Maruti launched its funky offering, the Ignis in January this year. The Ignis comes with a whole range of engine and transmission options, which means there is a lot to choose from. We had previously driven the diesel AMT and now, we have spent sometime with the diesel manual (Alpha variant, top-end) to tell you what it’s like.

Does it look different?

ignis 15

The top-of-the-line variant (Alpha) does look a little different to the Zeta variant. The main highlight of the Alpha variant has to be the LED DRLs on the headlamp cluster and the LED headlamps, a segment first feature. Other than that, there is no difference to how the top of the line Alpha and the lower level Zeta look.

The Ignis is a funky looking hatchback. This one does turn heads where ever it goes. While boxy shapes are not really liked much, it suits the theme of the Ignis. One major misconception that people have when they see the Ignis is that it is small. Yes, it does look small due to its high ground clearance and short over hangs but that doesn’t mean it is cramped on the inside.

ignis 12

Maruti offers a lot of customization options with the Ignis. You can have the roof in various colour combinations, a lot like how it is offered on the Mini Cooper. Our test car came with the normal black roof and black alloys. While the design may not appeal to all, Maruti has done a great job in coming up with something innovative and out of the box.

Inside story?

ignis 8

As compared to the Zeta variant, the interiors on the top spec Alpha variant are a lot different. This one has the touch screen system with the Smartplay infotainment system. This comes with Apple Car play, Android auto and Mirrorlink. It also has navigation and a display that doubles up as the reverse camera while reversing. In addition to this, it has the climate control system, which has a cool and funky look to it. Inspiration has been taken from the Mini Cooper, quite clearly and that is not a bad thing, given the Ignis wants to be a funky offering. Even the instrument cluster has a surround lighting, something that is not on offer on other variants. One thing that is missing is that there is no auto wipe option when you put the car into reverse.

As far as plastics is concerned, the feel is slightly on the harder side. Maruti is trying hard to get better with this though. The funky touches continue on the inside with body coloured door handles and the housing for the gearbox. This does give the Ignis some uniqueness.

ignis 2

As far as space is concerned, the Ignis is very roomy. While it looks tiny on the outside, cabin space is very good. Even tall people will not have much issues at the back, be it head or leg room.

The Ignis comes with keyless ignition and speed sensing door locking system. While initially, it doesn’t unlock the doors when you shut down the car, it can be programmed to do so through the MFD. There are a lot of other options that can be changed, for which you will have to see the menu option of the MFD cluster.

To drive

ignis 16

The Ignis is powered by a 1.3 liter diesel engine which is the same one that is used on most Marutis. This one makes 74 Bhp and 190 Nm. Since we have already tested the AMT variant, we will limit this review to only the manual one. The manual gearbox is a 5-speed unit.

Start her up and it is easy to spot that it is a diesel vehicle. On the move, there is considerable lag below the 1,700 rpm mark, however post that you get a mighty mid range. Keep it between the 1,700 -4,000 rpm mark and you will be able to gain brisk pace. Like most diesels, top end is a little weak, which is why we advise not to revv beyond 4,000 rpm as it gets very noisy and there isn’t much progress either. The mid range is what makes the car a lot of fun in the city. That coupled with its small size makes it an ideal vehicle to weave in and out of traffic with ease. The engine does get quite noisy though if you plan on revving hard. Like all Maruti’s, the clutch is light and easy to get used to.

As far as the suspension is concerned, Maruti has decided to go with a stiff setup, to keep it sporty. This means that you do feel the occasional bump in the cabin. What this does though is makes the Ignis a really good cruiser on the highway. Keep it at 3 digit speeds and the Ignis feels very planted. Yes, the steering feedback is not the best as it doesn’t weigh up adequately at higher speeds. The Ignis comes equipped with ABS on all models and the brakes do a good job in bringing the car to a halt.

As far as fuel economy is concerned, the Ignis returned over 22kmpl during the 500 odd kms we drove it. This was a mix of city and highway driving, which is quite commendable. The only downside to the Ignis is the fact that it has a small fuel tank (32 liters).

Another good part about the Ignis has to be its ground clearance. With 180 mm ground clearance and short overhangs, the Ignis is a breeze when it comes to tacking any speed breaker than the Indian roads will put it through. This also gives a lot of confidence on highways, given how bad our road conditions are.

Variant details

The diesel manual comes in a total of 3 variants, Delta, Zeta and Alpha. The Sigma is priced at RS 6.28 lakhs, ex-showroom followed by the Zeta which is priced at Rs 6.75 lakhs and then you have the top spec Alpha which is priced at Rs 7.54 lakhs.

To buy or not to buy?

ignis 9

The Ignis is not your mundane hatchback. Yes, it is practical and will do everything that your regular hatch will do, however it will do so in a different style. The Ignis is priced on the higher side, given that the Baleno and Swift can be had at the similar price range, however what you are paying for in the Ignis is the uniqueness and the fun quotient. If you are the sort who wants to stand out, the Ignis is your best bet.

Image gallery

ignis 11 ignis 13 ignis 14 ignis 5 ignis 6 ignis 7 ignis 4 ignis 1