- The car Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SHVS Allgrip SZ5
- Run by Kris Culmer, sub-editor
- Why it’s here The Ignis offers something a bit different in the city car class – SUV looks, loads of rear seat space and the option of four-wheel drive
- Needs to Be frugal despite having four driven wheels, enjoyable to drive, reliable and able to show at least some off-road ability
Price £14,249 Price as tested £14,899 Options Fervent red paint with black roof (£650) Official combined MPG 60.1mpg Test economy 48.0mpg CO2 106g/km Mileage to date 15,743 Insurance group 18 0-62mph 11.2sec Top speed 106mph
8 March 2018 – farewell to the Ignis
I have spent the last few months with this fairly blunt question in mind: If I wanted a new car and had a budget of just under £200 per month for the PCP finance payments, would I head down to my local Suzuki dealership to get myself an Ignis 1.2 SHVS SZ5 Allgrip?
Just as bluntly, the answer is ‘no’. Instead, I’d be at the Seat garage down the road, getting an Ibiza 1.0 TSI 115 FR. Why? Because it’s far better looking (to my eyes, at least), in every way better to drive and leagues ahead in terms of interior quality.
Having said all that, I’ve actually had an enjoyable few months getting to know this unusual model, and there are many things I do like about it.
To mitigate my main gripe, the price: if you don’t go for the most expensive variant, which my car is, you can have a decently specced Ignis for £30 less per month, which is more palatable.
And the savings will continue, because the Ignis is one of the most fuel-efficient cars around; I floated between 45 and 50mpg over my tenure (and I have a right foot of lead). Indeed, it's more than I used to get in my diesel Ford Kuga.
We actually found the Ignis to be the most frugal car we've ever tested when specified with Suzuki’s SHVS mild hybrid system and front-wheel drive (mine was four-wheel drive).
Now, the styling. In general, I don’t like the way SUVs look. But the way the Ignis miniaturises their macho appearance and its characterful, determined face don’t quite follow the usual formula. And that it has some retro references – for those not versed, the three indents on the Ignis’s rear pillar are taken from the 1978 Suzuki SC100 ‘Whizzkid’ baby coupé – greatly pleases my nerdy side.
The boxy dimensions also made the Ignis easy to get into, unusually accommodating for rear head room and allow the upright driving position that many covet. While I personally prefer a low-slung seat, I still found the Ignis easy to get comfortable in, with a good a range of manual adjustment on the steering wheel and seat.
And I was kept fairly happy by the infotainment, a Pioneer-supplied system with a 7.0in touchscreen, sat-nav, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring; the stereo was decent and went loud enough to drown out the plentiful wind and road noise generated at 70mph.
I had worried that the Ignis’s tiny 1.2-litre engine would make my commute much more stressful, but I was wrong. It cruises at a respectable 3500rpm and if you need to overtake, a quick downshift of the neat manual gearbox will do the job. I did have to learn to do so out of view of bullying company car cruisers, though…
In its more natural environment, town, the Ignis was peppy, agile and small enough for me to not worry about small gaps and too-tight multi-storey car parks. The downside at this speed was the ride for rear passengers – the word ‘horrible’ was the descriptor used by most. However, Suzuki has listened to our complaints on this issue and actually re-engineered the Ignis’s suspension to improve things, which is absolutely top stuff from this industrious little family-run company.
So, while the Ignis may not be the car I'd buy with my own money, this is only because I'm a young man who spends an inordinate amount of the time on the motorway. If you like the idea of an SUV, but spend most of your time in the city, it's a great choice.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here