Ignis Inspection

As promised… a closer look at the new Suzuki Ignis.

These photos are very grey and very dank and really only serve to prove I did go to take a look at an Ignis with its wrapping still on. Curiously, all of the cars at the dealer had darkened rear windows so I could not see the interior properly. So, in the metal is the new Ignis going to live up to the burden of expectations?

What expectations? Well, on Monday I characterised the previous Ignis as a quiet success, a steady seller that avoids obvious cross-shopping with other models and appeals to a not-too-small audience which doesn’t want a mainstream car and which doesn’t want to buy something actually odd either.

In order to cross-check my instinct, I had a look for some reviews. The Daily Express has the same interpretation as I do, which is a bit of a surprise: “While the majority [of Ignises] will be front-drive, Suzuki expects 15 per cent of the total to opt for four-wheel drive which is only available on the latter. While styling is a subjective aspect of any car, Suzuki’s designers appear to have achieved the considerably difficult task of styling a car that is almost universally liked. It looks perfectly proportioned and stands out among the thousands of others on the road. Only one engine is on offer in the Ignis, an 89bhp 1.2-litre petrol.”

This last bit got me thinking: those cars right at the centre of the market seem to have a large number of engines and as you get further away from the mainstream the range quickly reduces. Suzuki could not be expected to give this car four engines. One is too few when it’s only a 1.2. But then again, maybe Ignis customers only want this kind of power and fuel consumption. I think maybe a 1.6 would be an interesting option. Unlike the first Ignis and more like the second this car comes with all-wheel drive. This is going to be big in Switzerland, southern Germany and Austria.

These awful photos are all I could get from my visit. I noticed Suzuki have gone for an industrial design style not unlike Renault’s Twingo but squarer. Those are two piece doors – maybe there’s a third chunk down below the seat. It is a fun colour break-up: they could very well have gone for grey and grey.

As far as I can tell Suzuki have not pushed the yacht out regarding interior colours: it’s grey cloth as standard. I would not be surprised if in Japan there is some something more enjoyable on offer. Given that the target audience is apparently more women than men (excuse my assertion) then I think Suzuki ought to have offered at least three shades of cloth (warm, neutral, cool?) instead of one?

Here are the exterior shades:

Bright and breezy: source

And this is a better photo of the exterior (from the Daily Express):

2017 Suzuki Ignis

This is promising: “Oddly, the softer suspension can also thud over speed bumps and potholes yet on most roads the softer ride is good for passenger comfort. The car is still easy and fun to drive and position though. In fact, its body-roll coupled to precise steering helps this because it offers good feedback to the driver about what the car will and won’t do in a corner.  The engine adds to the experience and is smooth and happy-to-rev with enough power to happily cruise on the motorway while not being excessively noisy. Inside the Ignis there are more surprises, mainly around its substantial interior space given the diminutive exterior” (my italics).

My judgement here is that this version of the Ignis is going to do pretty much what the previous ones did while also offering a tad more visual spice (the interior details, the paint combinations). It seems to go after some part of the personal choice market and also the people who don’t want to have a Ka or Fiat 500. It’s really refreshing that the car is not from an obvious niche in the market and nor does it seem like a niche that doesn’t really exist. This is a Panda 4×4 for our times: discuss.

(In Japan there is a hybrid version. Are Suzuki missing a nice bit of business by leaving that one in Tokyo?)


Author: richard herriott

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

20 thoughts on “Ignis Inspection”

  1. I often like small Suzukis but I find this, with its blanked out Whizzkid Tribute rear vents mildly irritating in a post ironic sorta way. But for those of us who aren’t so incensed by that sort of thing, I can see why people would buy them.

  2. Critically, the Ignis is commendably light. This means it is efficient. As such, with its low powered petrol engine, it makes for a viable and clever car for the city. I really quite like it.

    There is absolutely no need to reference the Daily Express though. Ever.

    1. I was in the Sean camp initially, but I’ve seen a few of these around latterly and I have to say I find them quite charming. Good stance, attractive (slightly oddball) styling, lightweight, nimble, rolls in corners, what’s not to like? He asks.
      Richard suggests a larger engine would be a good idea. I disagree. Larger engine: more weight, beefier suspension, bigger brakes, less nimble-ness. I expect the platform would preclude such a move anyway. This sounds like a ‘go quickly by never going slowly’ sort of car. Fun without being FUN! And not an airbump in sight.

  3. That is a good point – it is the better looking Fiat Panda for me too. And these fake air vents are forgiven, they are going well with the parallel line of the side window. The whole car has nice proportions for such a small car with foor doors.
    The only weak point is the design of the rear lights, they look like being stolen of another anonymous car.

