From my earlier review some of you will know that I drive a lumbering 4x4. Whilst exceptionally comfortable and pleasurable to drive long distance, it is neither really practical nor economic for around the town. Enter the Suzuki Ignis 1.3 GL which fits this bill almost perfectly. The model I am reviewing was purchased new (heavily discounted) in October 2007 for the sum of £6500, on the road, with 3 years free service and warranty. Happily we did not have to trade a vehicle in so at least one side of the haggling palaver was avoidable.
"Ignis"..that's Latin for 'fire'
Please don't expect too much from under the bonnet. After all this is only a front wheel drive 1.3 litre 16 valved four cylinder petrol driven engine made from aluminum, which develops some 83 brake horsepower. More than adequate for around the town , but busy and a bit intrusive at motorway speeds. A top speed of 99 mph is claimed but my guess is that you would feel like you were taking off if you ever reached this speed. Nought to sixty is declared to be 10.7 seconds so you can expect it to be reasonably nippy around town. A five speed gearbox is standard, so although the engine revs can be cut down at motorway speeds, the boxy shape is clearly not aerodynamic making wind and road noise the biggest factors. But it's the boxy shape that's the biggest bonus for me.
Whilst it may not be to everyone's taste, this small car is huge on space for its size. The rear seat is raised giving your back passengers a better view and access but more importantly giving a really decent boot space. It swallows the weekly shop with ease, has consumed a rolled up rubber dinghy and happily transported various building materials without indigestion. Yes, the rear sit is split in the usual 50:50 ratio, but there is already sufficient height under the parcel shelf to accommodate many bulky objects. Unlike a proper 4x4 I don't think you would be able to fit a canoe inside; its not quite that big, but therein is the advantage around town.
The car has a relatively high ground clearance of 6.5 inches which means that the speed bumps and potholes around the town are easily negotiated. We get around 40mpg around the town quite regularly and have recorded nearly 54mpg on a longer run , which is pretty amazing for a petrol engine. Parking is a dream, with a small turning circle and wheels near the corners, urban car parks and marked bays are no threat with this beauty............unlike my ponderous 4x4.
Looks and Equipment
This looks like a mini SUV, it's chunky and square with business like roof rails, and a large opening tailgate. Access for a driver and upto 4 passengers is easy and unrestricted. We have added some bump strips along the sides of the car, these not only serve to protect it in supermarket car parks, but also break up the bodyline making it appear more classically attractive.
The seats are cloth covered, adjustable and comfy, gently supporting you without being too hard. The car is fully carpeted except for the boot, but that was easily remedied with some old off-cuts. All the basic goodies are included in this model, CD radio, variable speed wipers, 12volt socket, heater but no air conditioning, airbags, anti-lock brakes. full sized spare wheel, powered steering and lots of stowage spaces and cubby holes. Irritatingly, the horn buttons are just inside the rim of the steering wheel, making it incredibly easy to inadvertently sound the horn when you don't mean to. Although you slowly learn to keep your fingers clear, this still catches us out all too frequently with the resultant red faces. Suzuki did not design this bit too thoughtfully or ergonomically.
Whole Life Costs
Unfortunately this is where these cars may fall down for some. Like many Japanese vehicles the cost of spares can be awesome and prohibitive should you need the services of the main dealer. However in my experience Suzuki has always been very reliable, the previous 'Swift' model lasting over 5 years without any mechanical breakdowns, and only requiring minimal annual servicing. I have no reason to doubt why this one should not be the same. Insurance is very reasonable too, in group 5, with road fund tax band D currently £145 at the last count. Hopefully with the current credit crunch plans to revise tax bands upwards again may yet be scrapped, which will benefit small cars like these.
I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending this car as a town runabout.
Thanks for reading.
Posted on Dooyoo and Ciao under the same author