SUZUKI has sprung several surprises in the past, among them its twin giant killers in the Swift GTi hot hatch and the mighty mouse Jimny with its sensational off-road abilities.
Now it’s poised to stir up the city car sector with its all-new Ignis, a surprisingly well-appointed mini with the cheekiest of looks.
The four-door hatch comes in two levels of spec: GL at $15,990 driveaway and GLX at $19,990.
Standard equipment in both is quite remarkable in that it includes a good reversing camera; aircon; six airbags; stability control; ABS, EBD and Brake Assist; multimedia satellite navigation; cruise control; Bluetooth, iPod, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity; and steering wheel audio controls.
They also share a spirited 1.2litre Dualjet four-cylinder petrol engine.
The GL has a six-speed manual transmission, though continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available for $1000 more, while the GLX is a CVT-only model.
The GLX, as reviewed, adds bigger (16-inch) alloy wheels, daytime running lights, projector-style auto-on headlights, 50/50 folding and sliding and reclining rear seats, digital climate control, privacy glass and keyless start.
Inside, there’s a new class-leading instrument panel that would put many cars in a class above to shame with its clarity and top-class switchgear.
The doors have neat, effective pulls and the two-tone interior is fresh and stylish and sports more than enough oddment storage.
Space and comfort are very good for a compact, with the tall body providing lots of headroom, even for folks of 2m, and the back seats are pretty decent too.
They can be slid forwards or backwards or laid flat, providing various configurations to suit a great variety of seating and/or cargo needs. Seats up gives a fairly tight 264litres for the groceries, but whack them down and there’s a generous 516litres, which should cope with most of your Ikea purchases.
The 66kW/120Nm Dualjet is quite a little terrier, able to take the 865kg Ignis to 100km/h in 13.5seconds; and if you hire one in Europe, you’ll find it will actually reach 160km/h on an autoroute.
It’s pretty spritely in town traffic, parks on a 5c piece and uses very little fuel: about 5litres/100km.
It sits tall on the road, so it can cope with a modicum of SUV tasks, and it handles nicely, despite its short wheelbase.
Comfort levels are fairly impressive for a city tiddler, though the suspension can jar over some of those awful shopping centre speed humps.
True Love thought it was just the job for urbanites: small outside, big inside, cute as a button and infinitely customisable, which should appeal to the young brigade.
There’s a variety of colour choices for the mirror housings, grille, foglights and wheels.
Verdict: A refreshing newcomer, especially appealing to two market extremes: the young and the umm, mature.
Suzuki’s new Ignis is quite a surprise package.