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Report Four

Like an excitable toddler rushing to splash about in a puddle, I couldn’t resist making a beeline for a layby full of muddy puddles. I’m not going to lie, it was a childish and impulsive act. But Suzuki’s Ignis made me do it. The car’s impish character has clearly become a bad influence. However, if anyone asks, I was testing the car’s all-wheel drive capabilities. Yes, that’s exactly what I was doing!

Of all the new Ignis models I’ve seen recently, none have sported the all-important ‘ALLGRIP’ badge. I guess those owners chose not to splurge on the flagship model or considered the extra grip a deal-breaker. If you’re going to just potter around town, then front-wheel drive will do the job just fine. But if you know you’ll be out in all weathers and regularly venture into the countryside where standing water, mud, fallen leaves, and even snow is the norm, then you’ll be mighty grateful for the Suzuki Ignis’ on demand all-wheel drive system.

As the description suggests, more power is pushed rearwards when needed, which means fuel economy doesn’t take a hit when there’s plenty of grip. And the good news is that it works well. I first tested it in snow; you can tell when the system kicks in but thankfully the response is super quick. It’s the same deal on muddy terrain, and it’s mighty reassuring to feel the car chugging its way through gloopy mud without wheelspin or fuss. While I’ve yet to try the car’s hill descent feature – the only big hills near me are covered in Tarmac – I suspect that it will be just as competent as the rest of the package. The potential, with the right tyres, to conquer seriously tricky ground is huge.

Yes, the Ignis is a niche choice when other less expensive faux off-roaders exist. And when its rivals are also bigger on the inside, you can be forgiven for thinking that sticking up for the really little guy is a thankless task. I’d counter that with the view that at least the Ignis possesses some character, and punches well above its weight. A long-distance motorway mile-muncher it is not, but to complain is to miss the point. It’s an automotive terrier that shines brightly on slippery country roads and also in the urban jungle.

If you restrict yourself to short journeys then you’ll notice, like I have, that the Ignis’ heated rear screen takes ages to do its thing. I can tolerate slow cars if they’re also fun, but if you’ve finished your journey before you can see out of the back window properly then it’s going to take a lot more than a cheeky exterior to turn my frown upside down on a cold and icy morning. Which is a shame, because the car’s heater is like a furnace. It will have the windscreen demisted in a flash and keep you warm on the coldest of days.

And I’m surprised I haven’t put a large hole in the car’s fuel economy, despite all the idling and waiting for it to defrost. Plus, it still returned a solid performance, even though I haven’t tired of triggering the hybrid system to give the engine that extra boost under enthusiastic acceleration. It’s shaping up to be a keeper.

Date arrived 26th October 2020
Mileage 3,540
Economy (WLTP combined) 51.9mpg
Economy (On test) 51.8mpg

What's Hot

There when you need it, but not a drag on fuel economy when you don’t, Allgrip is a welcome inclusion.

What's Not

The car’s slow to perform heated rear screen is at odds with its powerful heater and speedy windscreen demisting.

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