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Suzuki Ignis GLX 2017 review

The Suzuki Ignis is simply a reborn small SUV - so why has everyone fallen in love with it? (Image credit: Tim Robson)
EXPERT RATING
7
There hasn't been a car launched in the last 12 months that's attracted as much interest as the new Suzuki Ignis. Everyone from kids to retired couples is falling in love with this quirky, small SUV.

There hasn't been a car launched in the last 12 months that's attracted quite as much interest as the new Suzuki Ignis. Everyone from little kids pointing in the street, right through to retired couples looking for something a bit different are falling in love with this quirky, cutesy, small SUV from the Japanese company.

You may remember Suzuki brought the Ignis nameplate to Australia in the early 2000s, and Holden sold a badge-engineered version that served as its first ever Cruze.

With Suzuki refreshing its entire line-up with throwbacks to its past, like the Baleno and the Vitara, where does the new Ignis fit in?

Suzuki Ignis 2017: GLX
Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency4.9L/100km
Seating4 seats
Price from$12,494

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

This is not just a cut-price, cookie-cutter small hatch; someone who actually cares about cars has been put in charge of the Ignis project. Funky shapes, interesting colours, and textures combined with simple and functional instrumentation provide a look and a feel that's a visual cut above anything else in the price range.

The exterior design is equally interesting. It's not classically beautiful in any way, shape, or form, but the riot of straight lines, creases and bold colours again makes the Ignis stand way apart from the rest of the small SUV pack.

  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)

Every surface has been treated with love and care, too. The front end with its cool LED driving lights integrated into the headlights, the way the rear bumper is incorporated into the rear end, and even the little design dimples on the C-pillar - it all comes together in a package that's appealing to the eye... but you don't quite know why.

The Ignis can also be coloured up to your heart's content, thanks to a wide array of trim options for inside and outside the car, which can be used to contrast the six external colours that include 'Fervent Red' with a black roof ($1000 extra), 'Flame Orange', 'Mineral Grey', 'Neon Blue' ($500 extra), and white.

The use of bold, alternative exterior colours extends to the inside.

It's also possible to spec a contrasting grille and headlight surround combo, different fog light surrounds, mirror caps and even wheel decals that are kept as dealer spares, so swaps can be made more easily.

On the inside, the centre console, air con outlet surrounds and front door handles can be coloured blue, red or grey for $630.

  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)

The use of bold, alternative exterior colours extends to the inside, with body coloured centre console and door handles, along with an off-white treatment for the large plastic door cards and dash trim.

The tablet-like multimedia system juts out from the dash and is easy to use while the instrument binnacle itself is simplicity in action with a large central speedo, a small black and white screen to the right, and a simple tachometer on the left.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

While its external dimensions are relatively tiny, the Ignis really does a Tardis trick with its interior. There is plenty of room for four people aboard thanks to clever packaging and a high roof line.

The Ignis is classed as a four seater, but those rear seats in the GLX can be ratcheted forward and back which not only gives more cargo space with the seats up, but also means the rear seat passengers can have more leg room if there's no cargo behind them. Without passengers aboard, they can also be inclined to stand vertically, allowing boxes and the like to be more easily carried.

The rears tumble down in 50/50 split fold manner, although they do leave a large lump in the cargo area. There is 264 litres of luggage space behind the seats, or 1104 litres maximum with everything folded as flat as possible. Which isn't actually that flat.

Because there's no centre console bin for the front, there are no vents for the rear, and nor are there and charging outlets. There is a pair of ISOFIX baby seat mounts, though.

The Ignis's instrumentation is simple, super clear and easy to read – and as a consequence, it makes the car easier for, erm, more mature drivers to use.

It's a similar story when it comes to room for the front seat passengers. While the seats are quite softly cushioned, they are still comfortable on even medium to long journeys.

The driver's seat is manually adjustable for height, which allows a variety of driver sizes to fit comfortably. One small downside is the fact that the steering wheel is only adjustable for height and not for reach.

The Ignis's instrumentation is simple, super clear and easy to read – and as a consequence, it makes the car easier for, erm, more mature drivers to use. They're not confronted by a mass of dials and switches; instead, a simple touchscreen controls most of the functions of the car and a clear dash readout tells you the rest. It does miss out on a digital speedo, though.

There are two cup holders side by side in front of the gear shifter, along with a reasonably sized mobile phone pocket beneath the heating and cooling controls. There's also a small pocket underneath the manual handbrake, but because there's no centre console bin a third cup holder lives between the two front seats and can be reached by the back seat occupants as well.

Both front and back seaters get two bottle holders.

  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)
  • 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

You could be forgiven for thinking that for its low entry price, the Ignis is as basic as you could possibly get - but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Sure, hop in the car and you are confronted with a lot of plastic surfaces but equally those plastic surfaces have been designed with a bit of thought and fun in mind.

This top-spec GLX come with a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving the front wheels as the only option, and it retails for $19,990 before on-road costs.

The touchscreen multimedia system is well equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, satellite navigation, Bluetooth streaming, and reversing camera.

This price point generally means you're not going to get a lot of gadgets. There are auto-off headlights, cruise control, plus electric mirrors and windows.

However, the touchscreen multimedia system is well equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, satellite navigation, Bluetooth streaming, and reversing camera, plus there are various controls on the leather bound steering wheel.

