Now facelifted, the Suzuki Ignis is as characterful as ever. However, there’s polishing to be done.
Suzuki has a knack for building likeable, practical small cars that are fun to drive with some boasting added quirkiness in terms of exterior and interior design. Case in point: the S-Presso (tested in July) and its similarly boxy bigger brother, the Ignis.
Revealed as early as 2015 at the Tokyo Motor Show, the original Ignis arrived on local shores two years later and, in August 2017, CAR road-tested the newcomer in a crossover comparative against its already well-established peers, the Volkswagen Cross Up! and Renault’s Sandero Stepway. The Ignis impressed and ranked second with a score of 78/100, just one point shy of the German’s tally. The automaker has now handed the pocket SUV a facelift and, recently, a top-spec manual derivative arrived at the CAR office for testing.
Five years into its lifecycle, the Ignis looks as fresh as the day it was unveiled. The most notable exterior updates come in the shape of a revised grille, where four chrome-finished square slots flank the “S” emblem; a redesigned lower front bumper which, in GLX guise, incorporates foglamps; and a more pronounced faux skid plate. Enhancing the Ignis’ SUV-like styling, another skid plate has been added to the rear. Our test unit was dressed in eye-catching Uptown Red Metallic, which can be had with a black contrast roof. Other paint options include Silky Silver Metallic, Glistening Grey Metallic and Tinsel Blue Pearl Metallic, which comes with a white roof. Side decals and body mouldings, and a roof spoiler can be specified to further personalise the Ignis.
However diminutive its dimensions, the Ignis’ cabin is surprisingly spacious and offers an ample amount of room to seat four adult occupants in comfort. Headroom fore and aft measures 993 and 846 mm respectively, while rear kneeroom is rated at 686 mm. One team member did mention that the pews could do with some added lower-back support. Boot capacity is spacious enough to lug around daily shopping or a couple of weekend bags.
In GLX specification, the Ignis is filled to the brim with convenience items. In addition to the range’s standard Bluetooth functionality, USB and auxiliary ports, the top-of-the-line example now comes equipped with Suzuki’s Smart-phone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA) infotainment setup. The seven-inch touchscreen is easy to navigate and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A physical dial for the volume would have been appreciated, though, as the touch-sensitive slider isn’t as user friendly. Fortunately, sound can be adjusted via the rake-and-reach multifunction tiller.
Automatic climate control and a rearview camera, supplemented by park-distance sensors, complete the package. Two airbags and a duo of Isofix mounts fitted to the rear bench are among the safety equipment. However, a few of CAR’s testers noted some plastics do feel a touch flimsy, with one member preferring the Figo’s fitments, saying the Ford feels like a more premium product.
Coupled with a slick five-speed manual ’box, the 1,2-litre four-pot is peppy. Although the naturally aspirated unit’s outputs of 61 kW/113 N.m fall short of its rivals’ listed in the Match-up, they’re sufficient as the Ignis weighs a lithe 851 kg. The clutch is light and does take some getting used to, as its travel is long before any pressure is felt.
Numerous team members felt that, with small tweaks, the Ignis’ in-town driving manoeuvrability could be improved, particularly the slow, somewhat vague steering. The team did, however, commend the Ignis for its ride quality. Fitted with a set of 15-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 65-profile rubber and sporting 180 mm of ground clearance, it’s really comfortable. The MacPherson strut front-torsion beam rear suspension soaks up road irregularities with aplomb.
As with other Suzuki’s we’ve tested, the Ignis’ consumption impressed. On our mixed-use fuel route, the city crossover sipped a mere 0,2 L/100 km more unleaded than what the Japanese automaker claims. Match this figure and you should be able to extract 600 km from the 32-litre tank.
The Ignis’ stopping time did disappoint, averaging 3,31 seconds during our stringent 10-stop emergency braking test over a distance of 44,22 metres.
With a market increasingly skewed towards crossovers, it was a smart move from Suzuki to introduce the Ignis here. It’s good value for money, has a roomy interior and, in GLX trim, offers loads of standard kit. Some elements could do with attention – most crucially, braking performance – and hopefully these will be addressed when a brand-new model arrives. That said, the facelifted Ignis remains true to the brand’s characteristics of like-ability and practicality in a value-for-money package.
See Full Suzuki Ignis price and specs here