What Car? says...
The Suzuki Ignis certainly isn’t one of those cars that have hardly changed from generation to generation. Over its lifetime, it's evolved from a humdrum MPV-styled hatchback to the tiny SUV with hybrid engine tech you see here.
When we say the Ignis is tiny, we really mean it. The Ignis is just 3.7m long and 1.7m wide. It's so small, in fact, that it’s about the same size as the Hyundai i10, the Kia Picanto and the VW Up – all small cars designed for city driving.
Even so, with its flared wheel arches, bluff nose and jacked-up stance, there’s no mistaking its eye-catching SUV presence. Despite the Ignis's size, Suzuki has managed to package it in such a way that it’s still practical. There's space for four people to sit comfortably, with sliding rear seats so you can prioritise rear leg room or boot space.
There are two Ignis trim levels – SZ-T and SZ5 – but only one engine, an 82bhp 1.2-litre petrol that uses mild-hybrid technology so it sips fuel oh-so gently. Unlike many small SUVs, the diminutive Ignis offers traction-enhancing four-wheel drive as an option.
So how does the Suzuki Ignis stack up against its much larger but similarly priced rival the Dacia Duster or the more expensive options you might be considering, including the Ford Puma, the Skoda Kamiq and the VW T-Cross?
That's what this review will tell you. And once you've decided which model is best for you, you can find the best prices if you search our New Car Buying pages.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Suzuki Ignis's 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine has a modest 82bhp, but it doesn't feel as though it lacks power thanks to the mild-hybrid (MHEV) system, which helps out at low engine speeds.
It’s quicker and slightly more responsive than the entry-level Dacia Duster, the Toyota Aygo X and the VW Up. More expensive turbocharged rivals – such as the Ford Puma, the Skoda Kamiq and the VW T-Roc – are peppier and less effort to drive, though.
There are two gearboxes available: a standard five-speed manual and an optional CVT automatic gearbox. So far, we’ve tried the five-speed manual, and found it precise enough to make the experience rather enjoyable.
Unfortunately, other mechanical areas are less accomplished – its braking performance, for example. Its stopping distance from 70mph was 8.3m longer than in a Kia Picanto.
One redeeming feature of the braking system is that the brake pedal is much more consistent than in some MHEVs, making smooth stops much easier.
The slightly slow steering response is inconsistently weighted and often fails to self-centre at town speeds. While the Ignis is fairly agile, there’s more body roll than in the Picanto and the Up, and it’s not as enjoyable to drive as the Puma.
Still, the low weight and compact dimensions help it feel manoeuvrable, and grip levels are reassuring. Its real trump card, though, is that you can opt for four-wheel drive so you can go off road.
While the Suzuki Allgrip technology is designed to help the Ignis cross muddy fields rather than mountain ranges, the fact that it's available in a tiny small SUV is impressive. As is the fact that it brings proper off-road technology, including hill-descent control and an off-road focused traction control (called Grip Control).
That said, the 180mm ground clearance is quite limited and the tyres are designed more for efficiency than off-road grip. The petrol engine needs to be worked hard in challenging conditions to prevent it from bogging down too.
So, while the Ignis can get you out of the odd sticky off-road situation, a Dacia Duster is a more capable budget four-wheel-drive option.
How does it ride? Well, the soft suspension set-up translates to a generally comfortable ride, cushioning wavy dips and crests.
Unfortunately, the effect is marred by constant fidgeting over scruffy town roads and a thwack that reverberates through the body if you stumble across a sharp-edged pothole. Among small cars, the Hyundai i10 is comfier and better at isolating occupants from the road surface. And if you’re only considering SUVs, the Ignis is nowhere near as cushy as a Kamiq or T-Roc.
Refinement isn’t a strong point. The engine is always audible, and while it’s never coarse, the i10 is a little more hushed overall. There is road noise at 70mph, but it’s the wind noise gusting around the windscreen pillars and door mirrors that’s more irksome on a prolonged motorway jaunt.
Strengths Manoeuvrable size, four-wheel-drive option brings some off-road ability
Weaknesses Noisy at speed, fidgety ride
The interior layout, fit and finish
Sitting behind the wheel of the Suzuki Ignis is a relatively comfortable experience. You get driver’s seat height adjustment so you can sit high up if you want.
As with many city cars, the steering wheel can be adjusted for height but not reach (most pricier small SUVs offer adjustment in both directions). There’s no lumbar support adjustment available for the front seats, and the side bolsters are weak, so holding on to the steering wheel is your only form of support in tight corners.
