New Suzuki Ignis 2WD 2017 review

The two-wheel drive Suzuki Ignis is a city car-sized crossover with all the quirky style of the hybrid 4x4 version

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Suzuki Ignis is a likeable and stylish little crossover no matter what spec, but we reckon removing four-wheel drive and hybrid assistance makes this 2WD 1.2-litre version the sweetest of the lot. Forget the on-paper performance and economy losses, and revel in the distinctive looks and the amount of space, equipment and fun you get for such a small outlay.

The Suzuki Ignis is a pint-sized crossover with funky ‘off-road’ styling and an upright stance that gives it much bigger road presence than a regular city car, although it’s barely any bigger.

Suzuki offers the boxy Ignis for sale with four-wheel drive, so it’s not all style with no substance. However, 4x4 is only available in the SHVS (which stands for ‘Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki’) version, which adds a lithium ion battery and an upgraded starter motor to assists progress when full power is called for. You can read about the 4x4 hybrid here, as this Ignis review is focused on the two-wheel drive version – predictably the biggest seller in the range.

Although crossovers are one of the most happening sectors at the moment, the Suzuki Ignis has little competition if you’re looking for a truly compact contender. Most of its crossover rivals are a size up and several thousand pounds more expensive – think of the Ford EcoSport, the Renault Captur and the Peugeot 2008. The Fiat Panda is available as a 4x4 though, while the Renault Twingo and Smart ForFour are quirky-looking alternatives too.

New Suzuki Ignis 4x4 hybrid 2017 review

The rear-wheel drive Ignis saves an impressive 65kg when compared to the 4x4, meaning it tips the scales at 855kg. Although it matches the SHVS 4x4 for power, the lighter weight doesn’t translate to a faster 0-62mph time. In fact, at 13.5 seconds the rear-driver is a couple of seconds slower on the benchmark sprint, although it’s a little faster flat-out.

What’s missing is a little bit of the hybrid’s low-down punch, but once you’ve got the engine revving the performance feels just as perky. You need to keep things on the boil when tackling hills and motorways, but for a small city car that’s par for the course.

We do still think it’s a shame that Suzuki couldn’t squeeze the excellent 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol under the bonnet to give it the legs on the new VW up! TSI. Fuel economy isn’t as good on paper as the hybrid, but we still managed over 50mpg in mixed driving.

Elsewhere, the Ignis is better in a couple of crucial ways in a more basic spec. Firstly, the handling and ride are a touch sweeter – the little Suzuki feels like it’s been set-up to be as light as possible, and the ride is a bit less busy as a result. It’s still quite crashy over the giant potholes found around rural Italy, but remind yourself how small and cheap the Ignis is and it’s acceptable enough. It also feels a fraction keener to turn in to a bend, adding to the nimble and agile feel. It doesn’t have better steering, however – the helm is still remote and has absolutely no feel. 

Best city cars on sale right now

Inside, there’s a major boon as the boot space improves from 204-litres to 260-litres with two less driven wheels. It’s a decent size, especially when you consider how much space the sliding and reclining rear seats can free-up. Suzuki has been really clever with the packaging of the Ignis, so it offers a Tardis-like interior.

The materials are hard and scratchy, and you can spot some weight and cost-saving but the design is attractive and quality is okay. The European model we drove also featured Suzuki’s own sat-nav system rather than the fiddly Pioneer unit we tried on the 4X4 model, and the brand’s spokespeople told us models would come fitted with that when it hits showrooms in the UK. 

The SZ5 model should be at least £1,000 cheaper with two-wheel drive and no hybrid system, yet it still comes with tonnes of kit including sat-nav, LED headlights, cruise and climate control and autonomous emergency braking. If you want to save even more money, the cheaper SZ-T model still comes very well-equipped.

Most Popular

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland

Nissan will offer every school child in the North East of England a place on the Nissan Skills Foundation course to mark 35 years of manufacturing in …
14 Jun 2021
New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development

The Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype will be assessed for off-road and long-range zero-emission motoring
14 Jun 2021
New SsangYong Korando e-Motion breaks cover with electric power
SsangYong Korando EV
Electric cars

New SsangYong Korando e-Motion breaks cover with electric power

The new SsangYong Korando compact electric SUV will be on sale later in 2021, says the financially stricken South Korean manufacturer
15 Jun 2021
SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector
SsangYong J100 electric SUV
SsangYong

SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector

The tough looking electric mid-size SUV is slated for production next year and will be joined by a pick-up model
15 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New Renault Arkana 2021 review
Renault Arkana - front
Renault Arkana

New Renault Arkana 2021 review

Does an eye-catching coupe-SUV body give the new Renault Arkana the edge over other mid-size SUVs? We find out...
16 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021