Car Reviews: Suzuki Ignis 1.3 – The AA

30 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Car Reviews: Suzuki Ignis 1.3 – The AA

Car safety

Likes

Affordable price tag Four airbags plus ABS and EBD as standard Compact dimensions make the Ignis easy to drive around town Surprisingly stable at speed despite its tall stance

Gripes

Cabin lacks youthful ambience thanks to dark trim plastics Aftermarket supplied stereo less resistant to theft than built-in unit Ignis Sport variant can sound coarse at speed Badge will put snobs off what is an otherwise good car

It may look like Suzuki has softened a few edges and given its Ignis a new nose, but there’s more to the firm’s refreshed upright supermini than meets the eye. Underneath the new car’s clothes is a host of improvements, including an eager 1.3 petrol engine and a thoroughly revised fascia. Giving the Ignis concept an added twist is a Sport variant and a car packing all-wheel drive.

It might not be at the top of your shopping list when out looking for an economical, affordable supermini, but Suzuki’s Ignis deserves to be at least included along with Fords, Vauxhalls and Citroens. In fact, the Ignis is a rather special car because, unlike most offerings at this price point, it comes surprisingly well equipped and is powered by decent engines.

Under the hood of the regular Ignis is a sprightly 1.3-litre petrol motor, which gives the car the edge over many of its similarly low-cost rivals in terms of power and refinement. Buyers can also choose a 1.5-litre petrol engine, although the range lacks a diesel. What Suzuki does offer that certain competitors don’t is an auto gearbox option, plus a four-wheel drive variant and a racy little Sport model.

Seemingly odd-ball choices like these are typical of what Far Eastern firms do to differentiate themselves from conservative European car offerings. In Suzuki’s case it means you can opt for something different, without feeling like you’ve sacrificed any of the usual supermini requirements along the way.

In a bid to further distance itself from the conventional competition, Suzuki’s decision to offer more than just the basic safety kit should be commended. Four airbags, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution is not what you’d expect as standard on a modest supermini. Side airbags and any form of stability aid is likely to cost – if offered at all – and makes up for any perceived lack of value offered by the badge on the Ignis’ nose.

Our verdict on the Suzuki Ignis 1.3

As an alternative to the conventional offerings from Europe, the Ignis performs pretty well. Brownie points are scored for the car’s lofty driving position, surprisingly spacious cabin and decent refinement levels, despite only being propelled by a modest motor – in 1.3 guise, at least.

Costs

Purchasing a new Ignis is never going to break the bank, and neither is running one. Good fuel economy, low insurance and road tax plus the generous levels of safety kit make the Ignis something of a lucky find. The only downside could be the car’s residual value performance.

Hardly likely to match the best in Europe, the Ignis is a keeper – not a car to sell on in 18 months.

Space and practicality

You get the usual assortment of seat back and door pockets, cubbyholes, oddment trays and bottle holders in the Ignis. On top of all that is a split/fold rear seat and front seats that can recline. Luggage carrying capacity is greatly reduced with the rear seats folded down, which is just as well, as the car’s boot will struggle with a full load of shopping. That said, if used by a single person or couple, it would probably be enough for a few bags.

At least the loading lip is at a sensible height and the tailgate opens nice and wide.

Controls and display

Comfort

Car security

Car safety

From a car maker not famed for making a huge fuss about safety issues, Suzuki should be commended for the amount of safety kit in the Ignis. Away from the popular European makes, finding a car in this sector with four airbags, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution is an achievement in itself. Even the third (middle) rear seat gets a three-point belt.

Driver appeal

Although you’ll hardly be buying the Ignis for its ability to take corners at speed, the car stops, goes and steers in a reassuring manner.

Its lofty stance can count against it when forced to tackle sharp turns. If you view driving as a necessary task rather than an activity to be enjoyed, you’ll at least appreciate the little Suzuki’s light controls and good brakes. It even challenges the perception that city cars cannot ‘do’ long distances, as it will happily sit at the legal maximum speed all day long.

The Sport model’s lower ride height and generally more enthusiastic approach is a better all-round bet if you seek more fun.

Family car appeal

First car appeal

Quality and image

Suzuki is to be commended for improving the levels of perceived and actual quality of the Ignis. Outside, the mature-looking facelift and tight panel gaps help no end, while inside the impression is that of a car that should cost more than it does. Cabin plastics, while mainly dark in colour, are of a reasonable quality and the switchgear wouldn’t be out of place in a European supermini.

Not surprising, as certain controls will be familiar to Vauxhall owners. The Ignis doesn’t fare so well in image terms. Badge snobs have largely ignored the brand, which is a shame as the firm’s recent efforts to pander more to European tastes is now starting to bear fruit.

Accessibility

The Ignis’ slightly raised ride height is welcome in the supermini class, as this feature will no doubt attract people who struggle to slide down into a conventional car’s cabin. Being a five-door hatch, access to the rear is by a fractionally smaller door and aperture. While large adults will find it a squeeze, children – likely to be the more frequent visitors to the back – will have no such problems.

Despite the car’s stubby, upright stance, cabin room hasn’t been overly rationed. Legroom is at a premium in the rear, but there’s no such shortage up front. Achieving a comfortable driving position isn’t difficult either, as the right-hand seat is fitted with a height adjuster.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

For a car of this standing, the entertainment option is surprisingly generous. Ahead of some more prestigious cars that still come with cassette decks, the Ignis is offered with a radio/CD player plus a six-speaker arrangement. Few, if any, corners appear to have been cut in the process, which is more than you can say for some of the Ignis’ rivals. Despite being of the aftermarket variety the stereo is a branded Blaupunkt unit.

Sound quality is good and the controls are reasonably easy to operate, although there are no steering wheel-mounted buttons.

Racy little Ignis Sport is fun addition to the range

Colours and trim

There are no lists of different seat fabric or leather coverings to choose from with the Ignis, but the car’s dark cabin is not as oppressive as it might sound. In standard 1.3 guise, the seats are well made and look hardwearing. The same is true of the plastic trim and fascia, which hides scuff marks well and looks resilient enough to counter everyday knocks.

One concession to luxury is the leather-covered gearknob. On the outside, bright colours work best, matching the Ignis’ jaunty-looking styling.

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