Moan-free motoring - Suzuki Ignis LTD
Suzuki is a notoriously conservative company but it’s an approach that has made it long lived, over 110 years and counting. It’s also profitable. So when it comes time to freshen things up with a facelift, you can’t expect it to push the boat out.
And so the new-for-2020 Ignis is more a styling refresh than anything. We’ll admit we didn’t immediately pick the changes, but when one compares old with new, there is quite a transformation in persona from a cute wee thing to a more nuggety, rugged type.
The revised bumper helps make it look wider, as do the new grille and treatment around the headlights. With black plastic wheel arches, sill mouldings and roof rails, it looks more ‘SUV’ too.
The interior makeover is limited to new trims and upholstery. The LTD, which is what we had on test, gets a white dashboard accent while the GLX auto model gains the seven-inch infotainment screen offering sat nav and a reversing camera. There’s driver’s seat height adjustment too.
The price has risen by $2000 however, now at $22,990, while the LTD is up $1500 to $24,490. Other bits for the latter include 16-inch smoked alloy wheels, and LED projector headlamps with automatic levelling and automatic light-sensing, along with DRLs.
The 1.2-litre four with 66kW and 120Nm remains the sole option for the Ignis, its outputs stirred along by a CVT, the front wheels alone doing the driving. Its secret weapon is a lithe weight, just over 900kgs, which means 66kW is enough. And the lack of lead helps it achieve a claimed combined fuel use figure of 4.9L/100km. We didn’t quite replicate the figure, but 5.7L/100km is still pretty good for mostly urban running.
It doesn’t take too much encouragement to get Ignis moving, and the CVT can maintain a steady 50km/h with barely 1200rpm on the dial. We wonder if Suzuki might have done some mechanical fiddling as well, because the CVT now seems to respond quicker when you give the gas a prod, lowering its ratio smartly to kick things on. After reading our old report to jog our memory of Ignis past, it’s something we noted it not doing last time we drove it.
It’s still a bit noisy on the coarse chip roads, but the ride on indifferent surfaces is rather okay, given it’s such a small car with a weenie wheelbase and a torsion beam rear end. So it cruises well on main highways, the engine not overly taxed at 100km/h, spinning away happily at 2000rpm. Those dainty dimensions and minimal mass mean it turns quite well in the curves and holds its line better than you’d think. It’s wide of track for a wee beast, and it rolls on decent rubber so is stable, and overt lean is kept in check.
The little engine can go. Click the CVT’s Sport mode when you’re feeling keen as this keeps the ratio shorter, the engine spinning around the 3000rpm mark where it’s more responsive. It’s quite a lively little jigger, the steering has some spunk, and the engine can spin up to 6000rpm (albeit noisily) when you really need to push on past something dawdling ahead.
But it’s back in the confines of the city where this really shines. It’s a very easy drive. It has the turning circle of a dodgem and it’s skinny, so slips into car parks easily. The seat comfort and adjustment are sound, so too the ease of entry. Its side mirrors are a tad small, and the chunky C pillar restricts rearward vision but there is a wide angle reversing camera to help out there. However, it’s not much help at night, the image grainy.
Some concessions to price include the steering being adjustable in height only, the interior plastics are as expected, hard and plentiful, and while the safety basics are covered off, expect none of the active helpers and minders. There’s climate A/C with a funky ventilation set-up and we like Suzuki’s infotainment system; it’s easy to use if basic, but it does the job. It’s low on gimmick factor and has the all-important smartphone hook up.
The Ignis Ltd has a four-seater layout, the rear being split 50/50 and each side can slide forward and aft for further passenger and load space versatility. The boot is a useful size thanks to its depth, certainly with enough space for the shopping, and the seats fold easily, if not down flat.
Despite a slight price rise, for the money, you can’t really moan about much with the Ignis.
Model Suzuki Ignis LTD Price $24,490
Engine 1242cc, IL4, EFI, 66kW/120Nm
Transmission CVT, front-wheel drive
Vitals 11.10sec 0-100km/h, 4.9L/100km, 114g/km, 893kg