- Barebones design offers a functional and engaging drive experience
- Spacious cockpit belies compact exterior
- Limited sound deadening allows noticeable road noise
As bronze medallist in the 2017 World Urban Car of the Year award, the 2017 Suzuki Ignis continues to push the boundaries of what can be labelled an SUV. Despite being officially classed a small SUV, it is more than half a metre shorter than the sales-leading Mazda CX-3, making Suzuki’s ‘light SUV’ label for the Ignis appropriate.
Ignis is unapologetically a small car, yet once you get in you can’t help but feel you’re starring in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. There is sufficient leg room front and back, with comfortable seats despite limited adjustability.
Feel the noise
Sadly, steering reach adjustment is missing and, as is often the case with vehicles this size, quite a bit of road noise makes its way into the cabin. A high roof with narrow doors makes for easy access and good vision in all directions. Luggage capacity is good for its size though the rear seats don’t fold flush with the floor, and the use of a space-saver spare seems trivial given the standard 15-inch steel wheels.
Cruise control and speed limit functions are included as standard through intuitive controls on the leather steering wheel. The 7-inch touchscreen looks like Suzuki has plonked a tablet in the middle of the dashboard, a feature that seems to fit perfectly with Ignis’ styling. Infotainment features include satnav and reverse camera as standard, with MP3, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, but there’s no CD player.
All variants are equipped with a 1.2-litre, DOHC, 16-valve inline four petrol engine capable of 66kW and 120Nm of torque, most of which is found in the upper half of the rpm range.
In line with its light-vehicle label, the Ignis has a kerb weight of merely 820 kilograms, enabling a surprisingly perky performance. A continuous variable automatic transmission is available as a $1000 option, though we loved the versatility of the well-matched five-speed manual.
Ride quality is great, with compliant suspension and tall tyres letting the Ignis clearly communicate its capabilities and boundaries to the driver. The combined package delivers a raw driving experience that is exceptionally fun. We achieved a combined fuel economy of 5.2L/100km against an ADR-tested 4.7L/100km. There aren’t many cars achieving figures this low on regular unleaded petrol.
The base-model GL manual transmission is priced at $16,990 drive-away. Stepping up to the GLX at $19,990 drive-away sees automatic transmission as standard along with functionality and cosmetic upgrades. Strangely, the second row is reduced from a three-seat 60/40 split-fold to a two-seat 50/50 split. For a few hundred dollars Suzuki offers various coloured interior and exterior accents to give the Ignis some extra flair.
The Suzuki Ignis is a small SUV with a big personality, well suited to the city yet surprisingly capable on the freeway.