New car review: Suzuki Ignis Series II

A modest cosmetic upgrade for its Ignis compact SUV prompts Suzuki to label it the “Series II”.

First launched here in early 2017, Suzuki’s funky looking five-door Ignis SUV recently benefited from a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it update, which the Japanese compact car specialist has optimistically labelled the Ignis Series II.

The changes are largely cosmetic, entailing no meaningful mechanical or equipment upgrades. 

Visually, trainspotters can identify the Series II from its predecessor via revised front and rear bumpers, a new front grille, fresh interior accents and three new exterior paint colours.

Now as before, the Ignis is available in two specifications – GL and GLX – both powered by a variable valve-timing Dualjet 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine. As the name suggests, the engine features dual fuel injectors per cylinder, delivering claimed maximum outputs of 66kW and 120Nm.

While those figures might seem quite meek on paper, the Ignis weighs less than 900kg, which ensures performance is better than the raw figures suggest.

Suzuki Ignis

It is certainly perky enough, having no difficulty keeping up with city and motorway traffic, while also capable of stretching its legs out on the highway. Pulling out to pass manoeuvres do require extra planning, however.  

Where the entry-level GL offers the choice of a five-speed manual ($17,990) or for a very affordable $1000 extra, a CVT auto, the slightly better specified GLX is CVT auto only.

Both specifications include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, navigation, 7.0-inch touchscreen, and a rear-view camera.

Extras on the GLX include 16-inch alloys (in lieu of the GL’s 15s), auto LED headlights with self-levelling, LED daytime running lights, keyless start, climate control air-con, privacy rear glass, and driver’s seat height adjustment.

The safety “basics” of six airbags, ABS and EBD are fitted, but more sophisticated driver assistance features found on rival models, such as autonomous emergency braking, are missing from the inventory. Unlike some of its competitors, the Ignis also has not been rated by independent safety testing authority ANCAP.

Suzuki Ignis

Officially, the Ignis plays in the light SUV segment where the sharp price of both grades undercuts all the competition.

Its closest rival is the Hyundai Venue 1.6, which is priced from $20,690 with manual transmission but includes AEB and has a four-star ANCAP rating achieved in 2019. 

The styling follows conventional SUV themes, as evidenced by Ignis’s slightly jacked up and boxy looking body, but as with many compact SUVs this front-drive Suzuki should not venture far from made roads.

Suzuki leaves that job to the ruggedly intrepid Jimny, but the Ignis is a notably nicer and easier around-town proposition than the latter.

With a footprint slightly smaller than its Swift sibling, the Ignis offers a surprising amount of rear space for passengers, given its compact exterior dimensions.

Suzuki Ignis

GL versions provide seating for five while the GLX has only four pews, but counters with a sliding second row and 50:50 split-fold function that allows the standard 264-litre load space to be upsized. 

With 15,000km or 12-month service intervals, scheduled servicing costs for the first five years/75,000km of Ignis ownership are estimated to come in at a budget-friendly $1465.

The official combined fuel consumption of 4.9 litres/100km is also agreeably light on the pocket. 

For funsters wanting to personalise their little Suzis there are also a wide range of Ignis accessories available, including items to colour-customise both interior and exterior components. 

Key stats

MLP: $19,990 (auto).

ENGINE: 1.2-litre petrol 4 cylinder.

ANCAP CRASH RATING:  Not rated.

FUEL CONSUMPTION (combined cycle, litres/100km):  4.9 (114g/km CO₂).

FOR: Easy to drive and park, relatively spacious interior, low running costs, cheap CVT auto option on GL, Apple CarPlay Android Auto and nav standard on both models.

AGAINST: No ANCAP rating, no steering reach adjustment, no AEB, slightly vague steering around centre.

RACQ advice on buying and owning cars