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Suzuki's successful Swift model has now been superseded by an all-new series of three and five door hatchbacks named 'Ignis', a name that comes from the Latin, meaning 'fire' and 'light'.
The Ignis enters a thriving light vehicle market and is targeted to appeal to the younger professional sector. Established competition already exists from makes such as Daewoo, Daihatsu, Ford, Holden, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Proton and Toyota.
The Ignis follows the styling of many modern hatches with a small wagon type body that, although quite practical, may not be everyone's idea of a sporty looking hatch. Up front, the Ignis has a contemporary solid European appearance, while the rear features high lamp assemblies and bumper with a wagon type rear hatch. The five-door model also has roof rails and a small rear side window.
The Ignis comes only in hatchback form in either a three-door 'GA' or a five-door 'GL', both of which are available in automatic or manual transmission. Purchase price for the manual three-door version is $13,490 and the five-door is $16,490. The only options are automatic transmission at $1500 and airconditioning for the three-door at $1000. The five-door GL as tested is priced at $17,990.
The standard equipment list for both GA and GL models includes power steering, CD player, tachometer, split/reclining rear seats, rear window washer and wiper, luggage cover, intermittent wipers, tinted glass, dual airbags, engine immobiliser and height adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners. The GL adds electric front windows and mirrors, central locking, airconditioning, height and lumbar adjustable driver's seat, rear seat head restraints (outer positions), childproof rear door locks and roof rails.
An all-alloy 1.3 litre, DOHC, 16 valve engine powers the Ignis and its claimed design features include very low noise, exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. Drive to the front wheels is transferred via a five-speed manual, or in the case of our test vehicle, a four speed automatic transaxle.
McPherson struts are utilised in the front suspension and a three-link trailing arm system with coil springs is used at the rear. The brake system consists of power assisted ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear.
Although only tiny in overall size, there are numerous storage nooks including an under dash tray on both sides, a tray under the passenger's seat and a compartment under the rear luggage area floor, all in addition to the normal glovebox, door and seat pockets and console compartments. The luggage space is quite small but can be extended by folding part or the entire split rear seat to form an additional flat storage area.
Seating for the front passenger and driver is fairly basic with side support somewhat lacking, and although there is sufficient space for the average person, taller drivers will probably feel a little cramped. Rear seat space is quite tight with limited leg and shoulder room and the lack of a centre head restraint emphasises the limited practical use of the centre position.
The instrument and control layout is conventional by Australian standards, with all controls within easy reach, light to operate, and with clear labelling. The engine immobiliser passively arms itself 30 seconds after the engine is switched off, and even if the vehicle is left open the doors have to be locked and unlocked with the remote before the engine can be started. Although this could be considered a good security feature, it can be most annoying at times.
The 1.3 litre engine and automatic transmission works well around the city and suburbs with good response and nippy performance. However, the open road reveals the combination's weakness, where it is quite an effort to maintain highway speeds amidst constant gear shifting and operational noise in an attempt to keep up with the traffic.
The Ignis stands tall on the road and on parts of our more open freeways it makes a fair target for side winds, with some instability. Around town however, its general handling characteristics are quite sure and predictable. The brake system is basic in design and specification but produces sound and consistent results.
The concept of the Ignis is quite attractive as a second vehicle for urban commuting. However, apart from standard dual airbags and CD player in the base model, it is no better equipped than most of the comparative makes, and in the format tested, the purchase price brings it in line with some fairly stiff competition. Prospective purchasers would be well advised to give consideration to manual transmission in a vehicle of this size and engine power.
Test vehicle supplied by Suzuki Australia Pty. Limited.
|Price of vehicle tested||$16,490|
Safety and comfort equipment (GL)
Open road performance-with auto
|Country of manufacture||Japan|
|Warranty||3 years, 100,000km|
3 door GA
$13,490 - 3 door GA manual
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Engine size||1.3 L|
|Induction||Multipoint fuel injection|
|Claimed max power (kW)||60 kW @ 6000 rpm|
|Claimed max torque (Nm)||106 Nm @ 4500 rpm|
|Wheel size||14 "|
|Type||Power assisted rack and pinion|
|Turns to lock||3.4 m|
|Turning circle (measured)||10.6 m|
|Width (including mirrors)||1595 mm|
|Fuel capacity||41 litres|
|Max towed mass (trailer plus load)||500 kg|
NRMA Theft Rating
|Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best)||14|
Acceleration - Test results
|50 - 80km/h||5.9 secs|
|60 - 100km/h||8.6 secs|
|0 - 80km/h||9.8 secs|
|0 - 100km/h||14.8 secs|
|Best recorded during testing||5.5 L/100km|
|Worst recorded during testing||8.9 L/100km|
|Average on test||6.6 L/100km|
|Distance to stop (from 80km/h)||31.9 metres|
|Interior noise at constant 80km/h||67 dB(A)|