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Suzuki Ignis long-term test

The Suzuki Ignis impressed us when we drove it at its local launch thank to its ease of use and spacious interior, but will it hold up over the coming months?

What are we testing: The Suzuki Ignis GLX

Who’s running it: Phil Suriano – Head of Sales

Why are we testing it: The Suzuki Ignis promises a funky light SUV that’s city-friendly with loads of space.

What it needs to do: Be an easy to drive, likeable runaround with a surprising amount of space and storage trickery, tick the gadget and techno boxes, and hold its own against hatchback rivals around town but provide a sense of SUV freedom on weekend road trips and lightly beaten paths.

2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX

Price $18,990 +ORC Warranty three years/100,000kms Engine  1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 66kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 4400rpm Transmission continuously variable automatic Drive front Dimensions 3700mm (L), 1660mm (W), 1595mm (H) Seats four Tare weight 865kg Fuel tank 32 litres Thirst 4.9L/100km Fuel petrol

3 November – Speed limits

Sitting on 100km/h with cruise control, the Suzuki is sitting around 5-6km/h lower. I have run comparisons using my Garman in-car navigation system and the speed that I’m getting from the satellite clearly demonstrates the car is under speed. Hmmm.

On the infotainment system and the steering wheel functions, well, I have to say they are fantastic. They work very well and you only need to use one thumb to use them. That said, switching AM and FM radio can only be done via the touch screen and this can be very fiddly when on the move; but how many people switch frequencies these days?

It’s raining again today in Melbourne and I’m on the freeway driving at 100 (yes, our Phil dictated this update while driving along and so it made very little sense – ah, you’ve got to love voice to text) and once again I need to have, not only my front wipers on, but I also the rear wiper as the water spray off the road sucks onto the back window. This is something I haven’t really noticed on larger wagons I’ve driven.

While the Ignis is fantastic around town, the short wheelbase makes it a twitchy little thing on the freeway at 100km/h. It really does pay to have your wits about you when you’re driving this thing on the freeway, so, first-time drivers pay attention to your driving and forget about Facebook or Instagram for five seconds.

The fuel economy is sensational. I’m realising less than 5.0L/100km. At 100km/h the engine is sitting on around 2000rpm, so, it’s hardly working and, as a result, it’s just sipping at its fuel.


27 October – Size matters

This week I’ve been visiting clients, many of whom are based in the city or suburban locations. Why is this of interest? Well, I’ve found myself having to park the Suzuki in many various locations. These locations range from shopping centres, car parks, side streets and multi-level city parking stations.

If parking is something you would rather leave to others, then the little Suzuki will be a game changer for you. In all scenarios, the Ignis slipped straight into the smallest space all with one easy motion. There was no three-point turns or needing to correctly align yourself. Nope, the car’s maneuverability and compact size made for easy parking.

More important, those tight parking spots where the lines seem to only be as wide as a car are a doddle for the Ignis and I was easily able to open my doors. Is it me or are the car parking spots getting smaller and smaller?

All steering wheel controls are well positioned and are both simple and easy to use – very intuitive. The crusie control is simple – on/off button and then a simple thumb control to set, increase/decrease and resume.

The infotainment can all be managed from the steering wheels controls, including all phone controls. I use an iPhone 7 an, in a couple of simple steps I was connected, with all my main phone features available on screen – simply brilliant.

The dash is very straight forward clean and uncluttered – the speedo is large (not ugly large) and is positioned in the center. To the left is the rev counter and to the right is the on-board management system providing easy to read information when scrolled through, including range, consumption, trip settings.

Fuel – the car runs on the smell of fumes – I have filled it up a few times and always get change from $50 yeah ha.

Dislike:

  • The rear doors on both sides have the rear quarter window pane missing – when I say missing there isn’t space for it as the door frame absorbs that section. What this creates is a sense that there is an object in your blind spot. I thought that I would get use but I haven’t and this section continues to catch my eye.

October 19 – Another opinion

TODAY WE let our Head of Sales, Phil Suriano, loose in our long-term Ignis for his drive from Melbourne to watch the Moto GP at Phillip Island. Here’s what he had to say.

