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By John Floyd

Motorsport columnist

New Suzuki Ignis is on fire

Packaging some dynamite makes these two models great value for money.

Suzuki are certainly well entrenched in the small car segments of the SA market with products offering efficiency and quality – and the latest arrival is no exception.



Revealed to the world at the Paris Motor Show in 2015, the Ignis – Latin for fire – was voted the runner-up in the World Urban Car Award earlier this year. I had an opportunity to experience the Ignis on the roads of the Western Cape.

Ignis is offered in two models: the entry level GL and the top of the range GLX, the latter also available with an optional automated manual transmission.

Classified by the Japanese manufacturer as an ultra-compact crossover, the Ignis is definitely a lot more than that categorisation and initial appearance indicates. Only 3.7m long and 1.69m wide the overall impression is of a small car in every sense of the word, but don’t let that fool you.

Ignis is built on the new generation Heartect lightweight modular chassis, which reduces mass but provides a stable platform for suspension components. Appearance can best be described as “chunky”, but the styling is something that grows on you.



Initial images really did not excite me but in the metal the Ignis – particularly the GLX – is an interesting design. A relatively long wheelbase and short overhangs gives the impression that the wheels are literally at each corner.

The GL carries 15 inch steel wheels with full covers, and the GLX sits atop 15 inch piano black alloy wheels and both carry 175/65 R15 rubber.

The high roofline and 180mm of ground clearance give the Ignis a very upright look, accentuated by the high waistline and the narrowing window array. It has distinctive extended wheel arches (on the GLX), blacked out B pillars and broad C pillars, which incorporate a pressed vent motif.

This motif is repeated on the centre console and reflects the design heritage of two previous Suzuki compact models: the Fronte coupe built between 1971 and 1976 and the Cervo from 1977 to 1982, both designed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro.

At that time they were genuine cooling vents. The vents are now purely decorative. The Ignis carries its normally aspirated four cylinder K12M 1197 cc engine up front and drives the front wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission on both the GL and GLX – the latter having Suzuki’s so-called Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) as an option.

The engine is a proven unit, used in the current Swift 1.2 and delivers 61kW at 6 000r/min with maximum torque of 113Nm at 4 200r/min.

With its low mass, just 850kg, and a power to weight ratio of 71.65kW/ton the Ignis provides good performance and fuel efficiency. Acceleration from 0/100km/h is 11.6 seconds for the manual transmission and 13 seconds for the automated gearbox. Top speeds are 165km/h and 155km/h respectively.

Fuel consumption on a combined cycle is claimed at 5,1 litres/100 km for the manual and 4.9 litres/100 km for the auto. The interior is surprisingly spacious and provides comfortable seating for four passengers with space for a fifth in the central area of the rear bench seat.

Luggage is stowed in a 260l cargo space, fold that rear seatback and it increases to 469l. The interior has a black-andwhite theme with colour highlights linked to the exterior hues. The Ignis may be minimal in dimension but it is certainly not frugal in the specification line up.

Standard equipment offered by the GL includes remote central locking, air conditioning with pollen filter, audio system MP-3 compatible with USB port and two loudspeakers, a 12 volt power socket, electric windows, height adjustable steering wheel, a plethora of storage and bottle holders, colour coded bumpers, door handles and external mirrors, electrically adjustable external mirrors, front bucket seats, rear seat 60:40 split, and remote central locking.

The GLX models add wheel arch extensions, LED projector lights, LED daytime running lights, roof rails, wheel arch extensions, front fog lamps, electrically folding side mirrors with integral indicator repeaters, start/stop button, automatic climate control, rear loudspeakers and front tweeters, multi-information display, Bluetooth compatibility, multi function steering wheel controls, and rear park distance control.



An optional centrally mounted touch screen which can be linked to iOS and Android smartphones, and an SD card facility to provide real time navigation.

As one expects from Suzuki safety is high priority and the Ignis carries dual front air bags, side impact protection beams, ABS, EBD and EBA, Isofix child seat fixtures and an alarm immobilizer.

The launch drive took us from Durbanville to Rawsonville which included a good mix of both urban and rural motoring and the Ignis took it all in its stride.

The ride quality is very good, as are the chassis dynamics which was tested to the full over Du Toit’s Kloof Pass and it was extremely capable on all counts. The electrically assisted power steering loading up well and the suspension keeping you glued firmly to the tarmac, braking was up to the job for such a low mass car.

It is easy to understand the reason for the new Suzuki Ignis’ accolades: value for money, a high specification level and that excellent build quality perhaps making this a good alternative option for the SA small car market.

Model pricing

  • Ignis 1.2 GL 5MT R169 900 inc VAT
  • Ignis 1.2 GLX 5MT R189 900 inc VAT
  • Ignis 1.2 GLX 5AMT R204 900 inc VAT

Prices include a three year/100 000km warranty, a two year/ 30 000 km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000 km/12 months.

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