2017 Suzuki Ignis review
Alex Rae’s first drive 2017 Suzuki Ignis GL and GLX review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: It’s retro design will be the big appeal for some – and not for others – but it’s also a decent car that’s competitively priced. We’re yet to see the ANCAP rating but if Euro NCAP is anything to go by it might not be great.
2017 Suzuki Ignis
Price $16,990 driveaway (GL manual), $17,990 driveaway (GLX manual) $19,990 driveaway (GLX auto only) Warranty three years/100,000kms Engine 1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 66kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 4400rpm Transmission five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic Drive front Dimensions 3700mm (L), 1660mm (W), 1595mm (H) Seats five (GL), four (GLX) Tare weight 820kg (GL), 865kg (GLX) Fuel tank 32 litres Thirst 4.7L/100km (GL combined cycle), 4.9L/100km (GLX, combined cycle) Fuel petrol
What is it?
After a 10-year hiatus the Suzuki Ignis is back and, as Suzuki claims, it is the first car in a whole new light SUV segment, creating yet another breakaway SUV segment for buyers to consider.
At 3.7m long the Ignis can be considered dimensionally similar to hatchbacks such as the Mazda2 (4.0m), Ford Fiesta (3.9m) and Suzuki’s own Swift (3.8m). Indeed, it is a featherweight compared to already small SUV offerings such as the Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, however, it boosts its SUV credentials amongst this crowd with 180mm of ground clearance – higher than both CX3 and HR-V.
Its pint size doesn’t sacrifice interior space and its lightweight construction – 820kg for GL and 865kg for GLX – helps its small capacity 1.2-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder engine feel peppy in urban driving conditions. But the major selling point for Ignis is its aesthetics and bevy of customisation options available.
The design language of the Ignis has been developed to capture Suzuki’s automotive heritage and produce a car that is retro in appearance. Perhaps some will call it a little hipster, but Suzuki plan to move 400 units a month.
The side profile, and to some degree the front, has been influenced by the 1970s Cervo SS20, while the A pillars borrow from the Swift and the bonnet from the Vitara. Whatever the spiel the look works if funky retro is what you want.
A big part of the Ignis’ appeal is also the interior and exterior customisation. Available as options, side mirror covers and matching small colour ascents on each wheel can be changed for around $80, while the front grill and fog light surrounds can be done for about $300. The great thing is all the options are dealer fitted and there’s no waiting around, so you can update the cars look easily and affordably if you get bored of it. Colour ascents can also be fitted in the interior, and the small design efforts such as matching the rear three-quarter fins to the interior centre console helps blend the colour co-ordination so it doesn’t look tacky.
There have been a few comments on our Facebook page on how the rear-end just doesn’t work. Well, there was one vehicle fitted with an optional rear spoiler and it goes a long way to improve the rear design balance.
The Ignis comes in two grades, GL and GLX, and the base GL gets a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reverse camera, cruise control, power windows and 15-inch steel wheels. Over the GL, the GLX gets 16-inch alloys, DRL front headlights, climate control, tinted windows, keyless push start ignition and sliding and reclining rear seats. Note this last point well – the GL rear seats do not slide or recline and so it is a five-seat car, the GLX rear seat however can slide and it is a four-seat car. So the GLX compromises a seat in the middle for more space in the boot.
We drove both the GL and GLX, however there were no manuals available.
What’s it like inside?
The materials used don’t feel as cheap as the car’s price may suggest and are fitted well, without any loose panels or latches. It’s certainly an improvement on the interior found in the new Suzuki Baleno. The seats are soft and don’t offer much in the way of support but they are comfortable enough – perhaps they won’t be so great on long journeys. The hip-point is quite high, a little too high for me, but the GLX offers lever-action seat height adjustment, which helps. The steering wheel is tilt-adjustable only.
All windows are electric and the only the driver’s side features automatic one-touch down (no auto up).
What’s really noticeable when sitting inside the Ignis however is the ample headroom. I’m almost 6 foot 1 and there’s plenty of headspace, and it carries over to passengers in the rear. Legroom is also ample, front and rear, although this can change in the GLX model, as the rear seat is tilt and slide adjustable. The GLX, because of it, is only a four-seater and the rear seats split 50:50, while the GL is a five-seater and the fixed-base rear seat folds 60:40. The seats don’t fold into the floor but the slide forward adjustment in the GLX is handy here.
Both models feature a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity. It works very well although there’s only one USB port in the vehicle, along with one auxiliary audio input and one 12v-charging socket. The infotainment features satellite navigation and its voice recognition works well (better than most), but you might end up using your Apple or Android built-in maps anyway.
Sound quality from the relatively basic sound system was reasonable and could reach pretty high levels but, adjusting controls for the audio system can be a little annoying as it is all accessed via the touchscreen rather than traditional analogue dials.
The GLX gets digital climate control while the GL has a more basic analogue system and on the hot Melbourne day both models air-conditioning systems worked very well.
What’s it like on the road?
Because of the cars light weight the Ignis gets along pretty well. The 1.2-litre isn’t powerful at 66kW but the CVT transmission is able to keep the ‘gearing’ around the engine’s peak torque of 120Nm on acceleration, and it works well. The CVT isn’t too noisy, unlike some, and although it’s a touch slow off the start with a bit of a whirring it smooths out once cruising. It’s doesn’t do hard acceleration well, but for urban driving it’s sufficient. On the short test loop we hit the freeway and were able to comfortably sit on 100km/h at around 1900rpm with acceptable road noise.
Because the Ignis sits a little high it can feel top heavy when cornering and it’s traditional MacPherson strut suspension will bounce a little over carpark obstacles such as speed humps. The steering is also pretty lightweight, but it is fairly accurate. Brakes were also good.
Vision from the drivers seat is good and the reversing camera makes parking a cinch, which is also helped by a pretty tight turning circle. First impressions are that although it’s nothing flash to drive, it should be a good urban commuter and that extra ride height won’t stop you leaving the sealed roads. We didn’t have a chance to test drive extensively, nor on gravel roads, but we’ll be completing our weeklong test shortly.
How safe is it?
The Suzuki Ignis has not been ANCAP rated however it scored both a 3 and 5 star Euro NCAP rating in 2016. In Euro NCAP testing the base model scored 3 out of 5 stars while a model fitted with Dual Camera Brake Support (DCBS) scored 5 out of 5 stars, however, Australia will not be receiving the DCBS feature. Safety features fitted to the Australian model Suzuki Ignis are six airbags, ABS and ESP. It also features hill hold assist and seatbelt pretensioners.