There’s a new kid on the block in the small SUV/Crossover mix with the 2017 Suzuki Ignis arriving in Australia.
Set to try and fill a niche among the smallest of the small SUVs available, think Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, the Suzuki Ignis could also be an attractive proposition to those car buyers who set out to buy a traditional hatchback.
Suzuki Australia is targeting 400 local sales per month of the all-new model.
I got along to the Australian launch of the new Suzuki Ignis in Melbourne today and got a little over an hour total drive time in the new offering.
Despite a relatively small test drive I came away mostly impressed.
Under the bonnet of the 2017 Suzuki Ignis is a 66kW/120Nm 1.2 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that does an adequate job of moving the five-door Ignis around.
Make no mistake though, the new Suzuki offering is no sports car!
I tested out the auto version of the Ignis (a five-speed manual transmission comes in the base-model GL) and while the engine/CVT move the Suzuki along alright at speed, for example on the highway, it’s low-speed acceleration where it feels a bit underdone.
There is a sports mode and this does help spark things up a bit, though with more right foot encouragement comes a fair bit of engine noise.
That’s a bit disappointing, especially as the Suzuki Ignis is certainly not bloated! It weighs in at just 820kgs and that is less than the old Suzuki Alto – a model sold in the micro-car segment.
It also lets down the rest of the Ignis drive experience which is, in the main, really positive.
In normal driving the cabin is adequately soundproofed and quiet and the steering is sharp, while the tiny turning-circle is super-impressive.
The highlight though is the ride – Suzuki has got this really nicely worked out.
Visibility from the driver’s seat, which is actually positioned quite high (and benefits from height-adjustable driver’s seat) is quite good, perhaps only let down to the rear by really chunky c-pillars.
The high seating position doesn’t compromise headroom, in fact Suzuki designers have done a terrific job with maximizing cabin space.
Purely a four-seater, the rear seat even slides backwards and forwards (in the upper-spec GLX) to allow for additional cargo space and the rear seat-back folds down almost entirely flat.
Interestingly the GLX also gets a 50/50 split, the GL has a 60/40 arrangement.
The Suzuki Ignis is being pitched at younger city drivers and the model would be ideal for a couple without kids.
The cabin has quite a good story to tell with the highlights being a very impressive infotainment system, the iPad style touchscreen, clear and easy to read gauges and a nice feel of quality through the climate control panel.
There’s also a better than average sized glove box and door pockets and Suzuki has perfectly positioned the power outlet, as well as AUX audio input and USB input.
Conversely, the door trims are fairly hard plastic (not a shock at this price) and they tend to creak a little as you move along.
A lack of a centre arm-rest always brings down interior comfort levels and this is no different in the Ignis (there is no rear seat centre arm-rest either).
Finally, time to talk safety. We are still awaiting a local ANCAP safety score for the new Suzuki Ignis.
All that we have to go off with the new model is a recent Euro-NCAP test that saw the Suzuki score as little as just three stars for models that don’t have Dual Camera Brake Support (DCBS).
The Australian-spec model doesn’t come with this feature, nor is it offered as an option.
Of the safety features that are there, Suzuki has equipped the Ignis with six airbags (front, side and curtain) and ISOFIX rear child restraints, as well as the usual stability control, ABS etc.
Interestingly, the Ignis comes with drum brakes on the rear, not more modern disc brakes.
Perhaps more likely to entice micro-car buyers and hatch buyers than SUV shoppers, the Ignis looks set to be a model that could play a big part in the ongoing resurgence of Suzuki in Australia.
It’s just a shame it doesn’t have a turbocharged engine, this would provide the fun drive experience to match the overall personality of the car.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Suzuki Ignis
Engine: 1.2 litre petrol producing 66kW/120Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual (GL), or CVT auto (GL and GLX)
Safety: Not tested
Pricing: from $15,990 (GL manual), $16,990 (GL auto), $18,990 (GLX)