What is it?
Back in the early noughties, Suzuki rolled out a five-door machine, with a few angles and higher than normal ride height.
It was called the Ignis and was offered for a few years before it made a quiet exit. There was also a Holden version named Cruze.
Roll forward a decade and the name has been resurrected. It’s not unlike the original, being small, a little awkwardly proportioned, with a highish stance.
Earlier this year Ignis received a bit of a freshen up. Available in GL or GLX guise, it’s provided in just a couple of colours, with three new shades including a metallic Khaki — the colour that clad the GLX we drove.
What’s it cost?
GL comes in a choice of manual or auto.
In Pearl White it’s $18,990 driveaway, with metallic paint $595 more. GLX is $20,990 driveaway and auto only.
It’s the sort of car that for some people of ahem a “certain age” will make them think of Magilla Gorilla and his “spare spare car”.
It’s big/small enough to be folded into the back pocket.
Ignis is a pert 3700mm long, with a squared off 1660mm x 1595mm in width and height.
Somehow the Ignis packs in a wheelbase of 2345mm.
Wheels and tyres are cookie cutters, at 175/60/16 on the GLX.
The alloys look dark graphite grey in some light, jet black in others.
The defining exterior features are a pair of shapely hips that flare, with nicely styled wheel arches that roll around to a restyled rear bumper.
The front has a blacked out grille, chromed inserts, and a lightly refreshed bumper as well.
The wheel arches have room to fit bigger rubber too.
Inside the Ignis is a cool looking mix of black and white cloth trim, with rear pews that stand a little higher than the front (watch the head as you step in), surprising leg room, and a plain but not unpleasantly styled dash.
The lower half of the cabin is in black, with a light grey material above the windowline, complemented by a bone coloured strip that splits the dash horizontally.
Sounds and map info come from the non-DAB equipped 8.0-inch touchscreen, and info for drivers can be found in a monochrome LCD screen in the instrument binnacle.
Fuel level and economy, clock, range, and trip info are displayed here and accessed via a steering wheel tab or a button to the right.
There is a pod that sits below the touchscreen with aircon controls, plus 12V and USB sockets below.
The centre console houses all three cup holders and there’s a bottle holder in each door.
Storage space at the rear is, by design and necessity, is small, starting at 264 litres and rising to a decent 1104 litres with the seats folded and packed to the roof.
What’s it go like?
Ignis is powered by a 1.2-litre Dualjet four, with 66kW and 120Nm of torque.
The auto is a CVT and straight away, it sounds like a bad combination.
In favour of the Ignis, it has a lightweight body, starting at just 865 kilos, with a tank that holds 32 litres.
Add in a average driver and it’s all still under a tonne — easily.
What this means, is that acceleration isn’t rapid, overtaking is barely a thing — yet it’s still a bundle of fun to drive.
Why? Because the Ignis is an absolute hoot to pedal, due to the fact it requires some driving skills.
That’s right, skill.
Planning is required for every aspect of what’s involved in driving the Ignis.
Plan when to exit an intersection, plan which lane to be in for freeway and highway driving, plan for lane changes due to traffic flow.
Suzuki is a brand that builds cars that are perfect for drivers just beginning their experience on the road and the Ignis fits this role perfectly.
This includes suspension that’s on the softish side, but compliant enough for most conditions.
The brakes require little pressure, yet the travel tells the driver precisely how much more or less is required to stop.
The steering is the same; a new driver will quickly learn that a few turns lock to lock in a small car can have it almost — but not quite — perform a roadside 180.
There is enough feedback through the tilt only column to get an idea of what is required to move from lane to lane.
However, there is no Blind Spot Alert, which means the wing mirrors need to be used.
There is no Rear Cross Traffic Alert or parking sensors, so a driver has to careful in judging reverse progress, while enjoying the nimbleness of the Ignis.
It also wanders and wobbles in light breezes, the CVT whines like a cold dog locked outside, and it’s not the smoothest of transmissions either — but it does what it’s designed to do.
Along for the ride is great economy.
A final figure of 5.5L/100km and a near 500km drive (with a expected range hovering around 100km) means cheap running costs, along with a five-year warranty, unlimited kilometres, and a capped price service program.
What we like?
- Funky good looks
- Plenty of room for four
- Fun factor is strong with this one
What we don’t like?
- Won’t be considered by many as a good car
- CVT could do with some refinement
- Can only wonder how the turbo four from the Swift Sport would go, and with fatter rubber
The bottom line?
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that put a smile on your face.
And so it is with the Suzuki Ignis. Without any expectations, you won’t be disappointed.
The Ignis is no rocket, but that’s not the idea. Nor is it the most good-looking car, but that’s not the point.
It’s a good, honest, car that’s been designed for a purpose and fills that role without frills — while delivering that immeasurable sales factor — fun!
CHECKOUT: Suzuki Swift Sport: Nip and a tuck
CHECKOUT: Suzuki Vitara Turbo: smaller is betterer
Suzuki Ignis GLX, priced from $20,990 driveaway
- Looks - 8/108/10
- Performance - 4/104/10
- Safety - 6/106/10
- Thirst - 9/109/10
- Practicality - 7/107/10
- Comfort - 7/107/10
- Tech - 6/106/10
- Value - 8/108/10