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Suzuki Ignis review

08/12/2020 The automotive equivalent of a puppy – the Suzuki Ignis has been revised and guess what? We love it even more than ever. Okay its chunky looks are not for the shy but it is a design that honours Suzuki’s history while maximising interior space. The Ignis at 3.7 metres long is truly tiny, yet chunky, town car. Our test car is at the high end of the model’s price range at just over €20K – but it has all wheel drive. Ignis pricing starts from just €15,665.

Outside there are subtle tweaks to the bodywork – but the blocky shape launched in 2017 remains pretty much utterly identifiable. It is refreshing (and maybe a bit perplexing for Suzuki) that no other manufacturer has copied the Ignis body form. A glance at any car park will reveal countless SUVs from a myriad of manufacturers – that look like clones of each other. Our test car is particularly striking in bright yellow. We fell in love with the Ignis when we first saw this generations body shape in 2016. Prior to that the Ignis was a quite dull-looking, utilitarian city car. It was a SUV crossover before we knew what that even was!

The facelift sees three new exterior colours join the line up. A new SUV-like 5-spoke front grille and new front and rear bumpers with some faux SUV trim bits and other styling touches. Structurally the body has been reinforced around the boot frame, roof, floor and suspension mount area. Ground clearance is 180mm.

Inside the Ignis changes include: New colour flashes brighten up the cabin dash area. The dash also gets a new instrument cluster. The entry grade Ignis seats five and the higher two grades have seats for four. Three grades are available (SV-3, SV-T and SV-5). The entry model gets six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth, 15-inch wheels, LED headlights, body coloured door mirrors, front electric windows, rear privacy glass and five seat capacity. SZ-T adds rear view camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, wheel arch extensions and individually sliding rear seats and Smartphone Link Display Audio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. SZ5 adds auto air conditioning, satellite navigation, Dual Camera Brake Support, lane departure warning and weaving alert, keyless entry and start, rear electric windows and front fog lamps. The SZ5 5-speed manual gearbox is available with the optional Suzuki AllGrip ‘AUTO’ 4WD system (our test car). Interior space has been really well thought out. The SZ3 has a fixed rear seat (seats three) and the luggage area has a capacity of 267 litres (VDA) with the rear seat in its upright position. On SZ-T and SZ5 models the two individual rear seats can slide 165mm to provide either greater luggage capacity or more rear passenger leg room. Their seat backrests have a two position recline function. The luggage capacity increases to 514 litres with both rear seats folded and can be as high as 1,100 litres if fully loaded to the roof line.

A compact and clever 4WD is an option on the SZ5 manual gearbox model. It uses a simple fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout. It can transfer additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling (instead of a diff). Suzuki knows a thing or two about small four wheel drives. During our testing, the Ignis proved rock solid and delivered excellent traction on slipy, cold December Irish roads. Enhancements to the Ignis AllGrip ‘AUTO’ system include Hill Descent Control and Grip Control. Grip Control activates on slippery surfaces at speeds of less than 30km/h. Once switched on by the driver, it focuses torque on the driven wheels that have grip and will quickly apply braking to the wheel that is spinning. Hill Descent Control activates when switched-on by the driver and when the vehicle is travelling on an incline at under 25km/h (approx.) in first or second gear. The AllGrip system only adds 45kgs to the 2WD car’s weight. 4WD emissions are higher but still impressive at 123g/km CO2 (WLTP).

A new and more efficient 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is standard across the range. Power output is modest, but feels brisk at 83hp and 107nm. This amount of power wouldn’t usually pull the skin off a grape but it is worth noting the Ignis is very light – weighing in from just 895kgs! Top speed of our test car is a licence friendly 165km and 0-100km/h takes 12.8 seconds. The K12D Dualjet mild hybrid engine offers CO2 emissions of 114g/km 2WD (WLTP) and a combined fuel consumption of 5 litres per 100km or 56mpg for the manual model. A new auto (CVT) is optional on T and 5 2WD grades. The Ignis gets a hybrid system powered by a new lithium-ion battery (mounted under the passenger seat) with capacity upgraded to 10Ah from 3Ah to improve energy recovery efficiency. The upgraded 12V Hybrid system is a compact and lightweight unit that incorporates an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG). The ISG is belt driven and assists the engine during vehicle take off and acceleration and also generates electricity through regenerative braking. The hybrid system helps to further reduce fuel consumption by cutting the supply of fuel in the interval between when the car begins to decelerate and when it starts moving again. The engine is stopped for longer periods than conventional stop start systems and operates at speeds of less than 10mph when the drivers foot is removed from the clutch pedal and the gearbox is in neutral (or when the brake pedal is fully pressed on CVT versions). The engine then restarts as soon as the clutch pedal is depressed.

On the road the little Ignis is surprisingly composed, even over speed humps where the original could easily hit its bump-stops I noticed less bottoming-out of the suspension. Ignis has a relatively tall driving position and despite the steering column only adjusting for tilt (up and down) you can get a good and commanding driving position. About tight streets the Ignis is a hoot – it is not as long as a 3-door MINI and a lot narrower too, and the Ignis is only 3mm wider than a FIAT 500! The Suzuki Ignis is fun to drive, massively capable with AllGrip and a hoot to own… Did we say we love it? I’m not sure 🙂 Michael Sheridan

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Michael Sheridan
Michael Sheridan
Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 25 years (& a similar time as a Van of the Year judge). Michael is also an award winning filmmaker. He has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press and is a member of the MMAI (motoring media association of Ireland).
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