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