The short bonnet means front visibility is good and accurately placing the car is very easy. Conversely, looking over your shoulder and trying to see past the wide, heavily styled rear pillars is more of a challenge. To help combat that, a rear-view camera is standard. LED headlights are standard too.
Visually, Suzuki has at least experimented with a convincing two-tone dashboard that looks quite attractive. Disappointingly, the interior materials are hard and feel low-rent compared with those in the Hyundai i10, the Kia Picanto and the VW Up – let alone the Ford Puma and the Skoda Kamiq. The car’s wobbly centre console suggests less-than-stellar build quality.
A Pioneer 7.0in colour touchscreen infotainment system is standard on all trim levels, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring included. Built-in sat-nav is available on the top-tier SZ5 trim. The system isn't great to use: it’s pretty unresponsive and the menu layout is tricky to navigate and the screen resolution is low. The Dacia Duster system is better.
Strengths Good visibility
Weaknesses Unresponsive infotainment system; low-rent materials; rivals are more comfortable
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The relative roominess of the Suzuki Ignis depends on how you categorise it. Strictly speaking, it’s a small SUV and in that class it’s comprehensively thrashed by the Skoda Kamiq for interior space.
However, if you look at it as an alternative to one of the small cars designed for city driving, it's big compared with rivals. In fact, it does something most city cars struggle with, which is accommodating four adults in comfort.
There are two back seats, which recline and slide to prioritise boot space or leg room as required. No matter how you position them, they can't match the Kamiq for leg room, and the VW T-Cross is a much better choice for three people in the back.
An Ignis with four-wheel drive has a 204-litre boot, while two-wheel-drive versions get 267 litres (most city cars offer around 250 litres). For comparison, the Hyundai i10 offers 252 litres.
If you drop the back seats, the space expands to 490 litres or 514 litres, but that’s still small by SUV standards. The Ford Puma has more than 450 litres with the back seats upright.
The sliding rear seats allow you to gain more boot space by sacrificing legroom. There’s quite a pronounced load lip, especially when you fold down the 50/50 split-folding rear seats, which can make lifting heavy items into the boot awkward.
Strengths Sliding and reclining rear seats boost versatility; spacious for a city car
Weaknesses No height adjustment for passenger; rivals have bigger boots
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Compared with similarly sized small cars such as the Hyundai i10, the Kia Picanto and the VW Up, the Suzuki Ignis’s price tag is slightly more expensive.
Put it next to small SUV rivals and it’s a different story: it undercuts the Ford Puma and the Nissan Juke by some margin. Granted, both those cars offer much more space, but unlike either of them, the Ignis gives you the option of four-wheel drive.
Suzuki frequently offers discounts on the list price and very tempting PCP finance deals, so make sure you check out our New Car Deals pages for the latest offers.
Our True MPG fuel economy tests on the front-wheel-drive Ignis led to a real-world average of 59.6mpg, which puts it up with the most economical cars we’ve tested. That's no small feat considering the many full hybrids and diesels we've tried. That figure drops if you opt for four-wheel drive, although the Ignis Allgrip still managed more than 50mpg in our tests.
The good news doesn't stop there. Comparatively low CO2 emissions help to keep company car tax palatable, and resale values sit at about the same level as the i10 and the Up. The bad news is that servicing and insurance costs are relatively high.
SZ-T is our favourite trim. It includes the touchscreen infotainment system, 16in alloy wheels, sliding rear seats, front electric windows, DAB radio, Bluetooth, four-speaker stereo and air-con. All in all, it represents the best value.
That said, we can see why you'd go for SZ5. For a relatively small premium, it gives you a few additional creature comforts, including keyless entry, electric rear windows, climate control and cruise control.
In terms of safety, the model scored the maximum five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP. It comes with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard. The Dacia Duster and most city cars scored less than five stars, although it’s worth noting that the Ignis was tested back in 2016 under less stringent conditions.
Suzuki came an impressive joint fourth out of 32 manufacturers in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey (only Lexus, Toyota and Mini did better). The Ignis itself did even better, coming top out of 18 small SUV models in the same survey.
Suzuki’s warranty runs for three years or 60,000-miles, and all versions of the model come with an immobiliser and security deadlocks on the doors.
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Strengths Economical on fuel and low CO2 output
Weaknesses Rivals are cheaper to buy outright
The Ignis has just one engine choice, the 1.2 Dualjet 12V Hybrid, and we recommend pairing it with the SZ-T trim level.
|RRP price range||£17,949 - £19,949|
|Number of trims (see all)||2|
|Number of engines (see all)||1|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||52.3 - 56.9|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£920 / £1,103|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£1,840 / £2,206|