Tested: 2021 Suzuki Ignis GLX

Suzuki is on an absolute roll… and it shouldn’t surprise anyone why. Affordable, dependable and well-equipped cars will always sell in Namibia / southern Africa and this Ignis 1.2 GLX Manual is no exception…



I’m fairly sure that most buyers will pick another colour combo though. This one is called Uptown Red Metallic with the optional black roof. It also has black wheels, a black interior and probably a black soul. Just what everyone wants in Africa. In summer.

But I digress. “Ignis” means “fire” in Latin but the interweb also mumbled something about spooky lights and fairies. 1.2 denotes the engine size and GLX stands for… uhh… grand long xtreme? No idea. Nowadays, car makers choose acronyms and numbers that look good in chrome; and heaven forbid they relate to anything in, on, or of the actual automobile.

If you haven’t spotted it yet, I can confidently tell you that the Suzuki Ignis is a rather tiny vehicle. Because of its compact dimensions, stubby and upright posture, flat bum and decent ground clearance, it straddles a few automotive segments but fits neatly into the section marked “Lanky and awkward-looking Indian city SUV’s”.

It is our team’s humble opinion that this one offers the most amount of style; no thanks to the glitzy LED lights, bizarre panel creases, bonnet side vents, silver plastic trim and vividly contrasting paint scheme of this press unit. I personally enjoyed the two-tone interior items, while most of us thought that the tactile quality of this cute critter’s cabin is quite pleasing.

That also goes for its engine… which turned out to be an extremely responsive and rev-happy little number. The clutch and steering are feather-light to operate, ditto for the five-speed manual ‘box, while accidental or intended wheel-spin is no problem at all. The turning radius is excellent.

So. Are there any bad bits to this car? Well, it may be a subjective opinion, but it is shared by everyone on our team and any person I have ever talked to… the rear end of this car is… ungainly? It’s too short. It breaks the car’s proportions. In fact, the poor Ignis looks like it’s been rear-ended. And the rear light clusters are too big.

Other niggles we noted – although all of them apply to this class of car – are mediocre seat support plus a lack of adjustment for the front furniture, a slightly limited gauge cluster and/or trip computer, plus a propensity to dance along with any form of heavy wind.

I find Suzuki’s infotainment touch-screen too basic  and blocky… hopefully the unit from their new Vitara Brezza will infiltrate the rest of the range. I’ll hasten to add that I’m the only team member with this opinion and that this device always does what I ask of it. The climate control in this derivative works flawlessly; and its controls are very funky.

Obviously, there isn’t a lot of passenger room inside this car. It’s perfectly fine for a single person, OK for a pair or peeps and probably acceptable for a very young family. Anything more than that will have to be on really close terms as it will involve a lot of touching and squeezing. *giggle* Don’t tell the virus…

Another thing I can confidently tell you is that an Ignis can do a fair bit of off-roading. Just look at those overhangs – or lack thereof – plus that generous ground clearance. They team up to make this a remarkably capable little car in the rough stuff.

Its Achilles Heal is a combination of the road-biased rubber and that lively engine response I mentioned earlier. Treat them a little more delicately and the Ignis will go far into the countryside. And, as an added bonus, it pays tribute to its proper 4WD cousin Jimny by being SO light that two men could probably carry it out of trouble.

OK. Is the Suzuki Ignis a good new-car proposition? Absolutely. It exhibits a lot of character and has great features at this price point, while making the best of its teeny-tiny dimensions. Once you delve into the bottomless realm of pre-owned vehicles, this car – and especially with this higher trim level – should represent even more bang for your buck.

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