My first impressions were that this is a seriously compact when you first approach it especially when it’s parked next to other, larger cars as was the case for me. But you soon get past that when you get inside the thing and realise just how much room there is in it.

Our test car is predominantly white with a stylish black roof panel although I’m not 100% sold on the red side mirrors. The 10-spoke alloy wheels are black and compliment the car’s design.

Packing – For a weekend away watching the bike races, I had plenty of gear to take to Phillip Island for the Moto GP and was surprised, given the size of the Ignis, by how much boot space it offers. The shape of the boot is deep and tall and I could pack three 80-litre bags in without a problem and even had room for my laptop bag. The other great feature of the boot is that the cargo cover covers the space completely, meaning absolutely no-one can see whether you’ve got stuff stashed in there or not. 

Behind the wheel – I liked the seating position. As the car is slightly raised like a Subaru XV I could basically just step into the car and sit down; no dropping down into the seat – a feature I really like and one that many, ahem, older people like me are looking for in their new car; this is probably the reason the SUV segment has boomed the way it has. The seat itself is cloth with good support in the back. (I am 178cm and 80kg). Seat adjustments are all manual but this doesn’t faze me.

On the road – It drives effortlessly with enough poke to get away from the traffic at the lights even with a bootful of luggage in the back. I haven’t loaded it with people yet which might see it struggle, but how often do you travel anywhere these days with a chockers car. Around town it is hard to keep it to the speed limit as it gets to 50-60km very quickly indeed, in fact, the speedo design isn’t great. The design has 0km/h at six-o’clock and 60km/h at nine o’clock which, until you get used to it can see you travelling quicker than you mean to just because the needle on the speedo isn’t pointing to where you expect it to. More than this, it’s an extremely quiet little car and so I found I needed to adjust my driving; travelling at 60km/h seemed very slow as there was virtually no engine or road noise.

On the freeway – At speed the car was fine – once at the legal limit the cruise control did a great job of hanging on to the set speed. That said, I did find I was being passed by other traffic when I thought I was on the speed limit… testing it out, I had a friend drive at 100km/h and he went past me even with my speedo indicating 100km/h. So, while my seat of the pants tests suggests the speedo is out, I can’t be 100% sure of that.

While I didn’t notice it around town, I found the Ignis wandered a bit on the freeway and was susceptible to tiniest of movements to the steering wheel, like if I leaned over to grab a coffee out of the cupholder; I put this down to the short wheelbase. The flipside is that the steering is nice and direct but the speed of it will take some getting used to for some drivers.

I’m really looking forward to spending more time with the Ignis.

3 October 2017 – Infotainment matters

PRICED FROM $15,990 the Suzuki Ignis offers a lot of bang-for-your-bucks. Granted, you’ll want to pony up to the auto from the entry-spec manual, but that’s only $1000 extra. But unlike some vehicles at this price point which might feel as though they are missing out on features, the Suzuki Ignis ticks many boxes. The fabric seats are comfy and have been supportive on long trips and the rear seats feature slide and recline. There’s also alloy wheels and (cheap) coloured bumper options for easy customisation.

But what buyer’s are really beginning to appreciate, however, is a good infotainment system that can connect to their mobile devices, which the Ignis has. Suzuki has rolled out a pretty standard system across nearly all of its models of a well-sized 7-inch infotainment screen (even the base GL) with good connectivity.

Rather than just throw in a generic, re-skinned infotainment system from a big manufacturer and call it a day, Suzuki has gone the extra mile to incorporate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the system. It’s a smart move as consumers begin to demand such features at any price point. Some cars like BMW charge extra to add the connectivity, although its infotainment system is admittedly well sorted now.

However, for spending under $20,000, the addition of Apple CarPlay is a boon, and it mirrors functions of the phone such as maps, music (Apple music, Spotify, Pandora, etc), and provides easy access to messages and contacts. So far the most used feature in my time with the Ignis has been Apple maps, which will automatically brings up a destination I’ve been looking at inside the home. No more do I need to (usually painfully) scroll through numbers and addresses to dial up a GPS location. That said, the Ignis GLX also gets sat nav as standard, not all Apple CarPlay cars have this.

