How Suzuki's new Ignis shows way by having this life-saving technology in a car under €17,000
First drive in Wicklow: Suzuki Ignis
The new Suzuki Ignis brings a couple of important elements to the fore. Obviously, it's a new baby crossover entrant which leans heavily on its unusual looks, interior room and standard spec at a decent price.
But it is also among the first cars in the €16,500 price bracket with a system that detects pedestrians/children and can automatically apply emergency breaking so you don't hit them.
It is called Dual Camera Brake Support and comes with the top-spec grade. Two cameras work from the top of the windscreen and if they detect potential obstacles, the system alerts you. If you don't react it applies the brakes. It costs €750 to fit on lower-spec versions (plus a three-month wait).
It is a timely, sad, reminder of how drivers need all the help they can get especially on dark evenings and roads when people are walking.
But it needn't cost as much if our government didn't charge VAT and VRT on it as well. To put it bluntly, we are taxing safety.
Meantime I and two others took to the roads around Druid's Glen in this unusual looking Ignis. We had oceans of room; exceptional knee and head space at the back.
The first few kilometres of driving were less impressive. Over poor, twisty roads the suspension felt clunky. They were bad roads. On better ones, it felt better and we were happy with the 90bhp 1.2-litre 4cyl engine. We subsequently drove a mild-hybrid version. Both worked quite well. The former got the longer drive and showed itself to be lively and flexible. Ideal for tipping around. The cabin is relatively straightforward. I'm not sure whether it is smart or just cheap and cheerful. What do you expect for a car that starts at €12,995 (for the SZ-3 version)? I think that's real value when you look at the equipment and space. There is a €1,500 step to the SZ-T grade, the one they expect to be most popular. And then it is €2,000 more for the top-of-range SZ-5 which has the Dual Camera system. Automatic (AGS) costs €1,500 and the AllGrip SZ-5 version (4WD) is €17,995.
The new arrival slots in between Suzuki's Celerio and Swift (brand new one by mid-year). The FIAT 500, Toyota Aygo, FIAT Panda (in 4x4 guise) are key rivals.
Yes, it is most definitely different to look at; I'm not mad about the grooves on the rear flanks or the look overall.
Fair dues to them, though, for going for strong, vibrant colours. No silver; no grey. Orange I liked.
There is a big range of personalisation options; they can be fitted at dealer level. So you can choose something such as colour panels around air vents or door handles and change them a year later if you get bored.
On SZ-T and SZ-5 models, you have two rear seats that individually slide by about 16cms - for a bigger boot or more legroom.
The SZ-3 grade has air con and Bluetooth as standard - for a car under €13,000! SZ-T adds black alloys, roof rails, side mouldings, sliding rear seats, sat nav etc. And the biggie on SZ-5 is the dual camera braking - it should be on every car.