Suzuki Ignis: ignites solidity

It won South African’s hearts.

That’s the Suzuki Ignis, a tiny but endearing crossover vehicle, with a slightly higher seating position that many motorists crave for.

Reformed front and rear bumpers acquire an aluminium-look plastic skid plate to give more of an SUV vibe to the little car. The more comprehensively-equipped GLX has heightened swagger with LED daytime running lights, roof rails and piano-black alloy wheels inside pumped-out wheel arches.

We took the Ignis 5-speed manual for a weekend (sho’t-left) drive to the celestial Ngedi Farm and Bush Camp in Groot-Marico, North West province. Yes, NW has astounding tourist destinations, and the sooner responsible marketing agencies or department mandated to promote tourism in that province -do their work- the better!

Ask Ignis- as it paced through Jozi, Rustenburg and ‘waala’ Zeerust in 2hours as opposed to 3. No, I did not beat any robots, toll-gates or speed limits as it went 120km/h on this fun-to-drive 1.2l front-wheel drive car available in basic GL and up-specced GLX versions.

It is fitted with Suzuki’s K12M 1.2-litre petrol engine with variable valve timing and multi-point fuel injection, delivering 61kW at 6000 rpm and 113Nm at 4200 rpm. Teamed with its lithe little body of only 860 kg, it is a recipe for swift progress.

It is powered with 61kW and torque stands at 113Nm.

Ignis straddles the road higher than the average hatch, which makes for a slightly elevated seating position and also gives the car a potential advantage on bumpy roads. Though this front-wheel drive car’s not necessarily intended as a gravel-muncher it has a fairly bump-soaking ride on dirt, assisted by high-profile tyres.

Tiny but versatile on both on and offroad, it comes with additional niceties such as a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The touchscreen doubles as a reverse camera monitor, and the hitlist also includes push-button start and automatic climate control, so were basic features such as electric windows, aircon, central locking and a sound system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

So, with that part of the world being synonymous with heatwave, we did not feel a thing-thanks to the climate control system.

It is impressively roomy and a quartet of six-foot adults can fit without squished knees, but the car’s quite narrow and passengers will be prone to rubbing elbows, if not their noses, especially on longer roads like we did. Another turn-off steering doesn’t self-centre very well.

The boot is way too small (260-469-947 litre) as well as a result we decided to take small luggage, and fortunately it was only three of us, so space was galore but limited. Get my point?

 It took a breather of being up the hills and Mountains as it passed through the Groot Marico river at the farm, seamless.

Loved the interior styling, so did my friends. It has some panache with a dual-tone dashboard, and door handles colour coded to the body. The dashboard doesn’t have the more premium-looking soft-touch covering but it’s nicely textured. The cloth seats have a vibrant pattern, and the aircon toggle switches have a nice solid feel.

For a lightweight car it feels fairly solid and rattle-free, and doesn’t come across as cheap and tinny. It’s a pleasant little car that punches somewhat above the budget-car division.

Another turn-off is the steering that doesn’t self-centre very well.

Talk of weight- I felt that often especially when trucks made a pass.

But guess what it gave a white German made a run for its money. If the owner of that BMW is reading this piece, get in touch- shall show you how its DONE…

 Aha, Ga-Rankuwa in Pretoria was our last stop before heading back home Jozi, to wrap up the weekend that was in the company of Suzuki Ignis.  

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Two years/30,000km

It retails for R216,900


Performance 1-10 (4)

Petrol 1-10 (5)

Ngedi Bush Camp: is in the heart of the Groot Marico district on the banks of the Groot Marico River. This malaria free 300ha farmland offers one of the last natural forests and boasts activities such as fishing, canoeing, swimming and bird watching.

Bicycles are welcome as cycling and hiking can be enjoyed on paths along the river, in the forest and surrounding mountains.

It is about 9km’s from the urban town Groot Marico and approximately 2 ½ hour’s drive from Gauteng on the Platinum Highway (N4). This is an ideal weekend getaway!

Images SLM (Suzuki Ignis- tiny but fairly solid- taking a ‘breather’ at the Groot Marico as it passes through the river at the Ngedi Farm and Bush Camp, NW).

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