A BIT of winter weather is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to getting to grips with a car such as the new Suzuki Ignis.
And grip is the operative word for this new compact SUV which can be fitted with Suzuki's ALLGRIP 4x4 system for a fraction of the price of most 4x4s.
As such, the new Ignis is the second cheapest four-wheel-drive model on the market - pipped to the post by another Suzuki, the Swift 4x4.
The new Ignis is a trendy little four seater that can be spruced up in personal fashion inside and out and is priced from £9,999. The 4x4 is the six model range topper and costs from £13,999 making it a snip on the current crossover scene.
What really makes a difference is a friendly persona that gives the Ignis plenty of appeal, especially to younger motorists.
A covering of snow and slippery conditions proved no obstacle for a top specification Ignis SZ5 ALLGRIP and with relatively narrow tyres on 16-inch alloys it coped in excellent fashion.
The ALLGRIP set up is an automatic all wheel drive system that moves traction as necessary and the Ignis feels confident and assured. It's backed up with hill descent control and a hill holder device to help on gradients which in this league is quite a complement of heavy going equipment.
Suzuki is using its impressive 1.2-litre mild hybrid petrol engine in the ALLGRIP Ignis which uses an electric motor to reduce the workload on the main engine and that results in good economy and a bite to performance going through the five speed manual gearbox.
Even in the poor weather we averaged 52 to the gallon and officially it's rated at 60.1mpg with emissions of 106g/km.
Without the 4x4 system - which reduces the weight of the hybrid Ignis by 50kg to just 870kg - the car is even more economical with a CO2 figure down to 97g/km equating to an average of 66.7mpg.
The engine develops 90ps which in the Ignis 4x4 is good for 0 to 60 in 11.1 seconds with a top speed of 103mph.
It pulls well, drives without issue and all round is a worthy performer. If there is a consideration it is the size of the fuel tank which is tiny at 6.5 gallons giving a theoretical range of around 400 miles.
For a little car - at 12ft 1ins long the Ignis is about the same size as a Vauxhall Adam - it is big on equipment and the SZ5 comes with LED headlights, a nicely designed seven-inch touchscreen sat nav system, full smartphone connectivity, a digital audio system and automatic air conditioning.
Cruise control is also in the manifest and on the safety front the Ignis uses Suzuki's camera-based automatic emergency braking system as well as lane departure warning.
The interior is smart and well finished with an airy feel. It can be set off with contrasting coloured panels around the centre console and on the door pulls and although there are only four seats, leg and head room in the back is above average for a little car.
The rear seats not only fold but slide with a travel of more than six inches meaning boot space can be stretched from a minimum of 260 litres to 1,086 litres.
Two wheel drive versions have slightly more luggage space and there's no spare wheel, just a repair kit.
Outside, the Ignis has a presence with body lines emphasised by pronounced wheel arches, roof rails and a triple gill arrangement in the rear side panel.
It is also quite high (at 5ft 3ins it is taller than most city cars) and with more than seven inches of ground clearance plus an angular front and rear it stands out from the pack.
Attention grabbing continues with some bright paint finishes. There's no grey or silver in the 11 colours Suzuki is using on the Ignis but there are blues, reds and oranges as well as black and gold paint jobs plus two-tone arrangements which have different coloured roofs.
That will go down well with the 21 to 35-year-old target audience and so will an optional decal pack which for £299 can embellish the body with a subtle side flash, colours in the rear slats, contrasting door mirror caps and different styled alloy wheels.
All those options - inside and out - will be done at dealer level and can be added at any time. They can also be removed, if necessary, when it comes to resale time.
Suzuki is on a roll in Britain at the moment and saw sales rise by 11 per cent last year to 38,167 models.
It's set itself a target to increase that even further this year and with cars like the Ignis plus an aggressive sales strategy - the newcomer can be had on contract purchase for less than Â£190 a month complete with no deposit and a year's free insurance cover for anyone aged between 21 and 79 - that looks very achievable.