Maruti Suzuki Ignis review: Peppy retro-chic hatch, but is it worth the price?
For the same money in which Maruti Suzuki sells Ignis, you can buy a Swift. Is the Ignis really that good?Updated: Feb 25, 2017 11:59 IST
Maruti Suzuki’s latest offering, the Ignis, is a retro-chic hatchback that breaks the mould in more than one way. However, what really sets the Ignis apart is its change in primary focus from practicality to fun. Sold via Maruti’s premium Nexa distribution chain, the Ignis priced between Rs 4.59-7.80 lakh isn’t cheap. For the same money, you can buy a Swift. Is the Ignis really that good?
Maruti has ditched its safe and conventional design philosophy and given us a funky little hatchback that’s a blend of retro and cool. Its oversized LED headlamps, upright stance and flared wheel arches actually look quite good. Black 15-inch wheels are standard on the top variants and there are plenty of roof wrap options for buyers to personalise their cars.
The side profile reveals the Ignis’ tiny footprint. It measures just 3,700mm long and 1,690mm in width. But thanks to a long 2,435mm wheelbase and 1,595mm height, there’s plenty of room inside.
Like the exterior, the interior too sports some really cool bits like the toggle switches for the climate control, the tablet-like touchscreen and cylindrical door handles. Even the multifunction steering wheel is new, and not the ubiquitous unit that you see in the remaining Maruti range.
Being a tall car, the cabin feels bright and airy. You’re sat quite high and getting in and out is quite easy. The seats are nice and supportive, and frontal visibility is good too. However, the cabin feels narrow on the inside and rear visibility is poor due to the narrow rear windscreen, and as a result, you have to rely on the car’s reversing aid when backing it up.
The rear seat has ample headroom and shoulder room but the car’s narrow width makes accommodating that occasional third rear passenger a bit uncomfortable.
What does work in this car’s favour is its expansive equipment list which includes climate control, reverse camera and segment-first features like LED projector headlamps and a touchscreen media-navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other notable features on the fully loaded Alpha variant include keyless entry and go, reverse sensors, 15-inch alloy wheels and fog lamps. ABS with EBD, dual airbags, Isofix child seats anchor points and seat belt with pre-tensioners are standard across the range. Also, the car is said to be ready for all the future Indian crash test norms.
Its 260-litre boot is well-shaped and usable, with the 60:40 folding rear seats making it more flexible.
The Ignis gets the option of an 83hp 1.2-litre petrol and a 74hp 1.3-litre four-cylinder diesel; both of which are available with the option of a manual or automated manual transmission (AMT).
The 1.3-litre diesel engine is reasonably responsive from the get-go and feels eager to spin. However, refinement isn’t its strong suite, as it is clattery and becomes increasingly noisy at higher revs.
The manual car’s gearshifter has short throws, with a very precise action and even the clutch is light. About the diesel AMT, the shifts are quite smooth when you drive in a relaxed manner, but the jerky nature of the gearbox gets increasingly noticeable when you want to make a quick move, and that gets quite annoying. In traffic, the gearbox often struggles to find the right gear, but progress is a lot more convenient when you use it in the manual (Tiptronic) mode. What’s nice is that the gearbox gets a useful creep function which brings the car to crawling speeds once the foot is off the brake pedal.
The pick of the lot is the 1.2-litre petrol engine which is extremely refined and really peppy. It performs quite well at all revs and is particularly fun to drive in a spirited manner.
Even the light clutch and short-throw gear lever that makes shifting gears a breeze. The AMT feels a lot better on the petrol too. With a light foot on the accelerator, it will shift gears at 2,000revs to maximise fuel efficiency, whereas, in manual mode, it will hold gears till max revs.
The Ignis’ talking point is its ride which remains unruffled even over bad roads. Despite weighing just 860kg (petrol) and 960kg (diesel), the Ignis drives like a bigger car and doesn’t pitch or bob over road undulations.
It even feels impressively composed around corners, despite the tall body and a ground clearance of 180mm. A bit of a dampener though is the steering wheel which feels lifeless at highway speeds. However, it’s nice and light to use in the city, which makes driving the car through tight spaces quite easy.
Clearly, the Ignis isn’t just another small car from Maruti. Its funky styling and new age interiors make it stand out. And then there’s the price tag, which is a step-up from what you would expect on a Maruti of this size. Question is, has Maruti delivered enough car for the money?
The short answer is ‘yes’. And here’s why.
To begin with, there’s a big improvement in quality on the inside. Sure, the cabin has that familiar Maruti feel, but the dashboard is built so well and functionality too is a huge step forward here. Yes, even the engines are familiar, but on this lightweight hatchback, they are quite rewarding to drive, especially the petrol. The car is practical, comes with a lot of equipment, and the fully loaded variant gets plenty of delightful features like the LED lights and the big buck wheels. Yes, it’s quite expensive, but this is the variant to go for.
(In partnership with Autocar India)
First Published: Feb 25, 2017 11:58 IST