Expect to be surprised and delighted when the highly anticipated Suzuki Ignis reaches South African roads in June.
The small crossover with the big heart brings a breath of fresh air and innovation to the local small car market by linking the wieldy agility of a city runabout to the robust styling and stance of an all-terrainer.
First shown at the 2015 Paris Motor Show, the Ignis has since become a popular addition to the Suzuki small car family in Europe. It has earned several accolades since then, including being voted a runner-up in the World Urban Car Award earlier this year.
The Ignis adds a further string to Suzuki Auto South Africa’s compact car bow, further strengthening the brand’s reputation for fresh and exciting products that overdeliver on expectations, while offering a potent mix of cost-saving efficiency, high comfort and safety levels, and value for money.
At just 3,7 metres long and 1,69 metres wide, the proportions of the Ignis express agility, while the generous 180 mm ground clearance confirms that the newcomer isn’t scared to get its boots dirty.
The new-generation, modular chassis underpinning the Ignis contributes to the crossover’s low mass, while also offering a rigid platform for the suspension. The result is enhanced ride comfort and engaging handling.
Powered by the well-known K12M 1,2-litre four-cylinder engine already familiar from current Suzuki models such as the Swift 1.2, the Ignis benefits from a lightweight 850 kg kerb mass to achieve sprightly performance, together with impressive fuel economy.
Offered in GL and range-topping GLX versions, the Ignis features a modern, surprisingly spacious and well-equipped interior. Despite its compact size, there is no shortage of legroom or headroom, while the luggage compartment offers 260 litres of cargo space, expandable to 469 litres with the rear seatback folded flat.
Standard items across all models include electric windows, remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric power steering, and an MP3-compatible CD sound system with USB port and 12V accessory power socket.
Safety is equally comprehensively addressed via dual front airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes, side impact protection beams, Isofix child seat anchors and child-proof rear door locks.
The new Suzuki Ignis is an ultracompact crossover that combines the dynamic benefits of a wieldy lightweight hatchback with the stance and clearance of an all-terrainer.
The short overhangs, relatively long wheelbase, high roofline and raised ride height create a vehicle that’s highly manoeuvrable on and off the road, while offering the elevated seating and enhanced visibility more typical of an SUV.
The shape is chunky and muscular, with wide tracks that position the wheels at each corner of the vehicle. Pronounced wheel arches, a high waistline and a relatively narrow glass aperture add a sense of purpose, while the broad C-pillar adds further visual muscle.
The design is unmistakably Suzuki, but reflecting styling influences drawn from previous-generation Suzukis, as well as current models, while also pointing the way to Suzuki’s design future. The newcomer’s lines are cleanly drawn, creating an emphatic, unequivocal identity.
The bold, almost square headlights, with their striking daytime running lights, frame a narrow, aggressive grille, while the deep, integrated front bumper is home to large air intakes, as well as front fog lamps on GLX models.
In profile, the pronounced sill, bold wheel arches and blacked out B-pillars draw attention. The same goes for the broad, distinctive C-pillar, which incorporates a slit-like design that echoes the design heritage first established by the likes of the Suzuki Cervo and the Fronte Coupé compact cars.
The rear treatment is tidy, thanks to a neatly integrated rear bumper, together with large, trapezoidal tail light clusters and a smooth, full-width rear screen. Slim roof rails, a high-mounted third brake light and a bee sting aerial complete the Ignis picture.
The clean, uncluttered approach adopted for the exterior design of the Ignis is also applied for the cabin, which looks and feels much roomier than the Suzuki’s outside dimensions suggest. It’s a contemporary space, with the two-tone black and white treatment creating a youthful, modern ambience.
The top half of the dashboard is finished in a smart black, while the lower sections are clad in contrasting white. The same contrasting black/white finish is employed for the door panels.
A CD receiver with FM/AM tuner is mounted in the centre of the dash, while the air-conditioning controls are grouped together and mounted in the centre stack.
The inside door grips and the centre console panels are finished in bright colours – including red, blue and titanium – depending on the exterior colour. The centre console features the same slit-like design element featured on the car’s C-pillars.
The dashboard, with its rectangular vents in the centre and spherical vents at either end, is central to the cabin’s uncluttered look. The instruments are located in a compact binnacle directly ahead of the driver.
The instrument binnacle is framed by a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, which is equipped with multifunction controls for the sound system and Bluetooth telephony in the case of the GLX model.
The rear bench seat is split 60:40, and folds flat forwards to increase boot space. And yet, even with the seatback in the upright position, the Ignis still swallows up to 260 litres of luggage. Fold the rear seatback flat, and cargo capacity increases to 469 litres.
Additional storage is provided by two front and one rear cup holder, while there are bottle holders in both the front and the rear doors. A storage box is located at the base of the centre console.
The new Ignis lives up to Suzuki’s high safety standard, thanks to a combination of innovative construction, and an extensive list of active and passive safety features.
The new crossover’s construction features Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), which includes crumple zones that efficiently absorb the impact of a collision, a chassis that efficiently distributes the impact energy, and a rigid passenger safety cell.
The active and passive measures include dual SRS airbags in front, door-mounted side impact protection beams, and three-point inertia reel seatbelts front and rear. IsoFix child seat anchors and childproof rear door latches are included, too.
The Ignis is fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes, incorporating electronic brake distribution (EBD) and electronic braking assistance (EBA). A security alarm and immobiliser is another standard feature across all models.
All Ignis models are powered by the same, familiar 1,2-litre engine. The K-Series four-cylinder unit is already a popular fixture in current Suzuki models, including the Swift 1.2.
