and I came away impressed. I had visions of pottering about the back streets of the famous Italian city, but instead we journeyed much further afield on motorways, A-roads and country lanes and even had time for a little light off-roading. The Ignis coped with it all.

This summer Suzuki has given what it terms its ultra-compact SUV a makeover. Time to get behind the wheel once again, this time on home turf.

The Test Car

The Ignis is unusual in offering an all-wheel drive version of the Ignis (ALLGRIP) and living rurally this model has a distinct appeal. Available only in top spec SZ5, this clever system can engage power to the rear wheels via a viscous coupling if the front wheels begin to lose traction. It adds a mere 45kg to the car’s weight and costs a reasonable £1,000.

Rush yellow paintwork would not be my choice, but it is certainly distinctive and on a car that looks like no other, there was no shortage of comments (mostly favourable) during my time behind the wheel.

Fast Facts

Suzuki Ignis SZ5 ALLGRIP
1.2-litre 83PS petrol engine
5-speed manual gearbox
CVT auto (+£1,000) sadly not with ALLGRIP
Price £17,499 (£18,149 with options)
Ignis range starts at £13,999
{b]0-62mph in 12.8 seconds
Top speed 103mph
Combined economy 51.9mpg
Emissions 123g/km CO2

The Drive

The Ignis is not a car to set the pulses racing, but neither is it a car out of its depth with the cut and thrust of everyday driving. The modest power means than plenty of revs and much gear changing is required, but with a light clutch and a precise shift, this is not a chore. The engine does get a little vocal when stretched though.

Pottering about on local errands, the trip computer never read less than 45mpg and this improved when at a steady cruise in higher gears. Driven hard over my challenging test route, the economy continued to impress.

Some of the credit must go to the hybrid technology mated to the Dualjet engine, which uses a compact lithium-ion battery to store energy generated from braking etc to aid starting and improve efficiency.
Ride comfort is excellent, which makes a very pleasant change as so many modern cars come equipped with overly firm springs unsuited to the UK’s generally poorly surfaced roads.

Press on a bit, and there is a fair amount of body roll through the bends, but all told it is rather fun.

I took the Ignis down a couple of unmade tracks and here the ALLGRIP system and generous ground clearance were put to the test. It passed with flying colours and should cope easily with a little snow and ice or a muddy field. There is even a hill descent control system which operates in first or second gear up to 18mph.

The Interior

Remarkable! Ignis is one of the smallest cars on the market, yet it boasts genuine space for four large adults to travel in comfort. The boxy shape means that there is generous headroom front and rear, but the biggest surprise is the amount of rear legroom. I cannot comfortably sit behind the driver’s seat set for myself in many much bigger cars, but in the Ignis there is room to spare.

Equipment levels on all Ignis models are generous, with air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and 6 airbags amongst the highlights. Top spec SZ5 adds automatic air conditioning, smart 16-inch alloy wheels and satellite navigation. Nothing else to add to the comprehensive specification.

Material quality is shall we say robust, the hard plastics a little too much in evidence. Seats are comfortable and supportive and the switchgear logically placed and easy to use.

The Rivals

If the idea of a compact car with all-wheel drive is what your heart desires, then the Ignis’ only rival is the Fiat Panda 4x4. Extremely capable off-road and reasonable to drive on it, prices are about the same as the Suzuki. The Ignis is likely to be more reliable and better built.

As for the rest, remove the need for all-wheel propulsion and there is a plethora of capable small cars, though none with the Ignis’ slightly raised driving position. I would look at the Kia Picanto with a seven-year warranty or perhaps the new Honda Jazz.

Verdict

The Ignis has much to commend it. Low running costs, high equipment levels on all models and let us not forget the friendly local dealerships. Pleasant and undemanding to drive, the prices have crept up over the years, especially as tested in top spec form.

However, at the time of writing Suzuki are offering no deposit finance and 0% APR. So maybe it is time to give the Ignis and the rest of the Suzuki range a closer look.