You can also ask Siri to simply navigate to a certain shop, rather than finding its address and inputting each line.

The sound system is good too, although at the top end it lacks some clarity and the bass can be boomy. Changing songs, when connected to CarPlay, is as easy as asking Siri to change things up. There’s also a multi-function steering wheel with controls for volume, track and phone calls – so no need to be in trouble for fiddling with your device while driving. On that, the phone will lock its screen out when in maps and things like youtube interrupt whatever is currently on the infotainment screen.

Connectivity is via only one USB upfront, there’s none in the rear. It would be nice to have two ports upfront but there is a 12v socket to plug a charger into. There’s also an aux input for older devices.

The infotainment screen also shows up the reverse parking camera (with guidelines) and features Bluetooth and AM/FM radio – no DAB+. The radio signal has so far been strong and without break up where some cars get interference.


17 September 2017 – Around the hills, out to the park and onto the freeway

THIS WEEK the Suzuki Ignis has been sipping as little petrol as possible and moving large objects around as I see just how frugal it can be while making the most of its large-for-its-size interior. I managed an average fuel consumption of 5.4L/100km last week but was sure I could do better, which would be very close to its claimed combined fuel consumption of 4.9L/100km.

As expected the best fuel consumption was when sitting at around 80km/h on longer drives and the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine which is mated to a CVT transmission sat at around 1000rpm. The returned fuel consumption according to the trip computer was 4.4L/100km… Pretty good considering Suzuki’s claimed extra urban fuel consumption for the Ignis is 4.4L/100km, so it’s right on the money. Moving up to 100km/h on the freeway the engine works a little harder and sits at around 1500rpm. Fuel consumption goes up accordingly, but setting the cruise control and keeping off the throttle resulted in a a fuel consumption a little higher, at 4.9L/100km.

Over mixed urban conditions I only managed 5.3L/100km, so not much less than the previous week. The hills around my neighbourhood are what hurts the consumption most as the CVT hunts to higher revs to get the small engine working. But low 5s is a good result, and I’ll consider it case closed on whether it’s worth bothering to try to be so economical; it turns out I can drive without trying to be so frugal while keeping a low thirst anyway.

During the week I did notice the revs unexpectantly creep up a few times, and the cause was my knees bumping the sport mode button on the gearshift. When engaged an S appears next to the drive mode on the dash and it forces the CVT to select a more aggressive ‘gear’. A result of the tighter space up front between the doors.

The weekend presented an opportunity to try and load a wheeled 50L esky while keeping all the seats up. It’s a pretty bulky unit for its size and it couldn’t squeeze in the boot facing forward. However this Ignis GLX gets sliding rear-seats – which the GL models misses out on – and because they slide forward it could fit on its side. Although the passenger sacrifices legroom, it does mean four (yes, the GL seats five while the sliding rear seat GLX only seats four) can stay in the car. It turns out the sliding mechanism provides about an extra 14cm of room. The boot aperture is also reasonably wide (94cm wide, 96cm high) which allows for carrying large objects, which I made the most of by picking up some dining chairs.

With the passenger front and rear seats down a total cargo space of 210cm long and 60cm wide cargo space is afforded… enough for a surfboard or two.

This week’s highlight: The Ignis has become the go-to commuter (or cool little buzz box as a friend calls it) thanks to its easy commuting and easy parking. A trip to the city was painless (and cheap) when driving in and maneuvering into a tight parking space and, on the way home, a last minute call to pickup some dining chairs was possible thanks to the deep and high boot space.


12 September 2017 – The Suzuki Ignis long-term test begins

WHAT WE DISCOVERED in our short time with the Suzuki Ignis during its launch and our subsequent week -long test, is that it’s indeed a funky-retro style city car that offers a surprising amount of space. But a week long test doesn’t rarely offers the time required to put cars to the test on everything from road trips, hauling gear to negotiating city alleys and tight parking squeezes – so we’ll be doing just that with the Ignis over the next three months.

