2017 Renault 4 Revealed at Paris

Or rather Suzuki showed the 2017 Ignis. Or rather they presented same car the Japanese public saw at the Tokyo motor show in 2015.

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The new Suzuki Ignis has two marketing points. One is the possibility of 4wd and the other is the robust and chunky styling. The 4wd option sets it apart from the Renault Captur. The sensible and tough look sets its apart from the Nissan Juke. The Ignis won’t replace the Jimny which has quietly become one of those reliable, steady sellers that won’t die. We wondered here about a Renault 4 for our times. Is the Jimny really that car? It’s cheap, efficient, useful and simple. Maybe the Ignis also meets the brief.

2001 Suzuki Ignis: source
2001 Suzuki Ignis: source

The Ignis isn’t really news. It left the UK market nine years ago but carried on elsewhere. It’ll be on sale again there in 2017. If we’d were reading our Indian automotive websites we’d be ready for this news. This site noted that the Ignis is due for launch in Italy in 2017.

While I am on the subject of modern-day equivalents of icons, the Ignis in its previous guise is a basic, small 4wd car. Is that not the Panda formula? Admittedly, I did not notice any in Italy in June. I assume the existing Pandas are providing a huge amount of the work needed by this class of car. However, let’s not ignore what’s under our noses: a utilitarian, economic small car that is probably more utilitarian than anything made by the people who used to make the R4 and 2CV.

This is what we could have read in 2015: ” The Ignis made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show with a 1.25-liter DualJet petrol engine with the SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) technology. Paired to a CVT, the Ignis was shown with a 4WD system, though a standard front-wheel drive layout will be seen on the ‘compact crossover’.

Kumataki said that the Ignis is based on Suzuki’s new platform which increases stiffness by 30 percent and reduces weight by 15 percent. It is to be noted that the recently-launched Baleno rides on Suzuki’s all-new platform as well, and is 100 kg lighter than the Swift which is both smaller, and less equipped in comparison.”

2008 Suzuki Ignis: source
Is this not Renault 4 enough for you? 2008 Suzuki Ignis: source.

Car Buyer says this: “Design-wise, the Ignis stands apart from the rest of the Suzuki range. First previewed by the Suzuki iM-4 concept at the 2015 Geneva motor show, it looks bold, with some elements referring to cars of Suzuki’s past, such as the SC100 ‘Whizzkid’ Coupe of the ‘70s. It looks tough, too, with bulging wheelarches and an angular window line, with black window and windscreen pillars creating a ‘floating roof’ look.

The black mesh grille is surrounded by a piece of chrome trim, while the slender headlight clusters are framed by large U-shaped LED running lights. There are also chrome-surrounded foglights set deep in the front bumper.

The extra styling features of the Suzuki Ignis Trail concept car also point toward additional features being possible, including black plastic cladding around the wheelarches, red stripes and a roof rack to highlight the car’s rugged nature”.

I salute Suzuki for ploughing this furrow.

Sources: 2008 Ignis; white 2015 Ignis; blue 2017 Ignis; bronze 2017 Ignis.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

13 thoughts on “2017 Renault 4 Revealed at Paris”

  1. No. The new Ignis is certainly ‘bolder’, to use CarBuyer’s term, but it is obviously less useful than its predecessors, with a sloping tailgate and no 3rd window. For that reason, it’s no Renault 4. The Suzuki Lapin is closer to an evolved Renault 4, so much so that someone actually grafted a lookalike front and rear onto one.

    I do agree that, if the previous generation Panda had been 20-25% bigger, it would have made a good Renault 4 type car. Or was that the Multipla anyway?

    The new Ignis has a reasonable shutcrime around the rear door. They put on the Whizkid graphics with pressed-metal airless ‘vents’ (something I’ve never understood anyway – on the iM-4 concept they were proper looking vents), but more or less ignore them with a meandering rear door opening. That would always irritate me.

    As for the Jimny, it’s been around so long I’d actually nominate it more as a junior Mercedes G-Class.

    1. Sean: I am so fatigued by design crime that my standards or expectations have been slammed downward. In defense of this car it´s less tricksy than either the Renualt or the Nissan. Also, that wedge of car they removed at the back is not all that important. I think the last car was more practical looking. By today´s lowered standards this is almost as sincere an effort as something from the 90s.

    2. I think Salvador Dali said something uncharacteristically self-effacing along the lines of ‘it’s not so much that I’m good, it’s just that the others are so bad’. So, yes, I feel the same fatigue and understand why we try to pick the least rotten fruit from the basket and, based on that, the new Ignis isn’t half had.

