SUZUKI is famous globally for producing robust well-designed small cars and one of them - the funky Ignis - has just undergone a major facelift and added an enhanced Hybrid powertrain.
The Ignis arrived back in early 2017 and its quirky looks never fail to make me smile.
The little car now looks more rugged than ever thanks to some striking styling upgrades.
Its ultra-compact SUV looks have been retained and boosted by fresh interior and exterior colours, a new larger front grille and new front and rear bumpers featuring trapezoid shape silver fittings.
The facelift model keeps all the other iconic styling features that have made the Ignis popular and if anything it looks even more fun.
Inside the surprisingly spacious cabin has been updated and the instrument panel features new dials while the dash is black with white flashes to give it a bold look.
Buyers can choose from 13 exterior colours and personalise their vehicles with a selection of interior trim colours.
Standard equipment for all Ignis models in the range is comprehensive and the SZ3 model includes six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth, 15-inch wheels, LED headlights, body coloured door mirrors, front electric windows, rear privacy glass and five seat capacity.
SZ-T adds a rear-view camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, wheel arch extensions and four seat capacity with individually sliding rear seats and Smartphone Link Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The top SZ5 model I sampled gained auto air conditioning, satellite navigation, Dual Camera Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, Weaving Alert, keyless entry and start, rear electric windows and front foglamps.
Under the bonnet the updated 1.2-litre engine powering the new Ignis features a new dual injection system as well as other improvements to make it more efficient. Fuel efficiency is further enhanced when paired with the self-charging hybrid system powered by a new lithium-ion battery with capacity upgraded from 3Ah to 10Ah to improve energy recovery.
Available as standard equipment for all Ignis models, the upgraded 12V Hybrid system is a compact and lightweight unit that incorporates an Integrated Starter Generator (known as ISG) which acts as both a generator and starter motor, the ISG is belt driven and assists the engine during vehicle take off and acceleration and also generates electricity through regenerative braking.
Thr car came with Suzuki's ALLGRIP ‘AUTO' four-wheel drive system which is available optionally on the SZ5 model with manual transmission. First introduced in the popular Swift, this is a well proven and simple fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling.
It is ideal for drivers who sometimes have to deal with rough terrain or slippery surfaces and for dealing with winter without having to buy a much larger SUV.
I found the new Ignis was fun to drive and an ideal companion around town where it was very easy to park. It also cruised comfortably at motorway speeds and always felt lively and willing.