Funky Ig­nis is well priced too

The Star Early Edition - - NEW MODELS -

From Page 1

The more com­pre­hen­sively equipped Suzuki Ig­nis 1.2 GLX - avail­able in five-speed man­ual and five-speed au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion (AMT) - is styled up with 15” pi­ano-black al­loy wheels, wheel arch ex­ten­sions, roof rails, and a black grille with chrome ac­cents. The GL’s halo­gen head­lights make way for pro­jec­tor-type LED de­signs with day­time run­ning lights, and the car gets front fog lamps along with ex­te­rior mir­rors with turn sig­nal re­peaters.

The GLX also of­fers key­less start­ing and fully au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol, rear park dis­tance con­trol, and a height-ad­justable driver’s seat, while the ra­dio/CD sys­tem is boosted to six speak­ers and gains Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity with mul­ti­func­tion but­tons on the steer­ing wheel.

The black-and-white dash­board and colour ac­cents re­main the same, but the GLX’s air vent lou­vres, gear shift knob and in­te­rior door han­dles fea­ture sil­ver and chrome fin­ishes.

Dig­ging into the Ig­nis op­tions list gets you a cen­trally mounted colour touch-screen dis­play which can be linked to iOS and An­droid smart­phones, and then al­lows in­tu­itive ac­cess to com­pat­i­ble apps such as Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto. An SD card slot can be used to de­liver map data, which en­ables on-board, real-time nav­i­ga­tion.

The en­gine un­der the cute nose is a mod­est nor­mally-as­pi­rated 1.2-litre petrol but the Ig­nis sub­scribes to the Lo­tus school of ex­tract­ing per­for­mance through light­weight de­sign in­stead of mega-mus­cle.

With the car’s kerb mass of just 850kg (10kg more for the auto ver­sion) the 61kW/113Nm en­gine doesn’t have a lot of bulk to lug around and this trans­lates to a gen­er­ous power-to-weight ra­tio, with a sealevel ac­cel­er­a­tion fig­ure quoted at 0-100km/h in 11.6 sec­onds (13 secs for the AMT).

The lit­tle car felt sur­pris­ingly ea­ger when I drove it at the me­dia launch in Cape Town, and if it feels even half as perky at power-drain­ing high al­ti­tudes it’ll make for an ap­peal­ing com­muter in Gaut­eng too.

The Ig­nis isn’t con­fined to the ur­ban streets and made an easy­go­ing open-road cruiser at sea level, with a rated top speed of 165km/h and a slick five-speed man­ual that makes hus­tling through the gears an easy task. I didn’t get to drive the AMT auto, which has a 155km/h top speed.

It’s a fairly re­fined car, with lit­tle wind noise and no an­noy­ing buzzi­ness to re­veal the pres­ence of a small en­gine. The lit­tle four-cylin­der never sounds strained.

Fuel econ­omy’s quoted at 5.1 litres per 100km/h for the man­ual and 4.9 litres for the AMT. The man­ual test-car I drove was av­er­ag­ing in the mid-sixes.

A cruise through the Western Cape’s ur­ban streets, free­ways and a short dirt sec­tion re­vealed this lit­tle Suzuki to be a com­pe­tent all-rounder com­bin­ing a com­fort­able ride with neat han­dling. De­spite its short wheel­base the Ig­nis doesn’t have a too-choppy ride and it also felt self as­sured on dirt, with good bump-soak­ing abil­ity from those high-pro­file tyres. The light­weight car didn’t feel tinny and cruised over bumps with a solid, rat­tle-free de­meanour.

With its funky styling, sur­pris­ing spa­cious­ness and ea­ger per­for­mance, the well­priced Ig­nis is an en­dear­ing lit­tle cross­over and Suzuki South Africa have them­selves a def­i­nite Car of the Year con­tender.

PRICES: Ig­nis 1.2 GX - R169 900 Ig­nis 1.2 GLX - R189 900 Ig­nis 1.2 GLX AMT - R204 900

Prices in­clude a three-year/100 000km war­ranty and two-year/30 000km ser­vice plan.

RI­VALS: VW Cross Up - 55kW - R196 800 Re­nault San­dero Step­way Ex­pres­sion - 66kW - R174 900 Re­nault San­dero Step­way Dy­namique - 66kW - R189 900 Toy­ota Etios Cross Xs - 66kW - R194 300

In­te­rior styling is re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent, and it’s sur­pris­ingly roomy in­side.

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