What’s it like?
Suzuki’s Ignis is an appealing ‘micro-SUV’ – the company calls it that because, despite its diminutive size and inexpensive pricing, it’s available with four-wheel drive in certain specifications. Using a nameplate previously seen on a forgettable hatchback built from 2000-2008, the Ignis can be considered a cheeky and chic alternative to the usual hatchback city-car fare. You can therefore think of it as a high-riding rival to the likes of a Toyota Aygo, Volkswagen Up, Hyundai i10 and more, as well as competition for affordable off-road-themed vehicles such as the Dacia Sandero Stepway, the Fiat Panda Cross and the Volkswagen Cross Polo.
Which model to go for?
Suzuki has kept the Ignis’ engine line-up very simple for its life – there’s a 1.2-litre petrol four-cylinder which either came with or without mild-hybrid assistance during its life. Technically, there are two 1.2s, because the core engine changed architecture and production code during the Ignis’ 2020 midlife facelift, but it’s best to just think of all Ignis models as powered by 1.2-litre engines and work from there.
Prior to the facelift of 2020 – which saw the Suzuki’s car-like front airdam and its rear bumper with a full-width, horizontal black bar in it replaced by items adorned with silver trapezoidal skid-plate-type features, to make it look more SUV-like, as well as the fitment of a five-bar Suzuki radiator grille in the nose – the 1.2 could be had without the 12-volt mild-hybrid technology, or equipped with a 3hp/50Nm motor and tiny 3Ah lithium-ion battery in a system called Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS). Post-facelift, only a 12-volt-equipped part-electric drivetrain was offered, although Suzuki dropped the SHVS tag and simply called the car the Ignis Hybrid.
Outputs prior to the facelift were 90hp and 120Nm, good enough to see the Ignis from 0-100km/h in 11.4 seconds. Strangely, despite a larger battery (10Ah) for the facelifted Hybrid, outputs dropped to 83hp and 107Nm, lengthening the 0-100km/h time to 12.8 seconds.
Most Ignis models are front-wheel drive and equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox, but there was a CVT automatic offered as an option, again exclusively mated to front-drive. The AllGrip all-wheel-drive set-up was reserved for the top grade SZ5 cars and could be paired to the manual gearbox only.
Fuel consumption on the pre-facelift Ignis cars was quoted as 4.6 litres/100km with 104g/km of emissions for the non-hybrid 1.2 DualJet, improving to 4.3 litres/100km and 97g/km on the SHVS models. Post-facelift, the Ignis Hybrid’s data of 5.4 litres/100km and 123g/km therefore look a bit weak, but those are more realistic WLTP numbers and any model ought to be incredibly efficient to run, because they’re all so light.
Trims were SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5. SZ3s were fairly basic, coming with steel wheels and covers, so you’re more likely to find better-equipped SZ-Ts on the used market. As already stated, if you want an all-wheel-drive Ignis then you need to search out the SZ5, which had a healthy level of standard equipment for its new purchase prices. It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind, though, that the SZ-T and SZ5 models had sliding rear seats as standard; this makes their interiors more configurable, granted, but it also removed the centre seatbelt and clip, making the Ignis into a four-seat car. Only the base SZ3 can seat five people.
To drive, the Ignis is pleasant. It’s not the quietest or most refined car in the world, but by the same token it’s not extraordinarily noisy (even at motorway speeds) and the ride comfort is generally sound. Its low weight helps it feel agile and alive in corners, while it makes the most of its modest power and torque outputs for the same reason – the lack of mass. We’d advise perhaps avoid the automatic models if you can, as they aren’t as good to drive as the far more readily available manuals.
Does anything go wrong?
Mechanically simple and using tech found on other products in its range, the Suzuki Ignis should be a dependable vehicle – nothing major is reported to go wrong with them, so you’ll mainly want to check all the electrical items fitted to it work. SZ3 models had a far lower level of standard-fit safety kit fitted, so if you want the Ignis models with better Euro NCAP scores, you need to seek out the SZ-T or, preferably, the SZ5.
Suzuki issued three recalls for the Ignis across the course of its life: one for a potential auto-start-stop issue, relating to battery charge and the water pump, another for a breather pipe not being properly welded to the fuel tank, and a final notice for a potential short-circuit issue with the 12-volt battery for the hybrid system on later (2022 model year) cars.