The Ignis has crafted its own segment (that will no doubt be bustling soon enough) as the market’s smallest and lightest SUV that, although tiny compared to nearly any SUV, isn’t quite a hatchback. The target market is young drivers, P platers (GL models from $15,990 +ORC) and inner-city dwellers and we’ll test it as such during our time with the car. But given it will be based in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges and some distance from the city, the little Ignis will be getting a fair workout in a variety of conditions.

The Ignis Suzuki has loaned us is the top model GLX which gets a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reverse camera, cruise control and power windows, 16-inch alloys, DRL front headlights, climate control, tinted windows, keyless push start ignition and sliding and reclining rear seats. Our car has been personalised with white paint, a black roof and red accents, but there’s any number of colour combinations to choose from and, provided you pick a relatively neutral body paint, the bits like side mirrors and grill surrounds can be easily changed at the nearest Suzuki dealership. Specifically, side mirror covers and matching small colour accents on each wheel can be changed for around $80, while the front grill and fog light surrounds can be done for about $300.

So what’s it been like so far? Well I was keen to put its loading length to the test and took advantage of a run to the local hardware store to pick-up some skirting… and the result is impressive. The Ignis is 3700mm long, which is shorter than the Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta and Suzuki Swift hatchbacks, yet it was able to accommodate several pieces of 2700mm timber. That leaves just one metre for the headlights, engine, firewall and tailgate. With such efficient design it’s no wonder Suzuki has managed to shave the total weight of the Ignis GLX to 865kg (and the GL weighs just 820kg). This of course helps fuel consumption and performance from the small 1.2-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. There’s no turbocharged unit in the range, not that it needs it.

Performance (66kW/120Nm) is practical and, although lacking sharp throttle response found in some hatchback competitors, it is enough for keeping up in traffic and chugging up the many hills that dot the Dandenong Ranges (and there’s some steep ones). The transmission is a CVT but it doesn’t suffer the whir (or whine) of some, however I’ve caught myself out a few times sticking the shifter to the bottom gate to select drive which is actually low gear and revs out quickly. Despite a bit of revving and varied driving the first 32 litre tank of unleaded I exhausted managed 5.4L/100km, about 10 per cent off Suzuki’s claimed 4.9L/100km combined fuel consumption. I’m determined to get it as close to the claimed as possible.

Inside, the driver’s seat sits a little high (although height adjustable) and the steering wheel lacks tilt-and-reach adjustment, but overall it’s not hard to get comfortable and the relatively basic but apt for its price seats have been ergonomic and comfortable. You might get somewhat distracted inside, however, as the colour ascent from the outside flows in and contrasts against white and dark plastics. It matches the bright personality Suzuki has achieved with the Ignis though and touches like Apple CarPlay and reverse camera with guidelines as standard elevate the appeal and value.

I’m yet to explore the cabin space in every seat and I’ll leave that for another week, but so far the Ignis has proved a practical runabout that surprised with its loading capability. Given the GLX we’ve got is equipped with sliding and tilting rear-seat as standard, I’m looking forward to exploring the boot space and storage options further.

This week’s highlight: The Ignis has been delightfully less heavy on my wallet at the bowser than most test cars recently, and paying $38 for almost 600km range is welcome relief. Most surprising was the loading length which meant I didn’t need to get a ute or strap stuff to roof racks.

Next week: The Ignis will be subjected to storage space scrutiny as I figure out just how much cargo it can handle. Once stripped out again the right foot will be given orders to take it easy and see just how economical the small four-pot can be.


  • A Thompson

    Its really just an updated Renault 4. I had one and looking at the Ignis I can see multiple similarities.

  • Monty

    I wonder a lot about speedos. Either a lot of them read high or a lot drivers are really driving under the limit by several kph. I tested my speedo with my old gps. It was about 3 kph slow. Worst offenders? BMW’s.

  • Jan Kotlář

    Hello, how satisfied are you with the brightness of LED lights at night? I mean the intensity, the reach of the light beam compared to the conventional halogen lights … Thank you.

Practical Motoring

Practical Motoring