The Ignis is Maruti’s take on a funky little hatchback for the millennials. At first glance, the company has certainly made a car that will catch the eye of most youngsters. But how good is it? We spent a few days with the diesel AMT version of the Ignis, and this is what we had to say about it.
Is it ‘WOW’ to look at?
The Ignis is one car with which Maruti has decided to go all out and not play it safe. The Ignis, being a global product, has been designed keeping the international market in mind. The design takes cues from other famous Suzuki products from over the time.
The slits on the C-pillar are a carry-forward from the Fronte Coupe (1971), a car that was designed by Giugiaro. The headlamps have been inspired by the Cervo, which too was designed by Giugiaro. The blacked out A-pillar was inspired by the Swift.
Since the car has so many cool products inspiring it, it must be really good to look at right? Well, the opinion is still divided on that. We think that Maruti has pulled a masterstroke when it comes to thinking out of the box with this vehicle. While it is a hatchback, it has a muscular look to it, what with large fenders and the plastic cladding.
The honeycomb structure on the grille extends all the way around the headlamp cluster, giving the car a unique look. The bonnet gets an air vent which adds to the design flair. Our car missed out on the LED headlamps with DRLs. There is minimal use of chrome in the car, which is something we like.
Yes, you do get a chrome garnish around the grille, headlamps and foglamps, but nothing that is overdone. The car we we tested came with black alloy wheels and a black/white stripped roof. The dual tone paint theme is now becoming a trend and we see a lot of more cars getting the same treatment.
This is what makes the Ignis an interesting proposition. The Ignis comes with a whole host of customization options giving your car an individual look. And this is what makes it special. It is unlike any other hatch in the market today.
And what about the inside
The first question in our mind was whether the funkiness was only on the outside or had it been transferred to the inside as well. Open the door and you will be greeted by a cabin that is unlike any other Maruti. Yes, switchgear has been borrowed from other Maruti vehicles, but the design in here is all-new.
Since we are driving the AMT variant (Zeta), it doesn’t get the touch screen system or the automatic climate control. This version has to make do with the giant monochrome stereo which is not flush with the dash. It does have bluetooth connectivity and also gets stereo mounted audio/phone controls.
The instrument cluster is also all-new. There is a new digital display which shows you exactly which door is open. That display also houses the trip meter, range and an instantaneous fuel economy meter.
The only grouse we have is the interior quality. The hard plastics on the dashboard could certainly be improved, given that this is a premium offering from the company and is sold from Nexa outlets. Maruti has come up with body colour inserts on the door handle and the center console which look really cool. The center console insert has the same fin design that you get on the rear three quarter panel.
Space is something this car has abundance of. While it is only 3.7 meters long, it has a wheelbase of 2.43 meters which results in a lot of cabin space. Even with a tall driver up front, there is adequate knee and head room at the back. The Ignis is a tall car and this helps to improve room on the inside.
The glass area is also pretty big, which gives a sense of roominess. However, this is also a disadvantage in the summer as more gets more hot in the cabin. The AC, while not a climate control system does do a good job in keeping the cabin cool. People at the back have to be a little patient though, as there are no rear AC vents.
Maruti has a whole host of engine and transmission options on offer on the Ignis. You can have a manual and an AMT, on both the petrol and diesel version. We shall limit this review to the diesel AMT though. The diesel Ignis is powered by a 1.3 liter that produces 74 Bhp and 190 Nm. The AMT in question is a 5-speed box. Let me start with the initial impressions.
If you haven’t driven an AMT, you aren’t really going to like it initially. Like all AMTs, you do have to lift off to make sure the gearshift takes place and the whole process requires you to get used to it. But that’s where the disappointment ends though. Once you do spend a few days with the car, you understand the shift points and how the transmission functions and post that, you will enjoy the ease of driving.
If you are looking to drive it aggressively, then we would advise you to shift to the manual mode to extract the most out of the car. If you are in manual, you can rev a lot higher without worrying about the car up-shifting. But even when you are driving aggressively, you need to remember to lift off while you up-shift, so that you don’t feel the lag of the gear shifting.
Also, you need to pull backwards to up-shift and push ahead to downshift, something that takes a little getting used to. The diesel engine is very punchy, especially in the mid range. There is noticeable turbo lag below the 1700 rpm mark. But post that, you have enough power on tap. Keep it above the 2000 rpm mark and you will be rewarded with a car that is eager to lunge ahead with every opportunity.
Maruti has managed to keep the weight low on this car. The diesel Ignis weighs just under a tonne, between 940-960 kgs, depending upon the variant chosen. In auto mode, the shift from first to second takes place a little late, around 15-20 kmph, which takes a little getting used if you are the sort who shifts into second early. In first gear, the car does get a little jerky when you lift off or have to slow down.
This AMT has a creep function though, which allows the car to move forward without needing the accelerator. This is a huge boon in traffic.
Ride and handling
Regarding suspension setup, the Ignis is setup on the stiffer side. It does get bumpy over the rough stuff, especially at the back. But that keeps with the sporty theme of the car. The ride is still pliant, but not silky smooth like you have come to expect in a Maruti. One area where there could be some improvement is the steering feel.
Being a sporty hatch, this one is not as good as that on the Swift, which happens to be among the best handling Marutis in the country. Having said that, the Ignis feels extremely planted on the highway, even at triple digit speeds. One more thing that was very impressive is the fact that the cabin is very quiet at cruising speeds.
Maruti has done a great job of sound proofing the cabin from the outside world. The brakes, front discs and rear drums are adequate for the car. In terms of fuel economy, we didn’t do a tank to tank test, but we got more than 20 kmpl, based on the MFD reading. The Ignis has a small 32 liter tank, which means you have a range of over 600 kms if you drive gently.
The diesel AMT can be had in two variants, the Sigma and the Zeta. Prices: Sigma: Rs 6.94 lakhs , Zeta: Rs .Rs 7.46 lakhs
None, really. If you are on the lookout for a diesel automatic hatchback, there’s nothing similar at the price point at which the Ignis is sold.
Should you get one?
This is a tricky question to answer. The main reasons why you would choose the Ignis is down to its looks. Yes, Maruti has made a bold move by launching the Ignis. It is not your run of the mill hatchback that Maruti has been known to make. This is one that will appeal more to those who want a funky and cool vehicle. Yes, the diesel AMT has the added benefit of being frugal and convenient.
Currently, if you are in the lookout for a diesel automatic hatchback, well you don’t really have any other option. The Ignis is spacious, yet being compact, stylish and a good performer. Yes, it is a tad on the expensive side and we would have like it to be a little bit cheaper, but people do pay more to get stylish things, and we don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t here too.
The only downside to the AMT is the fact that you cannot have it on the top of the line trim, which means you do miss out on a few features, like the touch screen system and the LED headlamps with DRLs. These aren’t deal downers though.