Buying and owning
Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security
The Viva appears the cheapest if you go by its list price, but as always, it pays to look beyond that. For a start, Suzuki is currently offering £2000 off the Ignis, so it remains cheapest even if you haggle the others’ prices down. If you’re a PCP finance buyer, the Ignis is the cheapest again, but only by £20 per month over the Picanto. The Viva is £55 more per month than the Ignis.
The Ignis betters the Viva and Picanto on company car tax, albeit by only a few quid a month. But it doesn’t all go the Ignis’s way; its much higher insurance group means it’ll cost £500 more over three years than the others.
The Ignis is the best-performing car in our True MPG testing, with a real-world average of 50.9mpg versus its claimed 61.4mpg. The Picanto also claims 61.4mpg, and it managed a respectable 47.9mpg in the real world. We weren’t able to test the Viva, but its official figure of 54.3mpg indicates it’ll be priciest to fuel.
While all three cars come with basics such as air-con and alloy wheels, the Viva and Ignis feel pretty spartan next to the Picanto. Sure, the Viva is alone in having cruise control, but the Picanto has power-folding door mirrors and electric rear windows (rather than the manual ones in the others).
The Picanto is also the safest. Partly because automatic emergency braking (AEB) is standard on the Picanto X-Line, Euro NCAP awarded it four stars. Unless you spend £750 to add AEB to the Ignis, the SZ-T gets just three stars – the same as the Viva, which doesn’t offer AEB at all.
Security expert Thatcham gave each car four stars for resisting being stolen. The Ignis and Viva scored three stars for stopping scoundrels gaining entry, but the Picanto got a disappointing two.
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