Friday 20 April 2018

Nifty little city car boasts sporty off-roader looks

Suzuki knows all about petite cars so prepare to let the Ignis broaden your horizons, says Martin Love

All new: Suzuki’s ‘ditsy, dinky’ Ignis
All new: Suzuki’s ‘ditsy, dinky’ Ignis

Martin Love

Awwww! You know that noise you make when you watch a silly video of a dandelion-fluff kitten fighting with a ball of wool?

Well, that's the same sound you'll make when you first set eyes on this ditsy, dinky, cutesy little thing from Suzuki. It's the all new Ignis and, though it may look sizable enough in the picture, when you meet it in the flesh you'll giggle. It's tiny: a proper grasshopper. Everything is present and correct, but it's been shrunk.

The old Ignis was fairly dismal - a rattly biscuit box on wheels that was last sold a decade ago. Suzuki clearly likes the name so it's stuck with it, but other than that this bright young thing has absolutely nothing in common with the old one. Everything about it is new. It's a nifty little city car with off-roader looks.

It weighs in at just 810kg, yet it boasts a quite remarkable amount of heft. As with houses, you can create interior space by building upwards - and that's what Suzuki has done. The Ignis has neat, upright seats that let you sit, knees tucked, as you would at a dining table, and its raised roofline still gives plenty of headroom.

Suzuki is a past master of the bantam car. Ever since launching the Suzulight in 1955 (if you think this is cute, have a look at that one), it has established a reputation as a maker of small cars with big hearts.

Suzuki hopes its characterful face, tall boxy body and sporty styling will win over buyers from across the motoring spectrum, including cars that you might not think were rivals, such as the Fiat 500, Mini or Nissan Juke.

The car is front-engined and only one power plant is on offer - a 90bhp 1.2-litre petrol 4-cylinder Dualjet. You can opt for 2WD or 4WD - Allgrip as Suzuki calls it, but I expect almost everyone will go for the former. To drive it's a buzz saw.

You careen about like a Wacky Racer. It's so small I kept clumsily shoving my feet on the wrong pedals.

Slim wheels and fairly basic suspension both add to the feeling that you are clinging to a cartoon character.

The steering is superlight and instantaneous, so the Ignis is great fun to hurl down narrow city alleys or country lanes.

Usually the Achilles' heel of most petite cars is the motorway, but the Ignis is a wee battler. I drove 550km over a long weekend and it stayed unexpectedly composed and calm on the long haul.

Inside you'll find a generous level of spec: air bags, aircon, DAB radio and Bluetooth, plus the option of sliding rear seats, satnav, parking camera and cruise control.

At around €17,000 for the 2WD SZ5 version, you'll find the Ignis very hard to beat.

© Observer

Sunday Independent

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