Suzuki Ignis, it’s Latin for ‘fire’, has had two lives on the Australian market. From 2000 to 2005 it was a small three- or five-door hatchback before disappearing for just over a decade and returning, in 2016, as a compact SUV.

The current, Series II, version was launched in mid-2020 although it is effectively just a minor facelift rather than having any substantial changes.

Suzuki is arguably the world leader in the design and construction of small vehicles and the little Suzuki Ignis is a classic example of the Japanese giant’s engineering ability.

Two Ignis variants are offered. The entry level GL comes to market at $17,990 with manual gearbox and $18,990 as a CVT automatic while the higher-spec auto-only GLX sells for the CVT $19,990. On-road costs need to be added to these

Ignis GL has 15-inch steel wheels while GLX gets 16-inch alloys.

GLX also has automatic levelling LED projector headlights, daytime running lights and a Guide Me light function. GL only has halogen headlights. Both models get front foglights.

Ignis is both fashionable and functional with its snub nose, fascinating tail with the stylised Suzuki badge in the C-pillars and interesting interior. Its tall but narrow body does give it a bit of a gawky look that detracts from its more attractive features.

With a young target audience clearly in its sights there is a range of customisation options including two-tone body colour combinations, grille trims and centre garnish, wheel decals, side stripes and C-pillar gill slits. Even the door mirrors and foglights can get their own personality.

The Ignis’ cabin can also be personalised with the colour choices on the seat trim, centre console, transmission surrounds, grab handles on the doors, air vents.

Power for the Ignis comes from a four-cylinder 1.2-litre Dualjet (two injectors per cylinder) engine. It puts out 66 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 4400 revs. The entry-level GL comes with the choice of five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. GLX is CVT only.

Safety levels are reasonable for such a small and budget-priced car with none of the latest features that are rapidly becoming standard even its market-segment competitors such as parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking.

It doesn’t as yet have an ANCAP safety rating.

What it does have in both models are enhanced ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.; dual front, side and curtain airbags; electronic stability program; brake and clutch pedal release system; IsoFix child seat anchorages in the two outboard rear seats; and reversing camera.

Strangely the Ignis CVT models also come with hill hold, a feature that surely would have been much more useful with the manual gearbox.

Both Ignis models have a 7.0-inch multimedia touchscreen for satellite navigation and reversing camera, as well as access to audio, aux inputs, USB and SD card, Bluetooth and smartphone connection to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also access to MirrorLink which displays various smartphone apps on the screen,

The leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel has audio and cruise control buttons, plus hands-free phone use.

At just under 1.6 metres Ignis is relatively tall which allowed for comfortable entry and good interior headroom. Likewise there’s good front legroom although its narrow width did lead to quite a bit of elbow bumping with a front passenger on board.

Although it’s nominally a five-seater it can also be chosen with just two rear seats which does make sense given the width restrictions.

Luggage space ranges from 264 litres with all seatbacks raised to 505 litres with the rear seatbacks folded and 1104 litres with all passenger seats down. The squared off tail make loading easy, as does the higher than average height of the Ignis.

Although power and torque outputs are quite modest the little Suzuki SUV weighs just 820 kilograms with the manual gearbox 865 kg in the auto and so it actually performs pretty well.

Around town the Ignis’ driveline feels quite refined and with its compact dimensions is quite agile and spritely.

Unless pushed hard the CVT is barely noticeable and it does provide greater efficiency. Serious hills can tax the powertrain at times, but the little car manages to do its best.

Comfort is pretty good on most roads and certainly on motorways. But rough roads can bounce things about at times. Noise levels are generally subdued – again, beware of rough ‘n ready roads.

Handling is nimble and competent and there’s the sort of pleasure offered in small light cars that’s seldom there in large ones.

Fuel consumption is listed at 4.7 litres per 100 km (manual) and 4.9 L/100km (CVT). We averaged 5.8 L/100 km in the GLX CVT during our week-long test across our usual blend of urban, motorway and rural conditions.

We’ve long been Suzuki fans having had a Swift in our carport for around seven untroubled years. Ignis shares many of its features but with the styling enhancements needed to become competitive in the new SUV environment.

With even the top-spec model under $20,000 (just … and before on-road costs) it offers excellent value for money. It’s 2WD only, if you’re looking for a bit more adventure then its impressive Jimny sibling could be for you.

All Suzuki models now come with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, five years of roadside assist and capped-price servicing, the latter scheduled for 12-month or 15,000km intervals.


Ignis GL 1.2-litre five-door wagon: $17,990 (manual); $18,990 (CVT)
Ignis GLX 1.2-litre five-door wagon: $19,990 (CVT)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Suzuki dealer for driveaway prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Suzuki Ignis GLX 1.2-litre five-door wagon)

Capacity: 1.242 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 66 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 120 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91ROM
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 114 g/km

Continuously variable transmission

Length: 3700 mm
Wheelbase: 2435 mm
Width: 1660 mm
Height: 1595 mm
Turning Circle: 9.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 865 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 32 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Drum

Five years / unlimited km

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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