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Suzuki Ignis 2018 review

EXPERT RATING
6.8
Pinch-its-cheeks-cute, the Suzuki Ignis is a compact SUV that's odd, wacky, and doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. But that's never really stopped the company before, so why should it now?

Suzuki's chunky Ignis first saw the light of day at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. That was an interesting place to make a first move - it's the automotive glamour event of the year, and Suzuki is a real salt-of-the-earth kind of brand. But it did make some sense - while it wasn't called Ignis (it debuted under the clumsy iM-4), its individual looks got the fans excited.

Six months later it turned up at Tokyo, and then a year later in Paris as the Ignis we have today. Pinch-its-cheeks-cute, it's an entrant in the compact SUV segment dominated by much bigger companies - and cars - than Suzuki. It's odd, it's wacky and it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. But that's never really stopped the company before, so why should it now?

Suzuki Ignis 2018: GLX
Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency4.9L/100km
Seating4 seats
Price from$15,888

Is there anything interesting about its design?  7/10

While the Ignis is certainly distinctive, the GLX steps it up a bit. Most of the extra outlay goes on the bigger wheels, colourful trim and, if you like, spend another grand and you can have two-tone paint which isn't nearly as horrific as it sounds.

Amusingly, it's almost as wide as it is high, giving the car a distinctly brick-on-wheels bearing. The exterior styling is bold, with pumped wheelarches, big confident headlights and some brave angles at the rear. There are even a trio of what look like gills carved into the C-pillar.

Tthe GLX comes with bigger wheels, colourful trim and, spend another grand for two-tone paint. Tthe GLX comes with bigger wheels, colourful trim and, spend another grand for two-tone paint.

All that slabby-sidedness and high-roof mean a reasonably roomy interior. Nothing in here is particularly outstanding but seems to be reasonably put together and the materials are alright too.

How practical is the space inside?  7/10

It might be small, but you can get quite a bit in to the Ignis. Front seat passengers enjoy a pair of cupholders while those in the back have to share one for a total of three. Each door will hold a small bottle.

Rear seat dwellers have an extraordinary amount of legroom for such a tiny car. They'll have to put up with a springy ride when the road gets bumpy, but it's quite amazing how much leg and headroom is available. There's no space for a middle passenger in the GLX, so it's just a four-seater.

Pop the hatch and despite the Ignis' apparently abbreviated rear end, you'll have a starter capacity of 264 litres, which isn't bad for a car this size. Fold the rear seats down and you'll have a quite impressive 1104 litres, which is quite a bit.

  • The starting capacity of boot is 264 litres. The starting capacity of boot is 264 litres.
  • Fold the rear seats down and you'll have 1104 litres of space. Fold the rear seats down and you'll have 1104 litres of space.

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

Slotting in underneath the funky re-born Vitara and alongside the new Swift, the Ignis starts at $15,990 for the GL manual, with another $1000 scoring you the CVT auto. Then there's a step up to $18,990 for the GLX, the car in my charge for a week.

The auto-only GLX sports 16-inch alloys, a six-speaker stereo, climate control, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, cruise control, sat nav, auto LED headlights, leather steering wheel, power windows and mirrors, cloth trim and a space saver spare.

The auto-only GLX sports 16-inch alloys. The auto-only GLX sports 16-inch alloys.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen powers the six-speaker stereo and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - few in its class can manage that. The screen isn't bad, either, although the lack of proper volume buttons will never not be annoying.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen powers the six-speaker stereo and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 7.0-inch touchscreen powers the six-speaker stereo and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  6/10

The Ignis is powered by a tiny, 1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 66kW/120Nm, neither of which are earth-shattering. While the basic GL scores a five-speed manual, you're rather stuck with the CVT auto in the GLX. As you might expect, it's front-wheel drive only.

The Ignis is powered by a tiny, 1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 66kW/120Nm. The Ignis is powered by a tiny, 1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 66kW/120Nm.

How much fuel does it consume?  6/10

The Ignis' claimed combined cycle figure is 4.9L/100km, which feels near impossible when you consider we got 8.1L/100km. The claimed figure would be marvellous given the tiny 32-litre fuel tank. It consumes 91 RON and puts out 114g/km of CO2 when downing it at the claimed rate.

What's it like to drive?  7/10

Weighing just 865kg, the Ignis is surprisingly sprightly given its skinny power figure, the handicap of the CVT and its high ride height. Once you get used to the body roll, the sometimes bouncy rear end, and the CVT, it's quite the urban warrior.

CVTs aren't great to start with and sadly this one isn't good. Indecisive and flare-prone, a flattened throttle spins the 1.2-litre engine into a bit of a tizzy from which little in the way of straight line performance can be extracted. It's fine once it's rolling, and held its own surprisingly well on the freeway. Just not particularly quickly.

Weighing just 865kg, the Ignis is surprisingly sprightly given its skinny power figure.

Loading up the Ignis is a sure-fire way to slow things to a crawl, however. It doesn't take kindly to being four-up, the elastic band rear suspension going all trampoliney.

One of the reasons it's good around town is the excellent turning circle. The steering isn't slow, but the wheel keeps going and the turn gets tighter, with a full-lock turning circle of under 10 metres. Parking is easy, manoeuvring around tight spots is simple.

As long as you don't push it, it's a easy car to live with, and if you keep the weight down, good fun.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  7/10

It's fitted with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, reversing camera, and brake force distribution, but the Ignis does not have an ANCAP safety rating.

Two ISOFIX points join top-tether anchors for securing the little ones.

EuroNCAP's testing awarded the Ignis both a three and five star mark depending on the optional safety equipment fitted - Australian specs go without AEB and lane-keeping technology.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  7/10

Like the rest of the Suzuki range, the Ignis scores a three-year/100,000km warranty. Service intervals are set at six months/10,000km and you'll no doubt be pleased to discover a capped-price servicing regime runs for five years/100,000km. Prices are mostly $175 per service, with the occasional jump, to either $359 or $399.

Pricing Guides

$17,250
Based on 115 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$13,990
Highest Price
$20,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GL 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $13,990 – 17,990 2018 SUZUKI IGNIS 2018 GL Pricing and Specs
GL (QLD) 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $10,890 – 14,850 2018 SUZUKI IGNIS 2018 GL (QLD) Pricing and Specs
GLX 1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO $15,888 – 20,888 2018 SUZUKI IGNIS 2018 GLX Pricing and Specs
GLX (QLD) 1.2L, PULP, CVT AUTO $13,420 – 17,600 2018 SUZUKI IGNIS 2018 GLX (QLD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6.8
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features7
Engine & trans6
Fuel consumption6
Driving7
Safety7
Ownership7

“It's a curious car - way too small to really be considered a compact SUV and priced alongside the Swift hatch which seems a little odd. Suzuki has never been afraid to be odd - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (looking at you S-Cross) - but that's cool. And the Ignis is cool, and it's cool because there's nothing else like it.”

Like your small SUVs super-weird? Or is the Ignis a bit too weird for your tastes? Let us know in the comments.

Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$14,000

Lowest price, based on 46 car listings in the last 6 months

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