Stylish new Suzuki Ig­nis is a per­fect fit for Ir­ish roads

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - NEW CARS - Shane O’ Donoghue

€12,995 on-the-road En­gine: 1.2-litre four-cylin­der tur­bocharged petrol (90hp, 120Nm) Emis­sions: from 97g/km (€180 per year)

Ri­vals: Fiat Panda, Hyundai i10, Skoda Cit­igo Ex­pec­ta­tions can be a ter­ri­ble thing in all walks of life, whether you’re ea­gerly an­tic­i­pat­ing watch­ing an overly hyped film or you’re dread­ing a much- needed trip to the den­tist.

In our job, that of ob­jec­tively re­view­ing new cars, it’s best avoided, yet al­most im­pos­si­ble to do so.

You see, peo­ple with any in­ter­est in cars au­to­mat­i­cally judge a new one when they see the very first pic­tures, even if they never go on to drive them and form a full opin­ion.

One new model that may well fall foul of this ap­proach is the new Suzuki Ig­nis. The first gen­er­a­tion of this rel­a­tively un­known model was quite bland look­ing for the most part, if use­ful in its own util­i­tar­ian way.

There was a quirky and fun Ig­nis Sport ver­sion that punched well above its weight in terms of per­for­mance and driv­ing en­joy­ment, but there can’t be more than a hand­ful of peo­ple in Ire­land that are aware of (or care about) its ex­is­tence.

But Suzuki could very well be onto some­thing with its sec­ond it­er­a­tion of the Ig­nis, tested here on Ir­ish roads for the first time.

The Ja­panese com­pany has rein­vented the model, giv­ing it much more de­sign per­son­al­ity and em­pha­sis­ing its SUV at­tributes.

To be clear: the Ig­nis is a tiny car. In­deed, when look­ing around for ri­vals to con­sider, there are pre­cisely no other SUVs or cross­over on the mar­ket around the same size and priced any­where near. So, at a start­ing price of € 12,995, the Ig­nis is, in re­al­ity, com­pet­ing against small city cars, in­stead.

And when you re­alise that, you be­gin to ap­pre­ci­ate the unique propo­si­tion it of­fers.

Up front is a cheer­ful ‘face’ with dis­tinc­tive LED day­time run­ning lights, giv­ing it a thor­oughly mod­ern feel, but in fact, the Ig­nis is a bit of a retro de­sign throw­back. It takes some of its cool de­tail­ing from the Suzuki Whiz­zkid SC100 coupe of the 1970s and brings it bang up to date.

The nice three strakes in the C-pil­lar, the slope of the rear win­dow and de­sign of the rear lights are all more than a lit­tle rem­i­nis­cent of that car and it’s all added to by con­tem­po­rary cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions such as bright paint colours and a con­trast­ing hue for the wheels and roof.

In short, it grabs at­ten­tion like few other tiny cars on the road.

The in­te­rior has a few flashes of colour too, and clever de­sign, but it’s a tad less im­pres­sive than the funky ex­te­rior, mostly be­cause it’s built to a low bud­get and the plas­tics can feel a lit­tle cheap in places.

None­the­less, the high roof al­lows up­right seat­ing, which means it feels more spa­cious than it ought to. And it’s quite well-equipped too, es­pe­cially when you con­sider the pric­ing.

The en­try- level SZ3 ver­sion comes with elec­tric front win­dows, air con­di­tion­ing, au­to­matic lights, a split-fold­ing rear seat, DAB ra­dio, Blue­tooth tele­phony, a USB port and plenty of safety equip­ment.

The mid- rank­ing SZ- T model makes the most sense, from €14,495, but the top- of- the range Ig­nis SZ5 opens up fur­ther pos­si­bil­i­ties for the buyer — and not just on the equip­ment front.

All ver­sions of the Ig­nis are pow­ered by a mod­estly will­ing 1.2-litre, four-cylin­der petrol en­gine mated with a five- speed man­ual

The stylish Suzuki Ig­nis has been tested on Ir­ish roads and rein­vented the model, giv­ing it much more de­sign per­son­al­ity and em­pha­sis­ing its SUV at­tributes.

Suzuki Ig­nis, whose stylish in­te­rior feels very spa­cious due to the well-de­signed up­right seat­ing.

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