Ignis helping out during Suzuki’s happy times
Things are going really well for Suzuki in New Zealand – not only are vehicle sales soaring at more than three times the average for the total new vehicle market, but the brand has just topped a nationwide customer satisfaction survey.
Suzuki was the clear winner in the 2017 Canstar Blue awards that rate vehicle reliability, driving experience, value for money, and point of sale and after-sales service. It was awarded a maximum five stars in all categories – the only brand surveyed to achieve such a result.
Canstar Blue is a customer satisfaction research and ratings business with a core purpose of helping consumers make better purchasing decisions.
Naturally Suzuki New Zealand is feeling very bullish about this result, claiming the high level of customer satisfaction explains why the Japanese brand commands a better than 30 per cent share of both the under $25,000 light car and under $40,000 small SUV classes – which in both cases is more than double the penetration of the next-best brand in sales year-to-date.
In the small SUV class, Suzuki’s performance is aided by the fact it has more different models on sale than any other brand.
The biggest seller is actually the Mitsubishi ASX, and other solid performers are the Honda HRV and the Mazda CX3. But Suzuki has four models in there – Vitara, S-Cross, Ignis and Jimny – and it is that sheer weight of product that is giving the brand the total sales edge.
Vitara is the most popular small Suzuki SUV, which makes sense considering it is available with the most variants – frontwheel drive and all-wheel drive, manual and auto transmissions, and with 1.6-litre and turbocharged 1.4-litre powertrains.
But another model that has been going very well since its launch earlier in 2017 is the little Ignis, which has been selling at a rate of better than 100 a month.
This pint-sized Suzuki is a real cutie. The smallest SUV on the New Zealand market, it is available with entry GLX and more luxurious Limited levels of specification, and it is powered by a 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol engine that offers 66 kilowatts of power and 120 newton metres of torque.
While that doesn’t sound like much, the Ignis actually has a rather good power-to-weight ratio thanks to its kerb weight of between 820kg and 895kg, and that helps make it a snappy performer.
It also boasts excellent fuel economy – the official figures tell us the GLX version with manual transmissions averages just 4.7 L/100km, while all the others with their CVT auto average 4.9 L/100km. Little wonder then that the Ignis is popular with female motorists – something which underlines the results of another research project undertaken by Canstar Blue, which asked 2500 New Zealanders about their decision-making processes when buying a new car.
This research showed that a high 62 per cent of women hesitate to buy a vehicle that is not fuel-efficient, compared to 54 per cent of men.
Is this because women don’t feel at all restricted when it comes to buying small, economical and cheerful cars, while men aren’t necessarily comfortable doing the same? Probably. But whatever the reasons, it is a fact that it is women who are the main purchasers of the Ignis.
Suzuki might claim the Ignis is an SUV (it describes it as a super compact SUV), but it isn’t really. It’s more of a cheerful little hatchback just like something such as the Suzuki Swift – it’s just that its bodyshell design is taller and its ground clearance is a slightly higher 180mm.
This slightly taller design does translate into improved access and higher seating hip points, which does make life easier for its target market of women and retired couples. The slightly higher ride height also means visibility is good, and the very fact it is a small vehicle makes it a breeze to drive and park.
Overall the Ignis feels very well put together, with the Limited featuring six-speaker audio, a touch screen with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a reversing camera.
At the Limited level the Ignis also has climate control air conditioning, automatic dusksensing headlights, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry with push-button start, and privacy glass. And from the safety perspective the little Suzuki also has electronic stability programme, ABS brakes with brake assist, six airbags, and hillhold assist.
This is an impressively high level of specification for a vehicle that retails for $22,500. Little wonder then that this cheerful Ignis is so popular.
The Suzuki Ignis is described by its maker as a ‘‘super compact’’ SUV. In other words, it is a little car.