Two-toned cloth seats, single zone climate control, a USB and a 12 volt port sums up the spec sheet for the Suzuki Ignis.

Outside, there are 16-inch alloys and LED projector highlights. It also runs disc brakes up front and drums in the rear, with MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

On paper the Ignis looks somewhat uninspiring, with a naturally aspirated 1.2 litre engine making a mere 66kW at a high 6000rpm and 120Nm of torque at 4400rpm, matched to a CVT driving the front wheels. Hell, there are even drum brakes on the rear of the car.

But don't let the specs fool you. Suzuki knows how to build small capacity engines, and the 16-valve unit combines dual injectors on each piston with higher compression (and better heat management) to provide spritely, rev-happy performance.

2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson) 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX (image credit: Tim Robson)

It gets a bit raucous up the top end of the rev range – as much a symptom of the way the CVT works as anything – but it's economical and amusing at the same time. Combine it with the 865kg kerb weight, and it's more than good enough for urban work.

The CVT offers a 'low range' option, which doesn't seem to do much other than shorten the overall gear ratio to no great affect, as well as a 'Sport' button that again just lets the engine rev higher. A CVT is essentially a single speed gearbox, so the parlour tricks aren't of much use in the real world.

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Against a claimed average of 4.9 litres per 100km, we recorded a dash indicated figure of 6.4L/100km.

We used 29 litres of fuel (from a 32 litre tank) to travel 402km, which actually returns a figure more like 7.2 litres per 100km in real life, which is a big difference.

About 100km of the distance was covered with the CVT in 'Sport' mode, which keeps engine revs higher, so this would account for part of the discrepancy.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Thanks to its light weight, the Ignis is a surprisingly fun little car to drive. Back in 2003 Suzuki did a version of the Ignis called the Sport, which featured a 1.5 litre twin-cam engine, slightly modified suspension, and lighter weight; the 2017 incarnation of the Ignis doesn't feel a million miles away from that car. It's even got the exact same key fob!

It's lively, and it's easy to handle, thanks to its 865kg kerb weight (most cars in the category weigh over 1100kg). It steers perfectly adequately and turns and stops with confidence. The whine and flare of the CVT are prominent as you get used to the car, as well as an odd notchy feeling when it's cold, but it becomes less intrusive the more you drive it.

Given the engine size and the car's dimensions I was initially reluctant to take it on longer journeys, but my fears were unfounded. Over 150-kilometre stretches, the Ignis was no more compromised than any car you can name.

Suzuki engineers have managed to give this tiny car a large car ride and feel.

The ride in particular is a standout. Most small cars have a brittle, sharp edged ride as a result of essentially smaller suspension packaging; there's just not enough travel to give the car any sort of comfortable ride.

Suzuki engineers have managed to give this tiny car a large car ride and feel, by tuning the basic set-up for an unladen state. If, for example, you load the car right up with two people and, say, $600 of wine and beer (don't ask), that comfortable ride will soon disappear into sharp edged oblivion.

With just one or two people aboard on a normal suburban road, though, the Suzuki rides like a car twice its size.

2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX 2017 Suzuki Ignis GLX

It's not perfect. The steering, in particular, has a lack of what's called self-centering, which basically means it doesn't want to track in a straight line if you're resting a hand even lightly on one side of the wheel. This is more a matter of retraining your brain to drive the car as it's presented, though.

Given the car's large front profile, there's also some wind rustling around the A pillars and the windscreen at freeway speeds, but again this disappears around town.

There's a bit of tyre roar on rougher tarmac but it all but disappears again when the going smooths out. For a small car, though, its ability to filter out noise is excellent.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

The Ignis isn't yet rated by ANCAP, but it only scored three out of five stars in Euro NCAP testing, thanks to a lack of standard driver aids like AEB.

No driver aids are offered on Australian-spec cars, either, even though there is an optional safety pack available in overseas markets.

Standard safety gear runs to six airbags - including curtain bags and thorax bags for front row occupants - EBD, ABS and hill-hold assist.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

Suzuki offers a standard three-year, 100,000km warranty for the Ignis, which trails rivals offering up to seven years and unlimited kilometres.

Servicing is recommended at 10,000km or six-month intervals, which is again shorter than those suggested by rival companies. A five-year capped price service program costs $2207 in total.

Verdict

With striking looks that appeal to an incredibly wide array of people, and comfort and functionality to back it up, Suzuki is on a winner with the little Ignis.

A lack of a digital speedo, a shortish warranty and frequent service requirements play against it, and we'd like to test the fuel consumption again over a longer distance to see if the claimed figures stack up, but it's still a worthy alternative in the small SUV category.

Don't worry too much about what the specification sheet says, though. The Ignis is much more than the sum of its parts, and it's a terrific car for the cut and thrust of urban warfare.

Is the Suzuki Ignis hot... or not? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$13,999
Based on 35 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$11,990
Highest Price
$17,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GL 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $11,990 – 13,990 2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GL Pricing and Specs
GL (QLD) 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $9,240 – 13,090 2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GL (QLD) Pricing and Specs
GLX 1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO $12,494 – 17,990 2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GLX Pricing and Specs
GLX (QLD) 1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO $11,660 – 15,510 2017 SUZUKI IGNIS 2017 GLX (QLD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Design8
Practicality8
Price and features7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption6
Driving8
Safety6
Ownership6
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$10,990

Lowest price, based on 21 car listings in the last 6 months

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