Suzuki’s diminutive new SUV hits the mark
Is it an SUV, or a crossover or something? Whatever it is, you can see Suzuki’s DNA all over it. This looks a world away from the rather graceless Ignis of old, and you’re left in no doubt that Suzuki has a strong heritage in building small SUVs that have broad appeal.
Whatever it is, we can certainly agree it’s small, about the size of city cars like the Fiat 500. Yet it looks like it can cope with far more than city streets. Particularly so when you add in, as here, the four-wheel drive Allgrip system.
Such a vehicle shouldn’t need a big engine, but you might wonder if the 1.2-litre petrol engine, with its 89bhp, is quite up to the job. There are no other engine options, bar a mild hybrid variant. But the new Ignis weighs just 920kg, or an even more waif-like 855kg if you go for base all-wheel drive spec.
Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SHVS SZ5 Allgrip
Price: £13,500 (est)
Engine: 1.2-litre, four cylinders, petrol
Power: 89bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 88lb ft at 4400rpm
Gearbox: Five-speed automatic
Top speed: 103mph
Economy: 60.1mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 106g/km
It is enough. It’s not more than enough, and a turbo might not have gone amiss, but if you use the rev band then you’ll definitely get there. Like most Suzuki units, the engine quite likes being revved and the five-speed transmission is pretty slick. The rest of the package depends more on how you see the Ignis.
If you’re looking for a hot hatch then the vague steering and rather wallowy cornering behaviour might be a disappointment. But if you’re looking for a car which is small enough and short enough to be fairly agile and which can deliver a soft, comfortable ride then the Ignis does the business. Bearing in mind that the vehicle is designed to go off-road, if not exactly up goat tracks, then it seems about right. Impressively, you get hill descent control as standard too.
In the cabin it’s reasonably quiet unless you start to really rev the engine. Ride is perfectly acceptable, and all four occupants will be well catered for. There’s a surprising amount of space in there, including more than enough headroom and kneeroom and also a spacious boot at 260 litres.
We like the Apple CarPlay and the two-tone interior, but that only partly ameliorates the rather low-rent materials used and the fairly basic Pioneer touchscreen. There are three trim levels, SZ3, SZ-T and as tested here the SZ5. However, all three get air con, Bluetooth and a DAB radio.
We’d probably go for the SZ-T since it gives the aforementioned plus a rear-view camera and 16 inch alloys. We’d dispense with the all-wheel drive unless you really felt you needed either the reassurance on wet roads or you did want something that could go that bit further off-road.
At the moment we’re guessing on prices, but if they’re about the £10,500 to £13,500 then this looks like a solid bargain next to small SUVs like the Fiat Panda 4×4. It’s an accomplished and tough-looking little thing that is worth more than a cursory look.