Suzuki Ignis: New king of the mini crossover

By Miles Downard

What’s this?

Suzuki is on something of a roll here in South Africa. For the second month running the company has outsold fellow Japanese rival Honda, no mean feat considering Suzuki is a relative newcomer to the country. Looking to building on what is now a very solid base it introduces the Ignis, a mini crossover that looks as funky as a bright orange trainer with green laces. And that’s a combination that couldn’t be more popular at the moment.

On the outside

If there’s one thing of which Suzuki could be accused it’s that they’re a bit bland in the looks department. Any other accusations would be considered preposterous, like, “they’re too reliable and efficient” or, “way too much value on offer here.” You get the picture.

But as I’m sure you’ll agree, the Ignis is definitely not bland. Suzuki has also offered various ‘personalisation’ options. So you can have your roof a different colour, along with the wing mirrors. Different rim options and the odd cosmetic addition like a roof spoiler round things off nicely.

Read also: Suzuki Baleno: Big space, big value

On the inside

That funkiness is carried over to the interior too, with more options to make your Ignis just a little different by colour coding various bits and bobs around the cabin.

The layout itself is, as with all Suzukis, functional and intuitive. Equipment includes a radio/CD unit with Bluetooth and USB of course. A touchscreen infotainment is available for an additional R7 000, which will enable use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That pretty much keeps the Ignis in line with its main rivals (more on this later).

Then we come to the question of space. Considering the Ignis is a crossover, which in this case means it’s a blend of mini hatchback and SUV, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what’s on offer. The Suzuki’s boot will hold 260 litres, which is fairly roomy  and the rear seats fold down making it easier to fit all kinds of paraphernalia.

Behind the wheel

Under the bonnet you’ll find Suzuki’s traditonal 1.2 litre four pot petrol unit, offering 66kW and 113 torques. Doesn’t sound like much but consider the Ignis only weighs 850kg and you’ll realise that the all important power to weight figure is actually quite exceptional. Another benefit of low weight is efficiency, something the Ignis offers in spades.

There are two gearbox options, a five speed manual or a five-speed automated manual transmission. The latter combines the efficiency of a manual gearbox with the convenience of automated gear changes without the need for a conventional clutch.

Read also: Suzuki Vitara – Funky and functional?

Out on the road the Suzuki does actually feel quite sprightly despite the quoted 0-100km/h time of 11.6 seconds. Should you happen to find yourself tackling a dirt road you’ll have peace of mind that will 180mm of ground clearance you’ll sail along quite comfortably without damaging bits underneath.

Lastly you’ll be happy to know that even the entry level GL model is equipped with a full complement of safety features, starting with dual front airbags, front and rear head restraints, and inertia seat belts for front and rear occupants.

Pricing

The GL model (entry level) kicks things off at R169,900, followed by the GLX at R189,900 and last the GLX ‘Auto’ is R204,900. All come with a 2 year/30,000km service plan. A full list of specs is available here. Competitors come in the form of of Renault’s Sandero, the Renault Kwid, Toyota’s Etios Cross and the VW Cross Up!

The Kwid offers up good value and nice infotainment, but little in the way of safety and a ropey construction. The Toyota is as bland as your grandmother’s socks despite having a rather nice engine, while the VW is a solid option, but both are a fair bit more expensive.

The Sandero Stepway is the best competitor, offering better ground clearance, a turbo charged motor and fancier infotainment once again. But it is relatively old tech considering it’s based on a 2 generation old Clio. I’m personally not sold on small turbo engines, they aren’t nearly as efficient as claimed and I question their longevity.

Verdict

Looking over the competition, and having spent a day with the little Ignis, I must admit I’d find it hard to recommend anything other than the Suzuki. It looks great, drives well, is incredibly efficient and offers good value both upfront and in long term maintenance. They’re onto a winner indeed.

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