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Used test: Kia Picanto X-Line vs Suzuki Ignis

These two both combine city-friendly dimensions with tough SUV looks. But which is the better secondhand buy?...

Used test: Kia Picanto vs Suzuki Ignis

The contenders

Kia Picanto 1.25 MPi X-Line

List price when new £12,600
Price today £7000*
Available from 2017-present

The X-Line trim takes the popular Picanto and adds a dose of rugged style

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SZ-T

List price when new £12,999
Price today £7000*
Available from 2016-present

The funky Ignis may be small, but it's impressively spacious and practical inside

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

During its infancy, cars were reserved for the upper classes of society. Regular people could only dream of owning one until the Ford Model T arrived in 1909 and opened the car up to the masses. 

Some time ago, the SUV was a similar proposition. You'd find Richie Rich behind the wheel of one, but not your average Joe. That's long since changed, though, and there are now plenty of affordable SUVs, such as the diddy Suzuki Ignis – a ruggedly-styled small SUV that's roughly the size of a city car.

New Kia Picanto X-Line and Vauxhall Viva Rocks vs Suzuki Ignis

And if we're talking about city cars, then the highly acclaimed Kia Picanto's name is bound to come up. What's more, it even sports an SUV-inspired variant: the X-Line.

Both the Picanto and the Ignis are especially affordable when used, with both coming in at around £7000 at six years old, or well under half of what a new one would cost you today.

Still, you don't want any amount of money to go to waste, so which car should you buy here? We have the answer.

New Kia Picanto X-Line and Vauxhall Viva Rocks vs Suzuki Ignis


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

If you're after a city car, acceleration is likely far from your biggest concern. Even so, you'll appreciate the Ignis's zippy performance – it managed 0-60mph in 10.0sec in our hands. The Picanto feels very nearly as nippy, putting in a 0-60mph time just 0.7sec slower than its rival. 

Both cars have four-cylinder petrol engines, with the unit in the Ignis putting out 89bhp and the one in the Picanto having 83bhp. Those figures don't sound like much, but these cars are light, so the around-town pace is up there with many cars from the class size up (small cars). On the motorway, the Ignis is capable enough and so is the Picanto, albeit by a smaller margin.

kia Picanto

Being light, these cars are also naturally agile, but the Picanto has tidier body control and a better sense of connection to the road through its quick, accurate steering.

The Ignis, while adept at darting around a multi-story car park, fails to match (let alone exceed) the Picanto's abilities in the corners. It has much less grip and lacklustre body control. Worse yet, it exposes you to shocking kickback through the steering over mid-corner bumps.

Around town, the Ignis’s ride isn’t the greatest, either. It’s soft enough to cope with large, gentle bumps quite happily, but across sharp ridges or potholes it shudders and rattles your teeth.

Suzuki Ignis 1.2

The Picanto’s suspension is the firmer, so it picks up on more of the little imperfections that the Ignis eradicates, but we’d happily live with that for its more effective damping over really pockmarked stuff.

On the motorway, there’s plenty of road noise in both cars, accompanied by some engine hum, but the Picanto is the quieter companion. With the Ignis, the wind rushing over the door mirrors is always rather pronounced, making it less agreeable at speed.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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