From the moment I saw it launch in South Africa, I couldn’t wait to drive the Suzuki Ignis. This cheeky Japanese crossover caught my attention thanks to its quirky styling and pocket-friendly price point. So, when it showed up in our driveway, I didn’t hesitate to climb behind the wheel.
The Ignis caught the eye of many a passer-by as I piloted it in and around Cape Town’s CBD and the V&A Waterfront. The styling is bold, sporty and certainly unique. It’s a standout for all the right reasons – it’s lovely. It’s the kind of car you enjoy being seen in because it’s cute and plucky. The stubby nose is cutesy, while in profile the Ignis looks a bit like a toy car. I love the black wheels that offer up a sporty appeal, while the flared wheel arches and high(ish) ground clearance gives an off-road look to the Ignis.
Powering the 850kg Ignis is a 1.2-litre petrol engine that has 61 kW and 133 N.m of torque. The model that we found ourselves behind the wheel of was the five-speed manual, but there is also a five-speed automatic in the range. This combination allows for zippy and quick driving, while the suspension set-up absorbs bumps with ease.
Inside the Suzuki Ignis feels modern with a two-tone colour scheme and features that includes a USB/MP3/CD player. Standard features on the entry-level GL include air-con, power steering, dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, BAS, electric windows and mirrors and remote central locking. The GLX model, the one we found on our doorstep (available in manual and automatic), adds 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille accents, keyless entry, full-LED headlights and front fog lights. On the inside, more tech is added in the shape of Bluetooth handsfree phone integration with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and climate control.
VERDICT: The Ignis is a lovely car and a serious contender in its segment.
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Performance: 0-100kph in 11.6sec (13sec for the AT)
Top speed: 165 km/h (155 km/h for the AT)
Fuel economy: 5.1 litres/100 km (4.9 litres/100 km for the AT)
Price: R169 900 for the GL (R189 900 for the GLX, R204 900 for the GLX AT)
After sales: 2 yr/30 000 km service plan
Read a first drive of the Suzki Baleno here.