Maruti launched the Ignis in India a few days ago. The car is targeted at youngsters, looking for something that’s very funky, something that is affordable yet unique, and something that easily connects to their smartphones. Meanwhile, we spent some time with the Maruti’s latest in Chennai. Here is all you need to know about the car before you go and buy it.
Not just a city car
The Ignis may look small in size, but the car is a good mile muncher. The Ignis can take on the highways very well. Even at speed above 100 km/h, the hatchback stays planted on the road. The diesel engine with both AMT and manual version only remains calm and does 100 Kph at 2,250 rpm .
The steering gives good feedback, and the car does not feel like a small vehicle on the highway. Maruti has developed new tyres for the 15-inch alloy wheels, and there is no road noise too. The only issue that arises at high speed is the wind noise but it’s not a Rolls Royce we’re talking about.
But city driving can be challenging at times
The suspension set-up of the Ignis is very stiff. This improves handling tremendously. Even with the tall boy design, there is almost zero body roll in the Ignis. On the flip side, the ride quality be a bit rough at times. Even the small speed bumps have to be negotiated carefully. Since the car is targeted at the millennials, handling has been given preference over comfort.
At the lower city speeds, the steering of the Ignis Diesel also stays bit heavy. This can be cumbersome for people who will use the car daily through heavy-traffic areas. The heavy steering makes sure that the car stays planted even at high-speeds. On the petrol though, things are different. The steering is much lighter, and is quite comfortable for city driving.
Smartphone friendly ecosystem
The Ignis is the first car from Maruti to get both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrated into the system. The tablet like infotainment system on the top-end variant of the vehicle lets you connect to your smartphone easily. The Android Auto system allows you to access the Google Maps, voice commands and phone notifications on the infotainment with ease.
You can also dial people without touching a single button. The Ignis becomes the cheapest car in India with the Android Auto in the market, and it will keep the tech-savvy millennials pretty happy. The top-end version also gets a good set of speakers with tweeters. The bass friendly speakers are excellent. Also, the infotainment screen doubles up as a display for a reverse camera, and has very high resolution and good night time visibility.
Go anywhere but with caution
The 180mm ground clearance of the vehicle is highest in the segment. Combined with 15-inch black alloy wheels on the top-end, the Ignis navigates through rough terrain without getting kissed by the surface. But the car does not get AllGrip, the 4WD system which is available with the Ignis in the international markets, the Ignis has a lot of potential to reach the extreme points but only with a lot of caution.
Attracts a lot of eyeballs
The design of the Ignis is inspired from the Kei cars that are still very popular in the Japanese Domestic Market . The unorthodox design blended with modern features like LED projector headlamps with DRLs make sure that Ignis does not goes unnoticed. The Ignis will make sure that you get noticed on the road without fail.
Petrol AMT a lot smoother than the diesel AMT
The 1.2-litre petrol AMT gets different ratios than the manual petrol model. The petrol version of the vehicle is a lot smoother, peppier and fun to drive around. The petrol AMT, in fact, can be termed as a better city car than the diesel AMT in every way. If your daily driving involves a lot of city driving, this is the variant to choose over diesel AMT.
But AMT has a downside…
There is no doubt that the AMT gearbox makes life very much easier in city traffic. However, there is one very annoying characteristic of the AMT that you will have to deal with. Both petrol and diesel AMT models come with the creep function that allows you to creep forward during heavy traffic situations.
You just have to lift the foot off the brake pedal, and the car moves forward. The annoying part is the creep function makes the car jump forward suddenly. It is a big jerk that all the passengers will feel while stuck in traffic. This may take a little time to get used to in the city traffic.
Lots of cubby holes
The Ignis gets five bottle holders, one each on all the four doors and one in between the driver and passenger seat. There are deep pockets on the front doors too. Apart from that, the space between the driver and co-driver seat gets a lot of cubby holes, that is very useful for keeping small stuff and phones of the occupants. The glove box is a big one with a partition in between that creates more space in the compartment. Good job, Maruti.
Cost cutting shows
Even though Maruti allows a lot of customization options on all the variants of the car, the quality of the plastic used even in the top end variant of the car is less than satisfactory. The plastic used on the door panel, dashboard and the pillars don’t feel premium to touch. The steering column remains exposed, as well as the underside of the body.
While the eyes do not go to these places, a little more attention to detail would have made the car much more complete.
On the other hand, the quality of the buttons used in the car is fantastic. The aeroplane cockpit styled buttons on the top-end variant feel beautiful and give a premium touch to the vehicle. The headlamp and wiper stock have a nice feel.
Rear passengers, no view
The Ignis is only 3.7 metres long. It makes the car look small, but space is quite enough to fit four adults properly in the car. There is a lot of headroom for front and rear passengers. The rear passengers also get a good amount of knee room. The view from the driver’s seat is unrestricted, and the visibility is superb.
The downside of the rear seats are the thick C-Pillars. The thick pillars make the visibility very restricted that may make the passengers feel bit claustrophobic while travelling over a long distance. If the rear seats are to be used more than often, you should check out the comfort from the rear row first before considering to buy.
What we like!
The unusual design, the infotainment system with Android Auto, first in class LED headlamps with projectors, DRLs, handling and the peppy engines.
What could have been better?
Plastic quality used, diesel AMT, price, wind noise and heavy steering weight in the city.