In-depth reviews

Suzuki Ignis review - Engines, performance and drive

Keep the Ignis in town and it’s nippy and agile, but it starts to struggle on the open road

The Suzuki Ignis pretends to be a shrunken SUV, but it’s actually one of the lightest cars you can buy in Britain. The platform underneath is shared with the larger Baleno, which is hardly portly as it is, yet the smaller size means the Ignis has a tiny kerbweight. Base models weigh in at just 810kg, which is lighter than a two-seat Smart ForTwo.

The Ignis feels agile and nimble as a result of that low weight and short wheelbase, meaning it's certainly a world away from most heavy crossovers. It’s a delight to drive around town, with the small size, upright driving position and excellent visibility making it perfect for threading through tight gaps.

However, it lacks the sophistication of rivals once you head out onto the open road, with slow and vague steering reducing the fun factor when speeds increase. Body roll is noticeable despite an initially keen feel, while a number of conventional city cars tackle bends with more composure.

Suzuki Ignis 2WD 2017 review

The ride is also a bugbear. The Ignis is softly sprung, taking the edge off speed humps, but it gets caught out easily by sharp bumps, which thud and crash through the cabin. Road noise is quite pronounced, too, while noticeable wind and engine noise mean it isn’t the best city car for long journeys. Interestingly, the lighter non-hybrid models are a touch smoother in terms of ride quality. 

Engines

Your engine choice is limited if you want an Ignis. To keep costs down, Suzuki offers just an 89bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder ‘Dualjet’ petrol engine, with the option of an innovative 48v mild hybrid system for economy-minded buyers. 

The standard 1.2 is hardly inefficient, thanks to the low weight it has to pull along. Around town there’s plenty of poke to get you about, with a slick gearshift letting you keep it on the boil. 120Nm of torque isn’t an awful lot, however, so on motorways and up hills you’ll need to rev it hard just to keep up with traffic. It’s noisy when you do so, too.

Suzuki claims a 0-62mph time that’s around two seconds faster for the SHVS hybrid model. The Ignis’s 48-volt system uses a simple belt-driven ‘Integrated Starter Generator’ (which also acts as a starter motor) providing electrical assistance during acceleration. A small battery pack stores the energy from the regenerative brakes. It’s a set-up that’s cheaper, lighter and simpler than a full hybrid, doing without the heavy batteries and electric motor.

The Ignis SHVS is a bit punchier from the get-go, but when the assistance tails off you’re left with the same need for revs. It’s not enough of a boost for us to recommend it over the standard car, particularly as you have to opt for the top-spec SZ5 trim to have it.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 Dualjet 12V Hybrid SZ3 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £14,091

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 Dualjet 12V Hybrid SZ3 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £14,091

Fastest

  • Name
    1.2 Dualjet 12V Hybrid SZ-T 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £16,571

Most Popular

Tipo 184: on the road in the Mazda MX-5 based kit car
Tipo 184 kit car front
Features

Tipo 184: on the road in the Mazda MX-5 based kit car

Inspired by classic Grand Prix racing cars, Darren Collins has created a model that faithfully recreates the originals, but with a twist - it’s actual…
11 May 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
28 Apr 2022
New Lucid Air 2022 review
Lucid Air - front tracking
Lucid Air

New Lucid Air 2022 review

Lucid's first model intends to make a lasting mark on the luxury EV market
13 May 2022