Who knew you could pack so much fun into such a tiny car? The Suzuki Ignis makes up in character what it lacks in size, with quirky styling, lively performance and miniscule running costs. Is it a city car? Is it an SUV? We reckon the Ignis is a bit of both.
Nothing else looks quite the same as the Suzuki Ignis. Like a cross between a go-kart and an off-roader, the Ignis appears sporty and tough at the same time.
This half-pint bruiser’s has round headlights and the puffed-out wheel arches that add to the pugnacious appearance. It’s only when you see the car from directly in front or behind that you really appreciate just how narrow it is.
A mild facelift in 2020 brought some light changes to the exterior, with a new-look grille and bumpers. Suzuki didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken though – this is a great-looking small car.
Nothing else looks quite the same as the Suzuki Ignis. Like a cross between a go-kart and an off-roader.
What’s it like to drive?
The Ignis is perfect for city streets – it’s so small it will fit in the tiniest parking spaces. That’s not to say it’s out of its depth if you leave the town behind, though. The willing 1.2-litre engine is either a regular petrol or a mild hybrid with electric assistance, and either way acceleration is lively.
This Suzuki leans quite a bit when cornering though, and the Ignis tends to fidget about over rough road surfaces. If you live out in the sticks it’s worth looking for an Ignis ALLGRIP, as these cars have 4-wheel-drive for better traction in bad weather.
The Ignis is perfect for city streets
Being so small, the Ignis isn’t the roomiest of SUVs. For its size the Suzuki is practical enough. The driver and front-seat passenger have enough room to travel comfortably. The driver’s seat adjusts for height so you can sit up high, 4x4-style, although it would be easier to fine-tune the driving position if the steering wheel moved in and out as well as up and down.
All models should have a digital radio and Bluetooth. The SZ-T and SZ5 both have sat-nav. The infotainment system is looks pretty basic and quite easy to use.
Rear-seat space is acceptable for a car of this size, although you might not think so if you need to sit in the back on a long drive. Legroom is tight, and because the car is so narrow Suzuki only fits a couple of rear seat belts to most versions. Only the most basic model, the SZ3, has 3 rear belts, although it does without the sliding seats of the SZ-T and SZ5.
And to be fair, if you try to squeeze 3 in the back, they’ll be sat on top of one another, so we prefer 2 belts and the flexibility of the sliding rear seats.
Wherever you’re sitting, the Ignis feels like a budget car. A lot of the plastics are hard and shiny, but that’s easy to forgive when the Suzuki is so affordable.
If you become an Ignis owner, you’ll have to learn to travel light – the boot is small. ALLGRIP 4x4 versions have the least space, as the mechanical parts sending power to the rear wheels steal some luggage room.
Even front-wheel-drive cars don’t have a lot of space for bags. If you’re using it as a second family car, the weekly shop may be a squeeze unless you move the back seats. Let’s be fair, though, compared with some city cars like the Citroen C1 the boot isn’t too bad.
The sliding seats fitted to the SZ-T and SZ5 models will come in handy if you need to find space for a few more groceries. If nobody is sat in the back, the rear seats can fold forwards for extra room, but this leaves a step in the floor. A number of handy storage areas dotted around will stop the cabin being cluttered with odds and ends.
Running costs and reliability
There’s only a single engine in the Ignis, although it was tweaked back in 2020. Whether you shop for a Suzuki made before or after the changes, the Ignis stretches each gallon a lot further than most cars.
From the car’s 2016 launch, hybrid manual models had an official combined figure of 65.7mpg. The same engine without mild-hybrid assistance is a little thirstier, and the same applies if you choose an auto rather than a manual. The ALLGRIP also gets through fuel a bit quicker than the front-wheel-drive cars.
What cinch loves
The Ignis makes you smile. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving one or looking at it, the Ignis has more character in its headlights than most rivals can muster in the whole car. It may not be perfect but the Ignis gets under your skin. Bored of bland boxes on wheels? Then the Ignis is for you.
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