Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
  • Only one engine choice – but it’s very good
  • Mild-hybrid is responsive and efficient
  • Optional automatic and four-wheel drive

Choosing an engine for the Suzuki Ignis couldn’t be simpler – there’s only one.

This is a 1.2-litre four-cylinder affair, boosted not by a turbocharger like many small engines but by a mild-hybrid system that comprises a starter/generator and a small battery below the front seat.

The hybrid system – which Suzuki confusingly describes as ‘self-charging’ despite that nomenclature typically referring to a traditional hybrid – boosts the engine’s response and efficiency and endows the lightweight Ignis with plenty of power for its size.

It produces 83hp and 107Nm of torque, which is significantly more than most of its base-level opposition such as the 60hp Volkswagen Up.

That gives it a 0-62mph time of 12.7 seconds and a top speed of 103mph. Not rocketship speeds, granted, but more than enough performance for a city car.

Crucially, the Ignis doesn’t feel too outclassed on faster roads – there’s enough in reserve to make merging onto the motorway reasonably relaxed and you might even consider overtaking something on a country road, too.

There are two options for the engine, both adding £1,000 to the Ignis’ list price. First, there’s a CVT automatic transmission. We wouldn’t bother with this unless you absolutely need a two-pedal car – the standard five-speed manual is light, crisp and really pleasant to use – and while the CVT actually reduces the 0-62mph time to 12.4 seconds it lowers the top speed and spoils the economy.

The other addition is Suzuki’s AllGrip four-wheel drive system. A unique addition in this market sector, it too spoils the Ignis’ fuel economy – but in doing so gives it reassuring levels of grip and surprising capability. If you regularly traverse rough, unmade roads, this may be genuinely useful – and even if you don’t, it’s a fun feature that we’d probably struggle to resist.

Handling

  • Accomplished and fun in the city
  • Outclassed on faster roads and the motorway
  • Light weight improves matters hugely

Very few city cars are actually fun to drive – notable exceptions are those with a performance bent, such as the Volkswagen Up GTI. The Suzuki Ignis, however, is remarkably entertaining provided you stay within its limits.

In the city, its ultra-light weight, good visibility, and darty steering mean it’s a laugh to nip about in, and absolutely effortless at taking tight bends and parking in small spots.

However its high sides mean that when you’re on the motorway it has a tendency to get blown about by crosswinds, and the steering becomes rather twitchy.