Suzuki Ignis First Drive 2021 Review : Pretty Fly for a Wide Boy
Singapore - If you have S$120k for a compact car burning a hole in your pocket, the last thing you want to do is to spend it on the equivalent of 'automotive beige'.
Instead, you're better-off buying something with pop that has a perky and punchy personality.
Even though there's a lot of history behind these models, Suzuki isn't the sort of brand to rest on past glories by launching bland successors to popular nameplates.
Instead, it has re-invented the Jimny and now, the wide-eyed Ignis, to create decidedly colourful personalities that perfectly appeal to the modern buying palate.
In fact, the Ignis is a bold character that is bursting with so much colour it isn't afraid to wear 'beige', a colour not many brands use on cars with lesser personalities than the Ignis'.
In case you're wondering, the Ignis is available in a mind-blowing 18 colours for Singapore, including several two-toned options.
In contrast to the mini-brutalist Jimny, the Ignis' retro-esque chunky-chic aesthetics – inspired by the first generation Cervo and Vitara, as well as the previous Swift – endow the cheeky cherub with a quirky whimsy, while to our minds, the outrageously flared fenders even recall the feisty Toyota GR Yaris!
Of course, the Ignis may be hot stuff, but it is no hot-hatch. Instead, the compact crossover's 1.2-litre mild-hybrid Dualjet engine is better suited for languid, leisurely drives so you can really slow things down and smell the flowers.
Despite its compact (3700x1460x1605mm) proportions and 'fly' sub-900kg kerbweight, the Ignis packs a wallop in terms of space and specs to serve starter drivers and young couples, as well as function as a spare, get-in-and-drive runabout in multi-car households.
The light steering, diminutive size and minimal overhangs make the Ignis a doddle to manoeuvre in tight confines, while its rough use nature means you can park it in the closest lot to your tarpow stall.
It'll fit into the average parking lot with ample space to spare so you don't have to worry about door-dings or the increasingly frequent instances where the other car is badly parked.
There's a rugged and ready feel to the cabin with ample storage bins, because the Ignis is a companion you'll hurtle headlong into (urban) adventures alongside.
It'll gladly carry your two-legged pals, four-legged fur-ends and foldable companions, although not necessarily all at the same time!
It never feels so precious that you need to baby it and protect its thin-skin as you load it up with gear and equipment – you know it'll get the job done when you need it to.
Roof-rails, a boot-capacity that can be expanded from 260- to 500-litres (with the rear seats folded down) and accommodation for four adults (with the rear seats up of course!) give it a larger-than-life utility, albeit without the staid, fuddy-duddy styling of the other hatchbacks in its class.
Tech-wise, it gets wired Android Auto/Apple CarPlay support and Bluetooth connectivity through the touchscreen centrepiece, as well as trick active/passive safety systems that include six airbags, DCBS (for Dual Camera Brake Support), Lane Departure warning and a Weaving alert.
At anything above walking pace, the DCBS is engaged and uses stereo cameras (mounted beside the rear-view mirror) to scan for vehicles/pedestrians meandering into its path to avoid collisions, or lessen collision impact through sound alerts and automatic braking.
There's a lot more to building a small car than just making it, erm, small.
Packaging a compact car with the functional utility of a larger car is an art that is gradually being forgotten as modern cars get bigger and bigger.
The Japanese perfected compact-car cabin packaging with their iconic kei-cars, which are quirky, zippy and easily manoeuvrable in tight city confines, yet feature intelligent utility and load-lugging ability to rival their European peers.
Of course, the easy way is to turn a small car into a boring beast of burden to maximise interior space, which is why it's so refreshing Suzuki went off the reservation with the Ignis by creating something that is anything but boring!
The Ignis may not share the dimensions as the kei-cars, but the super-mini channels the spirit of the kei-cars' packaging prowess in a funky bundle of fun that makes everybody look when it's out and about... all because it is pretty fly for a wide boy.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
SUZUKI IGNIS HYBRID 1.2 DUALJET SHVS
Engine 1197cc, inline4, MHEV
Top Speed n/a
Fuel Consumption 5.4l/100km