What is it?
Is the Suzuki Ignis a city car or a baby SUV? At just 3700mm long and 1690mm wide, it’s significantly smaller than even a supermini, but it offers four-wheel drive and takes the kind of bulldog stance that makes it look fit for flinging mud.
Indeed, Suzuki refers to the Ignis as “the only ultra-compact SUV on the market” and says that it has attempted to emphasise this side of its character through a facelift (which comes three years after it first went on sale), introducing a new grille and bumpers, plus some more countryside-appropriate colours, including the fetching Tough Khaki adorning our test car.
More importantly, however, Suzuki has been busy making some significant mechanical changes to the Ignis. Ride and refinement were always far from strong points, and to these ends Suzuki has brought in new insulation materials to cut vibration and noise on the move, plus extra body reinforcements in the tailgate, roof, floor and suspension mounts. And despite this, it still maintains its pleasingly low kerb weight of 895kg.
Even more significant is the arrival of a new engine. The latest evolution of Suzuki’s 1.2-litre four-cylinder Dualjet petrol unit, the K12D benefits from a series of design changes to give it even better efficiency.
That wouldn’t be good enough for the EU on its own, however, so the Ignis now comes only as a mild hybrid. It’s less mild than the pre-facelift variant, despite retaining a 12V architecture while manufacturers of pricier cars go for 48V, thanks to a larger lithium ion battery (0.12kWh, up from 0.036kWh). Which explains the rather misleading rebadging from SHVS to Hybrid.
The upshot of the evolved engine, bigger battery and more powerful belt-integrated starter-generator (BISG) is a best WLTP fuel economy figure of 55.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km. This drops to 51.3mpg and 124g/km if you swap the standard five-speed manual gearbox for a CVT (which, let’s be honest, is rarely desirable) or 51.9mpg and 123g/km if you want Allgrip four-wheel drive.
Allgrip gives the Ignis permanent four-wheel drive and shifts the power bias rearward when required, via a viscous coupling. It’s not really detectable in normal driving, but Suzuki says it improves cornering ability and quite rightly points out that it’s of benefit to rural dwellers, especially in the winter. And even with Allgrip, the Ignis weighs less than a tonne.