By Mike Torpey on 2017-05-06 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ5
SMALL car specialist Suzuki has never been afraid to take on the big guns and its latest urban runabout the Ignis is adding some extra spice to the city car scene.
Described by the Japanese manufacturer as a compact crossover, the Ignis is a masterpiece of slick design.
It's a model based very much on common sense and with prices starting at £9,999 it is certainly value for money.
Up for grabs in three trim grades - SZ3, SZT and SZ5 - the Ignis comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine in every variant, though there's a choice of five-speed manual and automated manual transmissions, plus four-wheel drive.
Visually the new Ignis is light years ahead of its predecessor from 10 years ago and offers plenty of space for four - without looking in the least bit boxy.
Headroom is ample, there's sufficient shoulder room for both rear passengers and the cloth seats are comfortable.
In addition you can slid the rear bench, which splis and folds 50:50, to increase either legroom or boot space.
Talking of the boot, you're never going to find a cavern in a city car, but it at least offers some depth in its 267-litre capacity.
And when it comes to storage, well the Ignis is a class apart with its three cupholders and four bottle holders plus glovebox, door bins and central stowage.
The tested model, in flagship SZ5 trim, costs £4,000 more than base grade but adds quality, technology and some smart features.
Bright colours along with a two-tone black and white fascia give the cabin a fresh feel while the interior door handles and trim around the gearstick are a shiny burnt orange.
A touchscreen sat nav is also part of the deal, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with the likes of four electric windows, keyless entry, LED headlights and cruise control, while every Ignis gets six airbags, ESP, air-con, DAB radio and Bluetooth.
Out on the road the Suzuki is a little fizzer with sharp handling and reasonable punch from its 90bhp engine, driven via a five-speed manual gearbox.
In fact it's only drawback is a firm suspension that accenuates uneven surfaces and sends a sharp judder up your back if take speed bumps at anything more than a crawl, or fail to spot a pothole.
The SZ5, which also comes with four-wheel drive and the company's SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) mild hybrid set-up, has an official fuel consumption figure of 60.1mpg Combined, though our own return was 46.2mpg.
Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ5 4x4
Mechanical: 90bhp, 1,242cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via five-speed manual transmission
Max Speed: 103mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 60.1
Insurance Group: 9
C02 emissions: 106g/km
Bik rating: 20%
Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles
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