SUZUKI is back with their popular ‘not quite an SUV, but not quite a compact’ compact SUV; with the 2020 edition of the Ignis having undergone an overhaul, and now bearing the II moniker.
The unconventional looking car has charming looks and features pretty up-to-date technology, in a package that might best be described as fun-sized motoring. Much like the original MINI and Volkswagen Beetle, it’s ambitious yet enjoyable.
Having grown up with the original Ignis as my mum’s runabout car, this author had high hopes for the new generation, and while it falls short in some categories, it rose above expectations in others.
The Ignis fills an odd spot in the Suzuki family, sitting between the Swift and the Jimny, both in price and functionality. We’ve contemplated who would buy one, and we’re guessing its folks who need more leg room than the Swift and more doors than the Jimny.
If that’s you, the quirky compact SUV could be perfect. In GLX spec, it comes with key-less entry and push button start, and an infotainment system with satellite navigation, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a reversing camera.
It’s got a bevvy of speakers and offers a decent sound when pumping the tunes, and while the glossy plastic dash might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly complements the car’s unique nature.
Given the Ignis’ low price tag, Suzuki have done well with making the interior a bit more exciting than hurling some grey plastic inside and calling it a day. The infotainment system has been integrated well, and the air-conditioning controls could be from an F-35.
Click the buttons down and you feel like you’re about to ignite the thrusters on a fighter jet and send it to Mach-1. The steering wheel has your usual cruise control, radio control and phone answering buttons too, meaning minimal distractions.
The storage inside of the car itself is quite good too. With the seats folded down there was an adequate amount of space in the back to tackle those big shopping trips to Ikea or maybe a few dozen toilet rolls for those panic shoppers.
Yet even with the seats up, the boot is deep enough for a trip to the grocery store with people in the back seats. Being 6-foot tall, this author isn’t sure how well he’d fair in the back there, but the front seats had more than enough space to be comfortable.
The automatic gearbox shifts nicely, and it has just enough steam to get away at the lights and up to speed with the rest of the traffic, especially considering it only has a little 1.2-litre engine putting out 66kW of power and 120Nm of torque.
The oddest part about the Ignis’ tiny power plant has to be how hard it revs in sport mode. Having bumped the sport mode button while just cruising a few times, it revved its way into oblivion. All that power didn’t do good for the car’s fuel economy either.
When driving carefully though, it could be as economical as 4.9-litres/100km. But that’s not where this car really shines. It’s in its capabilities that it stands out. For a small car it has a surprising amount of ground clearance.
It had no issue going on bumpy roads or up square gutters, and while it’s still a front-wheel drive, it handles loose gravel roads quite well. The 16-inch alloys on the GLX gives the Ignis a ground clearance of 180mm; more than enough to tackle rough country roads.
Although not recommended for any sort of 4×4 trail, we wouldn’t put it past the Ignis to be competent to tackle something like that as well.
The Ignis has not been ANCAP crash tested, but does feature six airbags. You will find traction control and ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, hill hold assist, vehicle stability control and brake assist.
The 2020 Suzuki Ignis GLX drives well; the suspension handled the bumps with ease and despite a few little hiccups, like some pieces of the interior feeling cheap, it’s a fun car to drive.
There are a few small SUVs on the market that feel like they’re going to tip over in a side wind, and despite the Ignis tipping the scales at only 865kg, it felt stable at 110km/h on the freeway. You can pick one up for $20,990 drive away too.
The 2020 Suzuki Ignis II GLX is a bit of a nomad. It doesn’t attach itself to any labels or categories. It just works. Its looks are an acquired taste, but we certainly don’t think it could be called ugly. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
It is a perfect first car too. It’s not so powerful that you’re going to be getting speeding fines while learning the rules of the road, and it’s not too pricey either. It’s available in Pure white, Fervent Red, Mineral Grey, Super Black, Ivory Pearl and Khaki Pearl.
Our test vehicle was provided by Suzuki Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Suzuki Ignis II GLX, contact your local Suzuki dealer.