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When it comes to compact vehicles, few can match what Suzuki has to offer; indeed the Japanese company has gained worldwide acclaim for producing compact, affordable vehicles such as the Swift, an extremely popular hatchback and the Ignis.

The latter recently received a facelift with striking styling upgrades; leaving this compact SUV with a much needed more aggressive appearance. This facelift is just what the Ignis needed; while it may not be the best looking set of wheels on the black it has a certain charm with its distinctive looks, it really does stand apart from the crowd. The Ignis first took to Irish roads in 2017 and it has gained quite a following, certainly the new look will appeal to existing customers and no doubt will conquest.

Recently, I took to the roads with the new look Ignis with its enhanced Hybrid power train, my test example was in SZ5 trim, top of the range. This new K12D Dualjet engine (SZ-T and SZ5 models) with improved fuel economy, lower emissions and a power output of 83PS and I was surprised to discover how responsive the new unit was under a variety of driving conditions.

A CVT transmission is an option, it can vary the actual gear ratio continuously and stepless from low-speed to high-speed range depending on the driving conditions. The CVT allows improved driveability with reduced shift-shock in comparison with a conventional automatic transmission. Several years ago when CVT transmissions first entered the automotive arena to me they were an irritation, I largely felt why bother, thankfully that is not the case and I must applaud Suzuki for their offering. However on this occasion my test car had a manual transmission. I have in the past tested their CVT transmission.

Yes, the Ignis may be small it has something special, amazing all terrain capability as it adopts Suzuki’s ALLGRIP ‘AUTO ’four-wheel drive system which is available optionally on the SZ5 model with manual transmission. This was first introduced in Swift, a simple fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling. It is also an ideal choice for customers such as farmers, doctors etc. who may need additional mobility across rougher terrain or for crossing slippery surfaces during winter months without owning a more conventional SUV sized vehicle. The system includes Hill Descent Control and also Grip Control which activates on slippery surfaces at speeds of less than 29kph (18mph). Once switched on, it focuses torque on the driven wheels that have grip and will quickly apply braking to the wheel that is spinning. Hill Descent Control also activates once switched on by the driver and when the vehicle is travelling on an incline at under 24kph (15mph) in first or second gear. It’s worth noting that with lightweight components, and available in combination with the 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid powertrain, Ignis ALLGRIP Auto models have good fuel economy and low CO2 emissions of just 123 g/km. With this new model Suzuki aims to offer a lot in terms of specification, all models are well equipped, SZ3 model feature six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth, 15-inch wheels, LED headlights, body coloured door mirrors, front electric windows, rear privacy glass and five seat capacity. SZ-T adds rear view camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, wheel arch extensions and four seat capacity with individually sliding rear seats and Smartphone Link Display Audio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The SZ5 adds auto air conditioning, satellite navigation, Dual Camera Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, Weaving Alert, keyless entry and start, rear electric windows and front foglamps.

With a refreshed interior and a wide choice of exterior colours to select from, a mix of single-tone and two-tone, this adds further to the appeal of the new Ignis; dare I add a vehicle for all seasons. The model tested- 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid SZ5 ALLGRIP costs €20,265 (ROI)/ £17,499 (NI).

Ian Lynas

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