Our little 4x4 impresses despite its rustic on-road manners
Our 4x4 evokes memories of the 1980s
In common with most of my colleagues, I like our Ignis. However, having spent quite a long time in it, I’m not exactly sure why that is.
It looks great, of course, with its optional Fervent Red paintwork and those stylish black wheels. Its interior is funky too. I particularly like the clear, simple instruments, the black and cream trim and the chrome door pulls. Its perky exterior design was inspired by one of Suzuki’s own taxbusting Japanese ‘kei’ cars, the SC100 – a rear-engined 2+2 more popularly known as the Whizzkid, which in the 1980s was for a time officially imported into the UK.
I loved the Whizzkid; in fact, I owned three of them. It was a 10ft 6in bundle of fun, and it was no taller than a bag of fish and chips. Maybe that’s why I initially found the height of the Ignis a little hard to accept: it’s a giddy 1595cm in height, which is taller than a Qashqai, although at 3700mm it’s nearly 700mm shorter. What worried me before I drove the Ignis for the first time was that the Whizzkid wasn’t exactly a paragon of road behaviour – in fact, it was quite dreadful – so just how well behaved could this short and immensely tall, jacked-up SUV be?
In my time with the Ignis, I packed it with shopping (the boot is a good size), with passengers young and old (there’s plenty of room inside for four), crawled through commuting traffic, kept up with everyone on the A3 and even managed to get 47mpg from it. I learned that one soon shrugs off any doubts over its height, and instead learns to praise it for its good visibility, aided in our handsomely equipped SZ5 version by a rather useful reversing camera. After all, for road use you’re (hopefully) unlikely to encounter a situation where that height might affect your general swervability, and you’re very unlikely to take an Ignis round Silverstone…
So it began to impress me, which is odd because on the road it doesn’t really do anything especially well. You’ll need to push it hard to make decent progress, and you’ll only notice the mild hybrid drive system at all when the car grinds to an immediate halt as soon as you lift off the throttle, when it starts to divert surplus energy into its battery.
In fact, from the driving seat, I wasn’t aware of much else at all, other than I thought the steering could do with slightly higher gearing to make it more truly fun. The only thing that is a matter of major concern is the ride, which is passably firm most of the time, but can be caught out badly by large ridges taken at speed, shaking both the car and its occupants to their very core.
Despite this, my passengers all liked the car. I’m also told it’s quite good off road, but the only circumstance in which I think I would take the Ignis off road is if I happened to lose control of it halfway round a bend, something I reckon you’d have to try quite hard to do.
Current Ignis evoked happy memories of the 1980s Suzuki ‘Whizzkid’ for Mark Harsh ride can leave occupants shaken, as this picture attests