The Suzuki Ignis name has returned to Australian roads for the first time since 2005. This new model is officially classed as a compact SUV though it’s probably best to think of it as a high-riding city car. Let’s check it out…
WHAT STANDS OUT
Fashionable styling helps to sell cars at any point in the pricing spectrum, and there’s no doubt this Suzuki will stand out on city streets with its charmingly funky exterior.
You can have a contrasting black roof if you opt for white or red body colour, and more Mini-style personalisation is possible both inside and out. Dealer-fitted packs can add splashes of orange, red or blue for the exterior trim, while the cabin’s black and white dash can be offset with different coloured inserts for the door handles, vent surrounds and centre console.
The 3.7-metre-long Ignis is smaller than class rivals such as the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, making it easy to park even though the steering is on the slow side.
It’s also priced notably lower – costing the same as the last Ignis offered in 2005. But that doesn’t mean scrimping on standard equipment.
Satellite navigation is a surprising inclusion on the base model, with a 7-inch touchscreen display, rear camera, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration all featuring on the GL and GLX trim grades as standard.
Ignis lives up to its SUV billing with seating that’s higher than found in Suzuki’s compact hatchbacks, the Swift and Baleno.
Cabin plastics are a bit unsophisticated, but the design does a good job of extending the exterior’s youthfulness, and elements like this modern infotainment touchscreen provide a smart touch, and the interface works well.
Despite its small dimensions, there’s good space inside the Ignis. Two adults will find enough headroom and legroom in the rear seats, which vary depending on variant.
The base GL features five seats in total and a 60:40 split rear bench, where the higher-spec GLX is just a four-seater, but the rear bench slides backwards and forwards and has a 50:50 split seatback.
The GLX’s set-up gives it a slightly larger and more flexible boot though the Ignis generally offers less luggage space than its bigger rivals. Cabin storage could also be more generous.
Both Ignis variants use a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine that’s up to the task, though it’s better suited to frugal fuel consumption than zippy performance.
A manual gearbox is available only on the entry-level GL with the option of a CVT auto available for less than the average cost of an automatic transmission selection.
The CVT gearbox is relatively quiet though it doesn’t provide the smoothest or sharpest acceleration.
The auto-only GLX adds features such as daytime running lights, keyless entry and engine start, and 16-inch alloy wheels instead of the 15-inch steel wheels fitted to the GL. The bigger wheels look better, but they do introduce a firmer ride.
We’d buy the Ignis GL. It hits the sweet spot of cost versus equipment by including all of the must-haves, and offering the choice of a manual gearbox if you want it, which does make the Ignis better to drive.
The Ignis isn’t the perfect city car, but it’s easy to appreciate and enjoy its fun approach to design, as well as internal space and standard features that surprise considering the model’s size and price.