Maruti Suzuki Ignis is making some noise for a few weeks now and well why not? It’s the country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki’s first launch of the calendar year 2017 and the new not so tall boy car is indeed worth all the hype it has created. We are in Chennai to test drive not one but all four different drivetrains on offer of the car.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis doesn’t follow the traditional pattern of design which we have seen in the automaker’s other cars. Since the inception of Baleno and Vitara Brezza the company has been aggressive and impressive with its car’s designs and with the Ignis it’s a mix bag of emotions. The face of the car will instantly grab your attention – the bold, pretty face with DRLs (or dynamic day light opening (DLO) as the company would like to call) is new to this segment. Ignis has the right proportions and a bit unconventional design. The car is also strong on the outside thanks to the new generation rigid platform. Maruti Suzuki claims that the company along with its suppliers have invested over Rs 950 crore for the development of Ignis and the car has 98.5% localised content.
LED projector headlamps with LED DRLs, fog lamps with chrome inserts adds to the overall appeal of the car. The company also offers dual tone exterior colour options in Ignis. Taking about the rear of the car, there is nothing wrong with the design the black plastic cladding at the bottom is a bit overdone but the whole point was to give a break from the monotonous body colour. The tail-lamps have been integrated nicely. The car is being sold through the company’s Nexa channel and so the Maruti Suzuki logo is missing. It only gets the Suzuki emblem.
Now the reason I call it not so tall boy car is because the car is not actually very tall. In fact, at 1595 mm the car is shorter than the Ritz and much shorter than WagonR. Ignis has a good ground clearance of 180 mm and offers no problem over speed breakers in and around the city.
The cabin is much spacious and comfortable. It lives up to the expectation of a Nexa buyer who is looking the car as a premium product and is in line with S-cross and Baleno’s interiors. Three people seating on the rear seat can be a bit dis-comforting on long drives because of less shoulder-room but there is enough leg-room. The dashboard has finishings in black and ivory dual tone colour. The plastic quality on the Ignis is much better than some of the other cars in this segment. Toggle switch on the automatic climate controller unit is something new and is well placed below the infotainment system but is available only on the top-end manual variants.
The power-window switch on the driver’s and passenger’s side is placed a bit lower than what we see on cars these days and it almost hits the knees while driving and can get a bit uncomfortable on long drives. The plastic used around the power-window switch and on the door panel is not as good as what we see on the dashboard and feels a bit weak and not properly finished. Speedometer is wide, bright and looks very traditional. There is also a screen for digital display whose controls are on the steering wheel.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis also gets a 7-inch infotainment system very similar to what we have seen on the S-Cross, Baleno and Vitara Brezza. But on the Ignis the screen stands out and is not really integrated to the dash. It supports navigation, apple car play and the first car from Maruti Suzuki to support Google’s android auto. The system is fast and smooth but is available only on the top manual variants of Ignis and not on the AMT (AGS) versions. We hope Maruti Suzuki introduces the same infotainment system at least on the petrol AMT option. The AMT variants does get a regular non-touch music player which supports Bluetooth, USB, AUX.
Drive & Engine:
Drive in Chennai can get difficult and also easy. After having stayed in this city for over 20 years, you kind of get to know about the traffic and usual traffic chaos in the city, and thus, the drive can get really boring. But, Ignis surprised me a bit. I first drove the topline 1.2L petrol manual variant in the dark. Yes, it was a night drive and I got to drive for about 15 kms. Fortunately or unfortunately the traffic was at its peak and the car grabbed a lot of attention. The drive feel is more like a hatch than a crossover vehicle.
The engine is well tuned and the lightweight of the car has helped the steering to be on the lighter side, thereby increasing the fun quotient to drive. You need to throttle a bit more if you need more pick up on the highway but the car handles well. Suspension is stiffer and the car goes on rough-roads with ease. Maruti Suzuki expects more volumes from the petrol AMT variants.
Overall, Maruti Suzuki Ignis is a very good package specially on the petrol variant. Even though, not an SUV, the car can be termed as mini Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Touchscreen infotainment system on the AMT variants is a huge miss. But all said and done the third product from Nexa dealership will be a volume driver. The company has already received over 10,000 bookings of Ignis within twenty days.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis price:
Petrol: Rs 4.59-6.69 lakh (ex-Delhi)
Diesel: Rs 6.39-7.46 lakh (ex-Delhi)