SUZUKI has a swagger at the moment - and rightly so. No-one can hold a candle to this brand when it comes to the two most important motoring currencies: value and style.
Swift, Celerio and new Vitara are helping a brand once best known for motorcycles to become one of the rising stars of the car world.
Swift began it a decade ago with a car which tried - and succeeded - to be a cut-price MINI. Almost as cheeky as the premium hatch, but tons cheaper.
And the flourish has continued. No wonder Suzuki had its best ever year last year when it sold more than 38,000 models, its best ever result.
Now here comes quite possibly the best new Suzuki since the revamped Swift of 2005.
This is Ignis. I know, I know, it’s named after a less than impressive model from a decade ago, but new Ignis is nothing like the old Ignis.
It is a compact crossover and Suzuki maintain that it is a car without any proper rivals. Making such a car is a brave move - after all, if it’s such a good idea why isn’t everyone else building a similar cut-price compact crossover.
But Suzuki is a company with confidence and it seems that Ignis is the right car at the right moment. There are better compact crossovers but they cost thousands more. There isn’t a better compact crossover for the money.
So, will Ignis help the Suzuki bandwagon to carry on rolling? It should do. It takes the brand into a new market and should attract new customers.
It means Suzuki has doubled its UK sales in five years and is just outside the top 20.
Suzuki hope to sell 6,000 Ignis models a year. Standard equipment is comprehensive and the SZ3 model includes six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth, 15in wheels, body coloured door mirrors, front electric windows and five-seat capacity.
If you want to pay more, Ignis is available with SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) which lowers CO2 emissions to 97g/km and also offers ALLGRIP ‘AUTO’ four-wheel-drive on the SZ5 model.
First introduced for the Swift, this is a well proven and simple fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling.
As an additional safety feature on the SZ5 model, Dual Camera Brake Support (DCBS) is fitted which uses stereo cameras located on each side of the driver’s interior rear view mirror. These function in a similar way to the human eye and detect lane markings as well as objects ahead including pedestrians, and also their distance away. This new feature has enabled the IGNIS SZ5 to be awarded Five Stars in the latest NCAP tests.
So how does Ignis measure up? Well, its looks are distinctive but not everyone will find it charming and cheeky. It is good value, though, and impressively equipped.
On the road, it’s fine. Ride and handling is better than you might imagine for a tall budget car and it has decent acceleration.
It is a lightweight car and has good economy and performance figures.
For such a compact car, it has a decent boot and a quirkiness which will appeal to people who want something different. And from less than £10,000, it is very well priced.
Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ3 Dualjet
THE CAR FACTS
Price: £9,999 on the road
Transmission: Manual front-wheel-drive
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 12.2 seconds
Economy: 61.4mpg combined
Insurance: Group 9E
CO2 emissions: 104g/km
Summary: Is there a better car on the road for the money? Probably not. Stylish, cheeky looking and good value.
Kia Soul: From £12,805. This is a quirkly-looking vehicle and is bigger and more spacious but costs more.
Renault Captur: From £14,945. A better car and more spacious but much it is much more expensive
Peugeot 2008: From £14,415. There’s a theme here. Perhaps more accomplished and more mainstream in style but more expensive.