    1. The rear lamps – you’ve drawn my attention to them. They do have “from another car” look to them. The Ignis has by-passed my normal rules as has the Opel Adam. Why? I can overlook small details because the whole concept is so cheerful. Is that allowed?

  4. I certainly agree with Eoin on the ‘good stance’ front, and I find you can forgive a lot of things if a car has a good stance – except faux vents. And remember, if the ‘vents’ weren’t there you could actually see over your shoulder.

  5. Suzuki is missing a large bit of business not having this in the US market. Small crossovers are so hot right now people are lamenting the imminent death of the sedan.

    I don’t have any issue with the so-called fake vents, primarily because I don’t believe them to be fake vents. What car has functional vents in their C-pillar that these are supposedly a false version? I would describe the feature as impressed ribbing meant to echo the leading up sweep of the C-pillar and provide visual texture to what would otherwise be a featureless rear quarter. Is it necessary? No, but I like the detail.

    1. The originals on the Whizzkid look as though they are real, venting air from the cabin.

      But, no dogmatist (see DTW intro), I will concede to the learned opinion of my peers and try, so very hard, to ignore those bloody awful false vents and admire the nice looking interior.

    2. That’s my view though I can see Sean’s vexation and the fact the WhizKid’s were real rubs salt in the cut.
      And isn’t the WhizKid only fab? It’s only in need of a few adjustments to make it right for today. I only heard about this very recently. It ought to be a very well-referenced car.

    3. Is that a rear engine hatch???

      Okay, in my defense please remember that many, if not most, of the interesting cars this world has produced were never on offer in the US market. Now that I have been enlightened yes, they are fake vents. However, seeing as they are a bit of homage to the earlier design I kind of like them more.

  6. The rear lights are a let down. I too have seen a few on the road and really like it – fun and cheeky in a genuine manner. On the faux vents, should the question not be as to whether the car would be better off without?

  7. Isn´t the Whizkid a rather super vehicle? I had a look at the interior which has this slab of plastic across the dashtop with a set of holes for the dials placed neatly across it. It is dead plain yet also looks more than good enough for the job. A modern equivalent of this might have been the SmartForTwo. My feeling is that the ForTwo is not much fun and the one time I drove one didn´t leave me impressed. The Twingo might also be a modern equivalent and, again, what they don´t say is what a wheeze it is to drive.

  8. When one trawls through the Global Suzuki website, they make a point of the fake (or sometimes maybe not) vents, saying they’re a nod to heritage going back yonks. Mazda had a nice line of them in the RX-2 and RX-3 decades ago as well. This Ignis still looks like an updated mid 1970s Civic to me, especially from the front. Not a bad thing, just interesting as I quite like it. And at least it has a modern interior and available sort of AWD – it’s only a viscous coupling, the sort of thing Honda (Wagovan) and Toyota (Tercel Wagon) dumped about 1990. Unless the coupling is huge physically, its torque capacity is low, say 20 or 30 nt-m. Suzuki had the same lashup in the Aerio – I got turfed out out of a Suzuki dealership 15 years ago when I owned an Impreza by merely asking what type of AWD it supposedly was. My Impreza had a gear centre diff and the viscous coupling was used as a limited-slip device, not to transfer the drive torque. But hey, on the Suzuki checklist, they get to put a big tick alongside that AWD box on the spec sheet! Now the Jimny, that has real 4WD.

    Considering that Suzuki has the 1.0l triple cylinder BoosterJet engine with a mighty 109 bhp and lots of luvverly torque of 170 nt-m in a 900 kg vehicle, it seems strange they don’t fit it in this Ignis as an option. Or would the Swift product manager object?

  9. As you guessed, Richard – they’re already making an impact on Swiss Alpine roads. Suzuki in general is quite strong here, they make affordable 4WD cars for folks in mountain villages. Most Swifts I see driving around have that noticeable differential on their rear axle.

    The impact the Ignis makes might also be due to its unusual looks. I don’t think the rear lights are too bad, by the way. I like that they opted for a rather simple shape, avoiding the strange corners we see all over the place now. The stance is also remarkable; although it’s rather high it doesn’t strike me as an SUV sort of car in the first place, which is good. Now, the fake vents or C-pillar pressings or whatever they are… from many angles they’re not very obvious, and once you sit inside the car, you don’t have to worry about them any more. That’s the best I can say about them.

    1. On balance, they could have been ommitted without harm. The biggest objection is that they refer to a design detail on a fundamentally different car. They don’t support the Ignis concept which is strong enough as it is. They are conceptually wrong even if they look harmless.

  10. Richard, I agree with your earlier assessment – this is small, cheeky car, and the reference to the Whizz Kid is cheeky and witty. These aren’t fake vents but stampings in the side panel as a subtle visual reference – it’s fine by me.

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