Snapshot: Maruti Suzuki wants to expand its consumer base with the stylish and brash looking Ignis.
Maruti Suzuki isn’t content by being India’s largest carmaker. The company wants to expand its base and consolidate its position. The Ignis with its love it or hate it styling, funky cabin design and loads of attitude is aimed squarely at millennials, or anyone who considers himself young at heart. So how different is it from the current hatchback offerings from the same company? Let’s find out here.
The big and boxy shape on the outside is sure to divide opinion. The front end is dominated by the large rectangular lamps, which have LEDs running around them. The funky grille and protruding wheel arches are aimed to give it muscle and a micro-SUV look. The side profile with its upright stance looks athletic.
You get indents in the rear doors and an ‘Adidas’ style logo in the last metal panel to jazz up the sides. The rear with its big boxy lamps is a throwback to the late 1980’s. Overall, the tall height of this car along with the short overhangs gives it plenty of attitude. You won’t mistake the Ignis for anything else on the road out there.
Just like the exterior, the interior too is a love it or hate it affair. Maruti has used a combination of off-white and grey on the dashboard as well as the door panels. There is also a generous dose of colour in the form of inserts on the door handles as well as centre console tray area. The seats are the best in the business and just as comfy as the ones on the Swift and Baleno. The plastic quality is decent inside the cabin but could be better. Top-end versions come with fancy touch screens for the infotainment system as well as toggle switches for the aircon. The lower versions come with circular knobs and the usual stereo.
The square shaped AC vents in the centre are very retro and cool to look at. The power window buttons are shared with the other cars in the Maruti range. Step inside and you will be pleasantly surprised to notice that there is plenty of room on offer. Headroom is good even for tall passengers and the seats offer good support as well. The boot is large enough to accommodate your weekend luggage for a short out of town trip.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Ignis comes with the same set of diesel and petrol engines that do duty on the Baleno and Swift. The 1.2-litre petrol makes 82bhp while the 1.3-litre diesel makes 74bhp of power. Both come with five speed manual gearboxes and AMT-auto gearboxes. This is the first time Maruti is offering an AMT on a car with a bigger that 1-litre engine. The AMT feels much better than before. There is a bit of lag in gear shifts, typical of any AMT but the jerkiness of the Celerio and Alto AMT is gone.
The manual petrol though is the pick of the range. The engine is super refined, loves to rev and even when revved doesn’t seem to disturb those inside. The manual gearbox is a joy to operate with its short, crisp throws and very sporty feel. Performance is more than adequate and assures to put a smile on your face.
The diesel engine suffers from lots of turbo lag. Once past the 2,000 rpm mark it gets going and has good power all the way to 4,000rpm. That said, its now starting to show its age and becomes visibly audible when revving hard. The AMT-on the diesel engine suffers from jerkiness though and doesn’t shift fast enough when you want to overtake slow moving cars quickly.
Ride and handling
Maruti Suzuki are the masters when it comes to ride and handling and it’s no different with the Ignis. The steering wheel is light enough around town but not so much so that you start feeling nervous on the highway. Stability is very good on the highway, especially when you consider the cars compact wheelbase. The suspension works well in the city as well and negotiates most bad roads with ease.
The Ignis has the cool quotient of a Mini Cooper, the driving dynamics of the Baleno and will cost you as much as the Swift. Add the roomy cabin, large boot and Maruti’s trusty aftersales network and it’s easy to see why this has the potential to be the next big hit.