Suzuki Ignis 4×4
The Ignis has only been around for a couple of years but it’s already won itself a lot of friends. It’s easy to see why. For a start, the styling is eye-catching and it’s also ‘different’ in a way you might not expect from a small car.
There’s also the Tardis-like relationship of the car’s length to the amount of space it offers inside. Compact cars generally do a good job in this area, so it’s particularly impressive that the Ignis seems to have gone one better.
Simple touches like the relatively high driving position and a higher roofline create a feeling of space, as well as making it easier to get in and out, and the way in which the rear seats slide fore-and-aft in the SZ5 model that we drove adds useful flexibility.
You can move the back seats well forward if you want the largest possible luggage space, or all the way back if it’s legroom for rear seat passengers that really matters to you. A middle position allows you to split the difference and even in this position there’s more legroom in the back than many cars offer. In addition, the SZ5 has two separate rear seats that slide independently, giving you even more options.
It’s no surprise that the Ignis offers low running costs, and it’s also no surprise that it’s a great car in town, with its compact dimensions making it easy to park. More of a surprise is how much fun it is, how well it copes with longer runs, and how economical it can be.
Taking the last point first, we found it easy to top 60mpg on the car’s trip computer on a run, and even on local trips it routinely bettered 50mpg. This is quite an achievement for a petrol-engined car with four-wheel-drive. Perhaps it’s down to Suzuki’s hybrid system, which stores energy in a battery when you slow down, then uses this to assist the engine, particularly when climbing hills.
The suspension copes with most roads, the steering has ample feel, the brakes didn’t display any shortcomings, and the gearbox action was pleasantly smooth. Add in the useful level of performance and respectable handling, and the result is a car that many drivers could enjoy.
In town the Suzuki’s four cylinder engine is smoother than the three-cylinder units competitors often use. It’s also quieter and it moves off from rest with little use of the clutch. We also found the stop/start system worked better than most, bringing the engine back to life quickly and quietly.
Being top of the Ignis range, the SZ5 4×4 is well-equipped, including keyless entry and push-button start, privacy glass, cruise, satnav, roof rails, a reversing camera and 16-inch wheels, while the ‘Allgrip’ 4×4 system adds reassurance on slippery roads.
Overall this is a very practical car which will help cement Suzuki’s position in this market sector, particularly given an on-the-road price of £13,999 until March 31st, courtesy of Suzuki’s £1,850 ‘customer saving’ offer on the SZ5.