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Did Suzuki Just Repackage the Grand Vitara To Suzuki Ignis?

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Suzuki is well known for treading its own path with the kind of cars it sells, and the Ignis is no exception. Essentially what the Japanese firm has done is to shrink an SUV to the size of a city car, offering many of the virtues of the former, such as a raised driving position, sliding rear seats and optional four-wheel drive, in a significantly smaller package than you’d usually expect to find them. Suzuki is a Japanese manufacturer with a long history of making small, well packaged cars for urban driving. The Ignis is the latest to continue the tradition. Unlike more conventional cars in its class like the Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10, Mitsubishi ASX, Honda fit and Toyota Vitz, the Ignis is styled like a miniature SUV, with higher-riding suspension, a raised roof and optional four-wheel drive.

The car’s generously boxy dimensions mean occupants have a plenty of space and a good view out. It’s similar in character to small SUVs like the Renault Captur and Ford Ecosport, but smaller and cheaper. It’s one of the smallest four-wheel-drive cars on sale, too, although don’t expect to do any serious off-roading – the Suzuki Jimny is far more capable.

The Ignis is best enjoyed around town, but can hold itself on country lanes, albeit with some body lean and a bit of road noise inside. And if the weather gets bad, four-wheel drive models offer extra peace of mind. However I can’t even figure out how it will pull itself out of some deep shitty holes in African and Indian roads with a limited range engine to just one, a 1.2-litre petrol unit, and buyers can choose either a manual or automatic gearbox. There’s even the option of a ‘mild hybrid’ system that recuperates energy from the brakes and uses it to start the engine and help with low-speed acceleration.

I now most of my followers would wonder if I ever did the test drive of the Ignis, I was afraid to put it to the test but having driven the swift I know Suzuki means business and the Ignis might be packing a punch. In addition it’s hard not to be impressed with the amount of space Suzuki has managed to find in what is still a very small car. The boot is big enough for a large case or a couple of softer bags, and while opting for a four-wheel-drive Ignis means sacrificing some of the luggage capacity though it’s still perfectly adequate.

The rear seats can be configured with either two or three seats, with the former giving you the option of sliding fore and aft to trade legroom for most boot space. Whichever version you choose you’ll find it’s possible to sit one tall adult behind another in relative comfort, with access helped by doors that open 90 degrees. The rear seats can also be folded down, although this does leave a large step in the floor.

In the front storage is hampered by the small glove box, although larger drivers might find their right elbow brushing the door panel, but headroom is good. Some of the very cools features incorporated in the Ignis range from a DAB radio, air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity and five seats. An upgrade will get you to enjoy satnav, a rear view camera, and sliding rear seats (albeit you lose the central seat, turning the Ignis into a four seater). The wheels are also upgraded up to 16-inch alloys. The top range spec SZ5 models feature climate control, keyless entry and start, LED headlights and the Dual Camera Brake Support safety system.

We wouldn’t conclude on the ignis without touching on it fuel economy aspect. The Ignis ships with a naturally aspirated 1.2 litre engine with specifications of 66kW of power at a high 6000rpm and 120Nm of torque at 4400rpm, matched to a six-speed manual or a CVT driving the front wheels. The 16-valve unit features dual injectors on each piston with a higher compression ratio and a timing chain to provide rev-happy performance. It’s not a high horsepower unit but it gets the job done. Remember with such a car no one really care about the thought of its 0-100 km/h performance.

The CVT offers a ‘Low Range’ option, which seems to do little other than rev the engine to no great affect, as well as a ‘Sport’ button that again just lets the engine rev higher. The only drivetrain on offer in Australia is a front-wheel drive, even though all-wheel drive is offered in overseas markets, along with a diesel and petrol/electric hybrid.

Against a claimed average of 4.9 litres per 100km for the CVT equipped versions of the Ignis, we recorded a dash indicated fuel economy figure of 5.4L/100km in the GL and 6.4 in the GLX. The fuel consumption of the manual is rated at 4.7L/100km. The Ignis has a relatively small 32-litre fuel tank capacity and can use 91RON petrol.

On my conclusion I always insist that before you make the decision to buy a car, to use for the next 3-10 yrs you need to research well and understand the dynamics around the car, recall history from the manufacturer not forgetting the use of the car, do need it for daily use, how many mile do you drive in a week month and the maintenance costs.  Enjoy your Ignis thanks to Suzuki.

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