By Ian Strachan
Suzuki’s latest crossover vehicle – the compact Ignis – is testament to the fact that four-wheel drive vehicles don’t have to be big gas guzzlers. The impressively frugal Ignis shows that all-wheel drive vehicles can be small but roomy, and with all the specification of a much bigger vehicle writes Ian Strachan.
The Ignis uses light, high-tensile steel to keep weight, and therefore fuel consumption, down to a minimum. But it sits quite high on the road, giving it a purposeful ready-for-anything stance.
It is remarkably frugal thanks to an innovative system which generates and stores electricity during braking, helping both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In the 1.2 litre version I tested, fuel consumption comes in at a miserly 65.7 miles to the gallon in mixed driving.
The Ignis I tested was powered by the 1.2 Dualjet 90 bhp diesel engine, which as well as good economy and range, has sprightly performance.
To give you optimum four-wheel-drive performance, the Ignis comes with Suzuki’s AllGrip all-wheel drive technology which includes electronic stability, hill descent and hill hold controls. And despite being quite high on the road it still looks the part. Purposeful 16 inch black alloy wheels, silver roof rails and wheel arch extensions make the Ignis look confident and capable.
The engine, linked to a five speed manual gearbox, never feels overworked or in need of a sixth cog. It’s as brisk as you need and will take just over 11 seconds to propel you from 0-60 mph.
TheIgnis has a crisp, well laid out and comfortable interior with a splash of colour on the door handles. It’s large, light and roomy. Seats are comfortable and supportive and instruments are clear and well laid out. The whole of the interior feels spacious, pleasant and light – a nice place to be.
The Ignis gives you a stable and safe ride, with little or no body roll on cornering despite its height. The car feels glued to the road, but still provides light handling and driver involvement.
My only criticism – and Suzuki is not alone in this – is that the active lane departure assist can’t tell the difference between white lines and tarmac seams in the road, so on some stretches you are constantly fighting the steering wheel. If you want to switch this feature off you have to do so every single journey. It’s a good idea but the technology isn’t sophisticated enough yet.
Equipment levels on the Ignis in the SZ5 trim level are high, with all-round electric windows and door mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, automatic air conditioning, navigation system with touch screen display, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and USB sockets, rear parking camera, cruise control steering wheel-mounted controls, 50/50 split rear seat, removable double luggage floor, automatic hedlamps and front fog lamps. The Ignis 1.2 in SZ5 trim level comes at £13,999.
All in all this is a good package which looks the part and can certainly turn heads despite its compact size.