Facelifted Ignis acquires restyled front and rear bumpers with an aluminium-look plastic skid plate. Picture: SUPPLIED
Facelifted Ignis acquires restyled front and rear bumpers with an aluminium-look plastic skid plate. Picture: SUPPLIED

In 2017 Suzuki SA launched the Ignis as a tiny but endearing crossover vehicle that provided the slightly higher seating position that many motorists crave, in a compact and affordable package.

It’s gone on to become a fairly popular seller for the brand and won a few awards. For 2020 it’s been freshened up with a facelift, including a new-style grille with square cutouts to bring it in line with newer Suzuki models like the S-Presso, Vitara and Jimny.

Restyled front and rear bumpers acquire an aluminium-look plastic skid plate to give more of an SUV vibe to the little car. The more comprehensively-equipped GLX has heightened swagger with LED daytime running lights, roof rails and piano-black alloy wheels inside pumped-out wheel arches.

There’s a larger choice of body colours for the Ignis, including a pair of new two-tone combinations: Stargaze Blue Pearl Metallic with Black combination, and Lutescent Orange with Black Metallic.

The cosmetic surgery’s put more visual bravado into the little dog, but under the skin it’s the same fun-to-drive 1.2l front-wheel drive car available in basic GL and up-specced GLX versions.

The GL priced at R188,900 comes with basic features such as electric windows, aircon, central locking and a sound system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

On test here is the GLX which retails for R216,900 and comes with additional niceties such as a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The touchscreen doubles as a reverse camera monitor, and the hitlist also includes push-button start and automatic climate control.

Safety fare across the Ignis range comprises the basic ABS brakes and dual front airbags, but there are rival cars in this price segment offering side airbags as well, including the Peugeot 108 which tops the list with six airbags.

With its 180mm ground clearance the Ignis has a slightly elevated seating position. Picture: SUPPLIED
With its 180mm ground clearance the Ignis has a slightly elevated seating position. Picture: SUPPLIED

At 180mm the Ignis straddles the road higher than the average hatch, which makes for a slightly elevated seating position and also gives the car a potential advantage on lumpy roads. Though this front-wheel drive car’s not necessarily intended as a gravel-muncher it has a fairly bump-soaking ride on dirt, assisted by high-profile tyres.

The ride’s a little choppy on bumpy roads, which isn’t surprising for such a short-wheelbase car, but in general it scoots along without harshness or discomfort. The cornering ability is neat, and despite its top-heavy looks the Ignis feels pretty pressed down.

The steering is light and direct, though it doesn’t self-centre very well and requires constant micro-corrections to keep the car in a straight line.

For a lightweight car it feels fairly solid and rattle-free, and doesn’t come across as cheap and tinny. It’s a pleasant little car that punches somewhat above the budget-car division.

A fun little runabout, the Ignis scuttles about town with slick gearshifts and a willing engine. It’s primarily a city car but isn’t overwhelmed on the open road, where it’s able to maintain the 120km/h national speed limit without much fuss.

The car’s reasonably refined and the engine doesn’t drone loudly at higher rpm, and it’s a fairly torquey power delivery that doesn’t really need to be revved hard.

It’s fuel efficient too, with the test car sipping 5.4l/100km in our week-long test drive.

Dual-tone dashboard and vibrantly-patterned seats create a fresh interior vibe. Picture: SUPPLIED
Dual-tone dashboard and vibrantly-patterned seats create a fresh interior vibe. Picture: SUPPLIED

An automated manual is available as an option on the GLX but the annoyingly jerky operation of such transmissions tends to outweigh the convenience factor. I’d stick with the manual.

For a car that’s nearly a ruler-length shorter than a Polo Vivo, the Ignis is impressively roomy and a quartet of six-foot adults can sit inside without squished knees. The car’s quite narrow, however, and passengers will be prone to rubbing elbows.

The boot’s tight at just 260l, but it contains a full-sized spare tyre instead of a marie biscuit space-saver, and the rear seats can be flipped down to expand the cargo capacity.

I enjoy the interior styling of the car; it has some panache with a dual-tone dashboard, and door handles colour coded to the body. The dashboard doesn’t have the more premium-looking soft-touch covering but it’s nicely textured. The cloth seats have a vibrant pattern, and the aircon toggle switches have a nice solid feel.

An appealing urban runabout with great fuel consumption and some styling swagger, the facelifted Ignis is still one of the top choices in a competitive market segment.

Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four-cylinder petrol

Capacity: 1.2l

Power: 61kW

Torque: 113Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Five-speed manual

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Front-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE 

Top speed: 165km/h

0-100km/h: 11.6 seconds

Fuel Consumption: 5.1l/100km (claimed); 5.4l /100km (as tested)

Emissions: 119g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

ABS brakes, dual front airbags, climate control, keyless access, electric windows, electric mirrors, park distance control with reversing camera, touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, LED headlights

 

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Two years/30,000km

Price: R216,900

Lease*: R4,703 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

 

COMPETITION

Datsun Go 1.2 Lux, 50kW/104Nm — R183,200

Renault Kwid Climber 1.0, 50kW/91Nm — R176,900

Toyota Etios Cross 1.5 Xs, 66kW/132Nm — R221,500

VW Cross Up 1.0, 55kW/95Nm — R214,900

 

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX

 

WE LIKE:

Fuel consumption, fun-to-drive nature

WE DISLIKE:

Steering doesn’t self-centre very well

VERDICT:

An appealing compact crossover

 

MOTOR NEWS

star rating

 

****Design

***Performance

****Economy

***Safety

****Value For Money

****Overall

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