Suzuki Ignis 1.2

Dualjet SZ-T

Suzuki Ignis, dynamic
Suzuki Ignis, profile
Suzuki Ignis, rear quarter
Suzuki Ignis, front quarter
Suzuki Ignis, interior rear
Suzuki Ignis, boot
Suzuki Ignis, interior
Suzuki Ignis, night time

FEW people will have missed the original Suzuki Ignis when it slipped quietly out of production almost a decade ago.

Boxy, plain and nondescript, it was a functional urban runaround, in either compact hatchback or estate forms, but completely devoid of any character.

If ever a car was misnamed - Ignis means ‘fire' in Latin - surely it was that one.

The 2017 reincarnation is a totally different proposition, however.

The Ignis has been reborn as a baby crossover which oozes the kind of funky charm and appeal that its predecessor so patently lacked.

Shrinking the key features of the hatchback/SUV mash-ups that are currently all the rage down to city car proportions, this is now a motor that is capable of igniting some real excitement.

Available in Suzuki's familiar SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5 grades, equipment levels are high and prices low across the range - but it is the distinctive styling which will be the big draw.

A raised ride height, bulging wheel arches, strong shoulder line and the de rigeur roof rails - on all but entry-level models - capture that all-action crossover feel, while the bold grille and headlights help to add presence.

And if its looks weren't head-turning enough already, an array of eye-popping colours with names like Fervent Red, Neon Blue, Flame Orange and Helios Gold make sure that the Ignis stands its ground in a class where individuality is key.

There's even a fashionable splash of retro - the rear pillar echoing that of the whimsically named 1970s Suzuki Whizzkid.

Engine choice is restricted to a 1.2-litre petrol unit - although this can be paired with a small electric motor on range-topping cars for what Suzuki calls a ‘mild hybrid' system.

Fortunately, mated to a snappy five-speed manual transmission, this power pack proves a perfect partner for the lightweight Ignis. It revs freely and offers plenty of mid-range zip for nipping in and out of the urban traffic in which it is designed to spend most of its time.

The tall body means there is some roll in bends and the engine volume rises at motorway speeds, but neither should be a deal breaker and overall the Ignis offers an enjoyable and entertaining drive, with agile and nimble handling.

Unlike some full-size crossovers, it can also be had with all-wheel drive, which allows some mildly challenging terrain to be tackled and will offer peace of mind in winter. Like the hybrid system though, this too is only available on SZ5 models.

In the cabin, two-tone trim and highlights picked out in the same colour as the exterior help to carry on the youthful, quirky theme - as well as distracting from some low-rent plastics, which are the biggest giveaway of the Ignis' cheap price.

All but entry-level SZ3 models offer just two back seats - but fitting three people in would be a bit of a tight squeeze anyway.

What you do get with the two-seat set-up is the ability to slide either one forwards and backwards independently to strike the right balance between boot space or legroom. The seat backs also recline so rear passengers can relax.

This gives the cabin a versatile and practical feel and there is certainly room for four adults to travel in comfort.

There's also plenty of kit for the money, with digital radio, Bluetooth, aircon and rear privacy glass standard on all cars.

This mid-range SZ-T model also boasted sat nav, rearview camera and alloy wheels, while SZ5 trim adds niceties such as keyless entry and ignition, LED headlights and cruise control.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SZ-T

Price: £11,999

Mechanical: 90ps, 1,242cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 106mph

0-62mph: 12.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 61.4

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 104g/km

Bik rating: 17%

Warranty: 3yrs/62,137 miles

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