Long-term test (Introduction): Suzuki Ignis 1,2 GLX Manual
Upon its arrival, the Suzuki Ignis – sporting Blue Pearl metallic paintwork, a contrasting roof-mounted rear spoiler and gloss black alloys – instantly brought some fun to the CAR garage. The white-hued grille and foglamp surrounds, plus side decals, add to its distinct styling but I would, if given the choice, leave this trim option box unchecked. Divisive stickers aside, this Ignis in top-spec GLX trim certainly looks the part.
It is not often a car with a sub-R200 000 sticker price is offered with so many extras. For example, the wheel caps, airvent louvres and centre console can be ordered in an array of colours. Even a stowage box mounted to the roof rails can be specified when more packing space is required (road trip, anyone?). Page through the brochure and you’ll see the list goes on.
At R199 900, the city crossover in manual guise is a bit more expensive than before. The R3 000 premium is due to Suzuki’s newly added Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA) system. The seven- inch touchscreen infotainment unit is a cinch to use and includes features such as smartphone mirroring and a rear-view camera. I’m especially fond of the latter as the Ignis’ broad C-pillars can hinder outward visibility.
The only gripe I have with the updated SLDA unit is that its touch-sensitive volume controls take a while to respond at times. Fortunately, the volume can be adjusted via the multifunction steering wheel, too.
Thanks to its 180 mm of ground clearance and 15-inch wheels wrapped in 175/65 rubber, the city crossover handles road imperfections with aplomb. It was effortless to traverse a short bit of gravel leading to a scenic spot on its first excursion. I also realised the Ignis is quite composed in bends, exerting minimal body roll, even with its higher ride height and boxy design.
The free-revving 1,2-litre three-cylinder mill is coupled with a slick five-speed manual ‘box and produces 61 kW and 113 N.m of torque, which is ample when you consider its 851 kg mass.
So far, the Ignis has left a good first impression. But will this last over the remaining five months? I’ve no doubt.
After 1 month
Current Mileage: 901 km
Average fuel consumption: 5,80 L/100 km
We like: vast spec list; upgarded infotainment system; peppy engine
We don’t like: those side decals
Long-term test (Update 1): Suzuki Ignis 1,2 GLX Manual
For stop-and-go driving, however, the low mass and frugal engine should work well over the months to keep its consumption minimal.
After 2 months
Current Mileage: 1 348 km
Average fuel consumption: 6,15 L/100 km
Long-term test (Update 2): Suzuki Ignis 1,2 GLX Manual
While driving home in traffic one afternoon, I had a unique occurrence that I’d never experienced in a test car before: a fellow Ignis driver in the oncoming lane smiled at me in a manner indicating camaraderie and approval. It shows the possibility of the Ignis developing a following that could morph into a close-knit community in the coming years. Of course, only time will tell.
In the greater scheme of South African car sales, the Ignis is a solid but not spectacular performer, moving 120 to 160 units a month. However, it’s been on sale long enough to have become a commonly seen car, especially in Cape Town where CAR is based. The Ignis boasts impressive standard equipment at the sub-R200 000 price category – no surprise, then, that it sells decently – and those happen to be features I use daily.
Keyless entry is difficult to live without once you’ve gotten used to it, which is why it’s my standard means of entry with the Ignis. What’s annoying, however, is you can’t configure whether
you want all of the doors to lock upon pressing the button on the handle, which means you have to remember to press twice when travelling with passengers. For those confused about keyless access for the boot, you’ll find the button positioned to the right of the handle. I mention this because it’s easy to miss.
Android Auto is a feature I’ve been using frequently, mainly to access Google Maps. It works flawlessly and the only issue with plugging in my smartphone is there’s nowhere to safely store it; it simply dislodges itself from the lower compartment in the centre con- sole. Often the solution is popping it into the glovebox and trailing the cable through the shut-line.
After 3 months
Current Mileage: 2 045 km
Average fuel consumption: 6,61 L/100 km
We like: great standard features
We don’t like: nowhere to safely store big smartphones
Long-term test (Update 3): Suzuki Ignis 1,2 GLX Manual
One of the biggest challenges for designers of boutique city cars like the Ignis (and the Volkswagen Up! and Smart ForTwo/-Four) is to engineer in a feeling of solid perceived quality, plus an interesting design, within the constraints of a tight budget. The cabin is an area of a city car where manufacturers can quite easily save money by limiting features and dulling down materials.
Despite the Ignis still being a budget car, it blends fairly basic plastic finishes with interesting coloured highlights and grained textures to impressively lift the ambience (the materials do become somewhat simpler towards the back of the cabin).
The 2 500 km I’ve spent in the Ignis has not shown in any obvious wear and tear, and the cockpit has remained impressively rattle-free (although budget cars do tend to stay quite solidly constructed because there are very few panels that could work themselves loose).
There are some areas that could be improved, however. The electric window switches feel a tad flimsy, especially in comparison to those controlling the climate control system. The latter click with a satisfying robustness.
Another worthwhile tweak would be the addition of a leather-trimmed steering wheel. While the controls on the Ignis’ tiller are easy to use, the Volkswagen Up! has shown what a difference a hide-covered item could make to your perception of quality in a vehicle, especially considering it’s the main touchpoint.
That could be extended to the gearshifter, too, to accompany the satisfyingly mechanical feel the box has as your slide from ratio to ratio.
After 4 months
Current Mileage: 2 505 km
Average fuel consumption: 6,57 L/100 km
We like: unique cabin design
We don’t like: plastic steering wheel
Long-term test (Update 4): Suzuki Ignis 1,2 GLX Manual
The little four-pot provides a bit of a challenge on the open road, where inclines means often changing down to third to maintain mo- mentum. That’s true of all city cars, certainly, but an undulating road does affect the overall fuel consumption. A recent trip from Cape Town to Greyton and back has seen the average figure deteriorate slightly, from 6,57 to 6,66 L/100 km.
After 5 months
Current Mileage: 3 258 km
Average fuel consumption: 6,66 L/100 km
a five-speed manual gearbox. The Ignis makes this work because it weighs just 851 kg. In low-speed extra-urban driving environments (where this Ignis spent most of its time), it’s quite invigorating to pilot. The small engine proved decently frugal at an average 6,58 L/100 km which is close to its claimed combined fuel consumption of 6,10 L/100 km.
As a result, it requires precision overtaking. The absence of cruise control is surprising as this is the flagship model. Regardless, the Ignis proved to be capable on a flat open road thanks especially to its cossetting ride quality.
After 6 months
Current Mileage: 7 378 km
Average fuel consumption: 6,58 L/100 km
We like: funky design; great daily usability
We don’t like: engine lacks low-down torque