ANYONE looking for a small car with bags of personality would do well to consider the Suzuki Ignis.

This characterful little gem has a unique appearance, a pleasing engine note and handling capabilities that make it great fun to drive on tight, twisty roads.

The distinctive all-new Ignis, which is classed as a compact crossover vehicle, has been gaining admirers at a steady rate since it hit UK showrooms a couple of months ago.

The car is powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder Dualjet engine which, as well as offering 90hp, lets out a throaty growl whenever you push the accelerator with purpose. The noise is really rather endearing.

Even when the Ignis is driven with urgency, it seems reluctant to drink too much fuel.

While the official combined MPG figure of 65.7 may, as usual, be somewhat ambitious, there’s no doubt that Suzuki’s decision to use twin fuel injectors has the effect of greatly boosting fuel economy.

In terms of handling, you can throw the Ignis into the sharpest of bends at a brisk pace and trust it to deal with the situation smoothly.

The SZ5 model grade, tested here, has even greater stability through the corners than other versions of the car, thanks to its impressive ALLGRIP four-wheel-drive system which provides extra torque to the rear wheels when needed.

And the car’s agility is further helped by the new platform on which it sits, which has reduced the vehicle’s weight by around 15 per cent while boosting body rigidity by 10 per cent through use of high tensile steel. With soft-feeling suspension and 180mm of minimum ground clearance, the IGNIS seemed capable of dealing with some of the rougher and pothole-riddled roads that West Yorkshire has to offer. Indeed, the Ignis would suit anyone who needs to navigate country lanes rather well.

With regard to how the Ignis looks, there’s no prospect of mistaking it for anything else in the car park.

The car’s quirky-looking face integrates the LED headlights with the strong lines of the front grille while, just below, the stylish bumper detail completes the front-end look.

A strong shoulder line is suggestive of strength, while the rear end is typified by diagonal lines, with the backward-sloping angle of the side rear window contrasting with the forward-slanting upper section of the back end.

Some of my teammates at football said they thought the kicked-up line of the rear windows and the three deep grooves on the upper back wings made the vehicle look a bit odd.

And they may be right, but it all adds to the characterful feel of this car.

Inside the Ignis, the cabin feels as roomy and comfortable as reasonably possible within the confines of a compact body size. Indeed, the driver has a high seating position that commands an excellent view of the road ahead, with no shortage of headroom and legroom. The cabin has plenty of convenient cubbyholes for storing bits and pieces, while there’s a respectably-sized boot, offering 267 litres of space in the SZ3 model and a reduced 204 litres in this ALLGRIP model due to the extra space taken up by the rear differential.

The interior’s design is well laid-out and beautiful in its simplicity, with all the main controls in easy reach of the driver. Standard equipment levels for all IGNIS models are pretty impressive, with the SZ3 models including six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth, 15-inch wheels, body-coloured door mirrors and front electric windows. Step up the SZ-T version and you get satnav, rear view camera, 16-inch alloys, roof rails and wheel arch extensions.

Meanwhile, the SZ5 trim level adds auto air conditioning, dual camera brake support, keyless entry and start and rear electric windows.

In conclusion, the Ignis is a cool and quirky little car that’s lively to drive and looks distinctive.


Suzuki Ignis

ENGINE: 1.2-litre Dualjet, four-cylinder 16-valve

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual 4x4

MAX SPEED: 103mph

ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds

FUEL ECEONOMY: 60.1 combined

TORQUE: 120Nm at 4,400rpm