Maruti Suzuki had one of the hottest exhibits at the 2016 Auto Expo, where they showcased the Ignis. The off-beat styling with a crossover-esque design grabbed a lot of eye balls. After waiting for a year, the Ignis has been finally launched with a range of engine and transmission options along with highly customisable trims. The Indo-Japanese carmaker is targeting the millennial youth audience with the Ignis and retailing it via their premium NEXA dealerships across the country. What’s the hype all about? We find out in our test drive in Chennai. Check for review & price of Maruti Cars
EXTERIORS AND LOOKS ;
Design flourishes dominate the insides too, and the Progressive Triad finds its way onto the sides of the central console box which on some cars is finished in colours complementing the exterior paint. The front door handles which are neat-looking cylindrical bars are also painted in the same colour.
The dashboard is all straight lines and seems to have a virtual beam housing the rectangular central air vents and forming the mounting for the ‘floating’ touchscreen unit. Below this is a cylindrical auto climate control unit with nifty toggle-like switches. They operate with a quality feel, like the other switches and buttons around the car. Lower variants, however, get a manual AC with a control unit that looks like an afterthought. With all the style around, Suzuki should have paid some attention to giving this unit an attractive shape. The lower variants get a button-operated music system that’s mounted within the same housing as the touchscreen unit. Check Ex Showroom Price of Ignis
INTERIORS AND CABIN ;
The Ignis diesel automatic also loses some of the comfort and convenience features compared to its Alpha trimmed manual counter part. The touchscreen multimedia system with Android Auto gives way to a regular Bluetooth audio system. It’s still a stick-on design that sits centrally on the dashboard between the air vents. But, compared to the tab like screen, this one looks utilitarian instead of cool. There’s also no height adjustment for the driver’s seat and a manual aircon unit replaces the digital climate control system.
What remains from the Alpha trim is the multifunctional steering wheel, the detailed driver information system as part of the instrumentation and keyless entry and start. It also gets plenty of storage spaces in and around the central tunnel and in the door pockets, and the glovebox is spacious too. The Ignis diesel automatic continues to get parking aid in the form of rear parking sensors but with no touchscreen inside, reversing camera has been given the boot as well.
In terms of space and seating comfort, things remain the same. So, there’s enough head and knee room to seat four passengers, and the seats themselves are cushy but supportive. The boot space at 260 litres remains handy, especially with split and folding rear seats, even though the high loading lip height can be a problem for some.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
Maruti Suzuki hasn’t officially revealed the specifications of the new Ignis, however it is likely to come with a 1.2-litre petrol and 1.2-litre diesel engine options. The 1.2-litre petrol is the K-Series engine and this will come with a five-speed manual transmission and produce about 83bhp of power and 115Nm of peak torque. The other engine is an all new three cylinder diesel engine that will churn about 75bhp and about 180Nm of torque. This engine has been developed by Suzuki and the two cylinder version of this engine is used on the Celerio and four pot will be coming on other Maruti Suzuki products. This will also come with a five-speed manual transmission. There will even an automatic transmission on offer. The Ignis will be sold through the Nexa Experience dealerships and hence it won’t come with an AMT. The Ignis will be coming with an automatic transmission on the petrol engine and maybe even the diesel engine. The Ignis for the Indian car market will be offered with front wheel drive. For exports, however it will even come with an all-wheel drive as well. For India, at the moment there is no requirement for it.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
For a car that stands tall, the Ignis has a well-cushioned ride. It rides on 15-inch wheels so it already gets an edge over other hatchbacks as far as ironing out minor road inconsistencies are concerned. Overall bump absorption is good with only the major ones filtering into the cabin. Surprisingly for a Maruti Suzuki car, the suspensions deal with the big potholes gracefully, without the crashing noise filtering into the cabin much
The overall drive experience is enhanced by the well weighed steering wheel which is light at parking speeds but weighs up appropriately as the speeds rise. It doesn’t offer much feedback, but the Ignis doesn’t promise to be a driver’s car either, so it can be spared. That said, thanks to the heaviness at the ‘wheel, the Ignis would maintain straight lines on highways with minimal steering corrections.
Maruti Suzuki has built the Ignis on its fifth-gen A-platform, which is stiffer than before and further improves its on-road stability. It is also prepared to pass the frontal, rear and side impact tests and also gets ABS and EBD and dual airbags as standard. The Ignis inspires confidence under braking at sane speeds and should therefore turn out to be a good highway companion for weekend outstation rides.
Yes, the Ignis is a dressed up hatch, and it has shortcomings. Its styling is head-turning but polarising, and it looks a bit awkward when viewed from the rear. Its interiors, although funky, could do with a bit more finesse. However, the Ignis is very well equipped and spacious. The way it rides and drives makes it feel sophisticated and friendly to use too. The option of well-engineered automatic transmissions widens the Ignis’ repertoire further. The Ignis may seem pricey, but bear in mind it packs ABS, EBD, airbags and crash safety measures engineered into its chassis. All in all, the Ignis packs attitude and appeal, outside and inside, to drive and own, and is properly sensible too. The Ignis is a hatchback, and a statement too.