Parkers overall rating: 3.1 out of 5 3.1

There’s just one engine option in the Ignis range – a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol – but it’s supplemented with a number of features depending on the specification of the car.

The base specification is the 90hp (at 6,000rpm), 120Nm (at 4,400rpm) engine installed with a five-speed manual gearbox, covering 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds and hitting 106mph flat-out. This can be ordered in either SZ3 or SZ-T trim levels.

We think this is the best engine on offer – it’s characterful enough, though nowhere near as likeable to drive as the Boosterjet motor Suzuki installs in the larger Baleno – and it has just about enough performance to get the Ignis up marginally steep inclines.

Suzuki also offers this engine with a five-speed Auto Gear Shift (AGS) transmission, which means it’ll change gears for you. This has exactly the same performance figures as the manual gearbox-equipped version, and can be controlled by the driver should extra control and driving involvement be required. It’s only available on higher-spec SZ-T and SZ5 models.

Exclusively for SZ5 specification is the SHVS system, which is a ‘mild hybrid’ in the sense that it receives electrical help to start the engine when moving off from a standstill fed from lithium-ion batteries that are charged as the Ignis decelerates. While there’s absolutely no difference in peak power and torque ratings or top speed over the non-hybrid model, the official 0-62mph time drops to 11.4 seconds.

We found this engine felt flatter in its power delivery, meaning that while on paper it’s faster, it’s less engaging to drive and so less fun. Since 0-62mph times above 10 seconds are largely academic figures anyway, we’d suggest you save some cash and get the cheaper 1.2 unless you need any of the additional features only available on the SHVS.

Finally, there’s a version of the SHVS engine equipped with a part-time 4x4 system Suzuki calls Allgrip Auto. With this the 0-62mph drops further to 11.1 seconds making it the quickest Ignis on sale, but top speed also falls to 103mph.

  • Accomplished but not fun
  • Great in the city but not on motorway
  • Optional 4x4 system, relatively high towing capacity

You’ll need to forego the Ignis and plump for a sportier Swift if you want to have fun in your small Suzuki, but in the main this diminutive SUV drives well – especially in the city where most will live their day-to-day lives. It’s a tall car and there is a fair amount of body lean in corners if you’re going too quickly, but most drivers won’t have to worry about this.

You do notice its weight – or lack of it – because the Ignis is very keen to change direction.

We found the steering responsive enough to swerve in an emergency, and were impressed with the minute turning circle that means the Ignis feels very manoeuvrable.

It struggles a little on the motorway, however, because gusts of wind tend to catch the high sides of the Ignis and because it weighs so little, you have to apply corrections to prevent deviating from your lane. This can be disconcerting at times.

To be honest we can’t see much point in going for the Allgrip Auto all-wheel drive system, because in the vast majority of cases the front-wheel drive Ignis has enough traction to cope. Furthermore, a set of winter tyres will do as good a job – if not better – than paying extra for a top-spec powertrain.

All versions of the Ignis have a braked towing capacity of 1,000kg and a towbar will be available as a dealer-fit optional extra.