Maruti launched their much awaited Ignis last week with stellar pricing that starts at Rs 4.59 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). It joins their Nexa fleet that’s currently populated by stablemates, the Baleno and S-Cross. Maruti has a lot resting on the Ignis. It’s trying to capitalise on the current demand for ‘SUV-ish’ looks by lending this freshly designed mass production model with butch style, great packaging, and also plugged it with their successful 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel motors, with AGS gearbox options on both.
Here’s what you should expect from Maruti’s latest offering..
To give you an idea of how the Ignis measures up, it is 150mm shorter on length than the Swift, is almost as wide and has a similar wheelbase too. While the ground clearance is 10mm more than the Swift, it also boasts of being 125kg lighter. While the Ignis is 65mm taller than the Swift, it is 25mm shorter than the Ritz. This five-seater compact tall-boy hatch looks funky with its chrome outlined wraparound LED headlamps, coloured roof-top, and its compressed bonnet.
The profile of the car highlights the use of 15-inch black alloys, flared wheel arches, a blacked out A-pillar, aggressively angled quarter-glass, and the old-school grilles on the C-pillar to get the unique design traits across. At the rear, the curved, edgy boot lid design and the blacked-out bumper section catches your attention. There’s no doubt that the Ignis stands out from a crowd.
At the front, there’s good visibility out of all the corners of the Ignis, and the ergonomics are spot-on too. The soft grain textured dashboard looks funky and has a dual tone that’s finished in black and light grey, with carbon fibre look-alike inserts around the vents. Quality levels are on par with what we have to come to expect of Maruti products. There’s lots of cubby space to store your valuables in the centre console and the door pads too.
While a tablet styled infotainment screen occupies a prominent portion of the centre console, a unique tubular shaped air-con control unit sits below it with the related buttons. Since the dash design is compact, it smartly liberates extra legroom, but on the flipside, it does tend to look incomplete. Furthermore, the large front seats are well cushioned, and along with good back and thigh support, offer a comfortable drive. There’s ample legroom and headroom here too.
Move over to the rear portion, and one will notice the slightly less amount of thigh support towards the doors. Nevertheless, the back rest angle is appropriate and there’s adequate headroom and legroom. Three adult passengers should be a tight fit, though. Also, visibility for rear seat passengers inspite of the angled quarter glass and thick C-pillar, is reasonable. The Ignis has a 260-litre boot enclosure that’s a bit hollow with a high boot lip, and has just about enough space for four medium-sized soft bags.
The Ignis is set to get the I-Create customisation option like on the Vitara Brezza, and is also available with varying paint schemes, contrasting roofs and cabin colour options. The top of the line Alpha version comes with features like LED projector headlamps with DRLs, reverse parking camera, climate control, start-stop push button, 15-inch alloys and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the Ignis.
The Ignis gets the tried and tested 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol engine that develops 83bhp at 6000rpm and 113Nm torque at 4200rpm, and the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel with 74bhp of power at 4000rpm and 190Nm of torque at 2000rpm. Both engines come mated with either a five-speed manual or an AGS gearbox.
We drove the petrol motor that’s extremely silent at idle and is refined overall. It gives out a sporty whine when the accelerator is enthusiastically floored and loves to be revved hard. Now, though the Ignis weighs 125kg less than the Swift with the same engine (on paper), in real world conditions it doesn’t feel as quick as it sounds. That said, it revs cleanly in a linear fashion all the way up to its 6,000rpm redline, and there’s enough traction from the motor even at lower rpms which eliminates constant downshifting.
The five-speed manual version comes with a gear lever that smoothly slots into gears and is effortless to use even in constant city driving. What helps its cause is the light clutch which makes the whole shifting process a lot easier. On the other hand, we found out that the AGS gearbox does tend to make the car a bit jerky when the throttle is generously fed. However, gentle pedal input is all that’s needed to eliminate this. It is the pick of the two if you’re going to be constantly driving at peak hours and prefer comfort over left leg/arm gymnastics.
Let’s talk about the ride and handling now. With the sporty looks of the Ignis, we expected it to drive the same way. However, this car weighs just 825kg. So, along with the bigger wheels and stiffer suspension setup, it translated into a low speed ride that’s quite choppy. Even on smooth roads there's a fair bit of up and down movement. It only gets slightly better as speeds increase but the car never feels settled. Maruti could have made the ride more pliant to aid the character of the Ignis. Also, one will hear the suspension working at road imperfections that you won’t even feel within the cabin.
Furthermore, the steering felt vague around the dead centre with a few turns from lock to lock. An indication of the arm work needed when a U-turn is required in tight situations. However, the tight 9.4m turning circle provides some relief. We mostly had straight roads on our drive and weren’t able to judge the handling, but there's decent grip from the tyres which also aids braking characteristics. The high ground clearance is a boon when you have to dodge rocks on those unplanned sections of non-tarmac road.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||83 @ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||113 @ 4200|
|Gears||five-speed manual/ AGS|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||32|
|Tyre size||175/65 R15|
|LED projector headlamps||Yes|
|Seven-inch Infotainment system in tablet style||Yes|
|Height adjustable seats||Yes|
|Push button Stop-Start||Yes|
|ABS, EBD and dual airbags as standard||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp)||83 @ 6000||81 @ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm)||113 @ 4200||114 @ 4000|
|Gears||five-speed manual/ AGS||five-speed manual/ four-auto|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||32||43|
|Tyre size||175/65 R15||165/65 R14|
Maruti’s latest entrant has what it takes to be another winner in the making, especially when you factor the price which ranges from Rs 4.59 lakh to Rs 7.80 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The Ignis has the looks to make heads turn and perfectly suits the personality of a young buyer. It could also be an ideal option for those on the lookout for something fresh in the hatchback segment. Besides, what’s the harm in trying out a quirky new Maruti which comes with a set of reliable and efficient powertrains that also offer an automatic gearbox on either? Looks like Maruti has pulled it off once again with the Ignis.
Pictures: Kapil Angane