The little car that punches above its weight… and price!

This is the second generation Suzuki Ignis introduced in 2017. It’s most recent update saw a facelift with a revised bumper and brighter grille and most importantly, a mild hybrid power unit. The Ignis slots between the Alto and Swift in the Suzuki range, but borrows a little SUV DNA from siblings Jimny and Vitara. As such, it has 180mm of ground clearance despite its tiny size, and of course is available with automatic all-wheel drive.

A 12 volt system with a lithium-ion battery under the front passenger seat, helps with acceleration and making the start-stop, smoother and quieter. All Ignis models are powered by a 1.2 four-cylinder petrol putting out 83bhp and 79lb ft of torque. It can accelerate from rest to 62mph in 12.8 seconds and top speed is quoted at 100mph though frankly it’s a little optimistic on the motorway. On the other hand you can drive it pretty much with your foot to the floor and not necessarily break the speed limits!

Despite the Allgrip AWD and mild hybrid system (which adds about 6kg) it still weighs less than 1000kg. Combined fuel economy is easily 52mpg and CO2 emissions are at just 114g/km. Go for a base model and it’s yours for just £14,500, while this SZ5 with all the kit including automatic braking and six airbags is still only £18,000.

Undoubtedly compact, it remains usable with 204 litres of boot space, upto 1086 with the seats down. The ISOFIX-equipped rear seats not only split fold, but you can adjust the recline and slide them back and forth. Four normal size adults would be reasonably comfortable, taller people could tolerate the accommodation for short journeys.

Up front stylistic touches offer a contrasting panel spanning the dashboard, touchscreen for the infotainment and stereo (which could do with better speakers) and the climate control lives in a pod that feels like it should rotate but doesn’t. There is a reversing camera, though you barely need it. Visibility isn’t too bad, despite the wide c-pillar.

On the go you have to work the engine and manual transmission, the clutch bite could be better, but you’re rewarded with a roarty engine note and decent dynamics, despite less than sharp steering. It has cruise control but it’s best suited to the urban environment with its narrow body, high seating position and low-speed agility. For the money, with the spec and the fact it has a hybrid AWD drivetrain that could cope with mild off-roading and icy conditions should they occur, it’s hard not to like this car. Factor in its charming personality, a fun drive, and it’s a winner.

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