In the case of the Ignis, the normally aspirated, 1 197 cc motor benefits from the crossover’s low kerb mass. With only 850 kg to propel, the engine’s maximum power output of 61 kW at 6 000 r/min translates into a generous power-to-weight ratio of 71,65 kW/ton. The maximum torque output of 113 Nm is reached at 4 200 r/min.
The standard transmission is a five-speed manual design, driving the front wheels. However, there’s also the option of Suzuki’s so-called Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), which links the convenience of a self-shifter to the efficiency of a manual gearbox.
The wieldy character and sure-footed handling of the Ignis is achieved by a combination of short overhangs, a relatively long wheelbase and a suspension system fine-tuned for both comfort and response.
The front suspension combines MacPherson struts and coil springs with gas-filled dampers and an anti-roll bar, while the rear set-up makes use of a space-efficient torsion beam, combined with coil springs and an anti-roll bar.
The Ignis employs a rack-and-pinion steering system with electric power assistance. The turning circle is a mere 9,4 metres, which contributes to overall manoeuvrability and agility. The crossover runs on 15-inch steel or alloy wheels, depending on model, while 175/65 R15 tyres are standard across the range.
With a kerb mass of only 850 kg (860 kg in the case of the AMT version), the Ignis offers sprightly and responsive dynamics.
The manual-transmission model accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 11,6 sec, while top speed is 165 km/h. Fitted with the automated manual transmission, the Ignis gets to 100 km/h from rest in 13,0 sec, while top speed is 155 km/h.
The fuel-injected K12M engine is an economy star, allowing the Ignis to achieve an impressive combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,1 litres/100 km in the case of manual gearbox models, and an even more frugal 4,9 litres/100 km for the automated manual model.
The Suzuki Ignis range consists of three models, spanning two specification levels, and two transmission choices. The efficient 1,2-litre four-cylinder engine is employed across all three variants.
Ignis 1.2 GL Manual
The Ignis GL may be most affordable model of the range, but there’s nothing entry-level about its execution.
The exterior features colour-coding for the front and rear bumpers, the door handles and the exterior mirrors, while the grille is finished in contrasting black. The A and B-pillars are blacked out, adding to the small SUV’s sporty appearance.
The Ignis GL runs on 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers. A full-sized spare wheel is standard.
The interior is comprehensively equipped and features a smart black-and-white execution that is both distinctive and contemporary. A dash of colour is provided by centre console finishers and the interior door grips, which are finished in titanium.
The front bucket seats and a 60:40 split rear bench seat offer comfortable seating for four or even five occupants. Head restraints are standard front and rear.
A soft-grip three-spoke steering wheel frames a compact instrument binnacle dominated by a large speedometer.
The Ignis GL’s standard convenience features include electrically operated front and rear windows, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, remote central locking, and manual air-conditioning with an integrated pollen filter.
A MP3-compatible CD receiver with FM/AM tuner is integrated into the centre of the dashboard, and is linked to a pair of front loudspeakers. A USB socket and 12V power outlet are also provided.
The Ignis GL cabin makes provision for plenty of storage. In addition to the 260 litre luggage compartment, there are two front cup holders and one rear cup holder, as well as a pair of bottle holders front and rear.
Oddment storage is provided by a box at the base of the centre stack, while there is a glove compartment ahead of the front passenger. The front door panels also incorporate storage pockets, while the front passenger seat is fitted with a seatback pouch.
The Ignis GL is equipped with a full complement of safety features, starting with dual front airbags, front and rear head restraints, and inertia seat belts for front and rear occupants. The middle seating position on the rear bench seat is fitted with a two-point lap belt.
ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD and EBA are standard, as are IsoFix child seat anchors, and child-proof rear door locks. The GL is also fitted with a security system comprising an immobiliser and an alarm.
Ignis 1.2 GLX Manual and 1.2 GLX AMT
The Ignis GLX is offered with a choice of five-speed manual gearbox, or a five-speed Automated Manual Transmission. The latter combines the efficiency of a manual gearbox with the convenience of automated gear changes without the need for a conventional clutch.
The GLX specification level includes everything offered in the GL model, but adds a further level of comfort and convenience, as well as enhanced exterior appeal.
From the outside, the most obvious difference is the fitment of 15-inch piano-black alloy wheels, while wheel arch extensions and roof rails emphasise the crossover’s chunky looks. The black grille gets chrome accents, too.
The GL’s halogen headlights make way for projector-type LED designs with daytime running lights, while front fog lamps are incorporated into the integrated front bumper. The exterior mirrors include turn signal repeaters.
Inside, a start/stop button confirms that the GLX offers keyless starting, while the air-conditioning features fully automatic climate control. The climate control switchgear is housed in an innovative, cylindrical housing.
The audio system retains the CD receiver with FM/AM tuner, but gains rear loudspeakers and front tweeters for a total of six loudspeakers.
The instrument binnacle of the both models ads a rev counter to the left of the large speedometer, while a multi-information display is located on the right.
The latter offers a raft of information, including instant and average fuel consumption, driving range and average speed. It also incorporates a digital clock, and a gear shift indicator in the case of the manual gearbox model. The AMT version has a gear position indicator instead.
Also included in the GLX specification is Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and audio streaming. Thus, the three-spoke steering wheel gains multifunction controls for the audio system and Bluetooth-based telephony.
The black-and-white dashboard and colour accents remain the same, but the GLX’s air vent louvers, gear shift knob and interior door handles feature silver and chrome finishes, compared to the GL’s black execution.
Ergonomics are enhanced through the addition of height adjustment to the driver’s seat, while rear park distance control is another standard GLX feature.
A notable option is a centrally mounted, full-colour touch-screen display, which can be linked to iOS and Android smartphones, and then allows intuitive access to compatible apps such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An SD card slot can be used to deliver map data, which enables on-board, real-time navigation.
The new Suzuki Ignis is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a two-year/30 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km/12 month intervals.