      But, I’d dispute the importance of the missing wedge. This is the bit that allows you to put big boxes and the like in the back. I have to do this a fair bit and the Cube, and other cars I’ve owned in the past such as a Mark 1 Espace and a Multipla allowed this. Even a Mark 1 Mondeo Estate was pretty good in that respect. I consider it an essential of a truly practical car.

      Of course, I’m probably out of tune. Proper loadspaces are just for saddoes and their IKEA runs.

  2. Reading this article and coming across the mention of the whizzkid coupe brought back long forgotten memories of a brief ownership when they were newly available. I recall it had rather tall gearing but with only four of them gaps were wider which affected progress if one was trying for max velocity.
    Economy was good due to low weight small frontal area and the afore mentioned tall gearing.
    This was a time when occupant safety didn’t exist in this type of car, except for basic belts, and if ever the inevitable happened the car would have looked like those neat metallic bricks that emerge from the “crusher” but with human remains encapsulated within.
    Gives new meaning to being buried with ones car!
    It was fun at the time and probably had the best engine of the microcars, although there had been NSU and Messerschmidt before with small performance units, but this one was proven and widely used in trucks and vans as well.

    1. Thanks for drawing my attention to the Whizzkid. Now the Ignis makes even more sense. Jalopnik calls it a car you should know about. More than ever I resent the parochialism of certain slices of the motoring press because it ignored Japan so obstinately.

    2. Richard. Are you sure you were unaware of the Whizzkid, AKA SC100. For a while it was Leonard Setright’s personal transport and I remember that he was very enthusiastic about it.

  3. The Jimny is not the R4 for our times. The R4 was comfortable and designed for roads (as well as unmade roads and tracks)… the Jimny is rough and essentially pointless unless you use its off road capability.

    This Ignis, however, is commendable I think, largely because of its low weight. Suzuki (and Mazda) deserve huge credit for seeking genuine efficiency through engineering. This alleviates my general hatred for the SUV genre.

    Also, it looks quite appealing, whereas the new Baleno, bless it, does not.

    As for the sloping rear window, while semantically it says ‘fashion’ rather than ‘practicality’, how much interior volume are you losing really? Cars are rarely packed to the roof, small cars rarely carry hard items like furntiture which require the squarest load bay possible… so you put squashy bags on top and shut the rear hatch more forcibly than usual.

    Overall, a thumbs up from me.

    1. I have not driven a Jimny. Actually, I seldom see them. They are not big in Denmark. I have discovered that they are not sold here. German buyers can get a new one. The R4-ness of the Jimny is in its straight-forwardness rather than its dimensions.
      The Ignis here captures some of the fun character of the Kei cars. I like that even if it´s not so overtly basic as the last model. From an anti-design standpoint, the last one had a Suburu-like ugliness which I admire.

  4. I’m glad they did away with the blandness of the predecessor. Though, like Sean, I have my problems with the rear part. The front is rather pleasing, and on a first glance it reminded me a lot of the Panda. Coincidence?

  5. The original looked like a modern-day R4, the new one more like a R5.

  6. Has nobody mentioned the Wagon R? It’s a strong contender for the latter-day R4 title, at least in its first two generations, which included wide-bodied international versions. A ‘peasant’s car’ which was also ideally suited to cities.

    The last two generations of Panda should fit the bill, but doesn’t quite – not as uncompromisngly voluminous, and too consciously styled.

    I agree with Richard about the Kei car look of the new Ignis – that’s interesting in itself as the creative vigour and diversity of the smallest Japanese cars is rarely found in the next class up. It does seem to be a very Japanese Suzuki, as distinct from the Indian, South-East Asian, and GM captive import varieties.

    Despite the Esztergom production facility, the Euro-Suzuki seems low on the company’s priorities; the Swift’s star is fading, and the SX-4 has been supplanted by the Cashcow-manqué SX4 S-Cross. We shouldn’t be surprised – Europe is hard work with limited reward for a carmaker which has conquered India and has a strong foothold in China.

    1. Lest the message was missed, Suzuki had an Fronte Cervo on their stand at the Paris Mondial. It was one of the round-lamped JDM versions, and was attracting far more love and attention than the Ignis beside it, even from people who had probably never heard of Long John Kickstart.

      The Ignis was well-liked by the assembled company at the show. It’s just odd that the vocabulary devised for it by Giugiaro is applied to a tall, cuboidal supermini, as if Suzuki thought that they could emulate the MINI Countryman or Fiat 500L, without their version of the R50 MINI or Fiat Trepiuno concept to set the scene.

      Time is flying fast. J Mays’ VW Concept One and the MINI showed face in the mid ’90s, the Trepiuno in 2004. I reckon we’re due a mid-’80s retro revival. Make mine an Integrale.

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