Johannesburg - Much like an unexpected splash of colour in an old black-and-white film, the Suzuki Ignis brings some much needed attitude and charm to the penny-pinching end of the car market and after living with one for the last six months, its sheen has not faded in our minds.

What really stands out for me is how it marries form and function.

Unlike many ‘charm’ cars, the Ignis is actually brilliantly packaged. It’s really small and light - tipping the scales at just 850kg - and yet it’s so big inside. There’s acres of rear legroom, so those in the back can really stretch out, but bear in mind that it is a narrow car so you might not want to shove three abreast and even in the front, larger occupants will end up rubbing elbows at times. The boot too, is big for the car’s size, although its 260 litre volume is only average for the class, but it met our needs just fine and the split folding rear seat function came in handy for larger loads.

As I mentioned, the Ignis is an automotive featherweight, and that means it doesn’t need a huge, powerful engine to chug it around.

Under its pert little clamshell shaped hood you’ll find Suzuki’s familiar normally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol unit, rated at 61kW and 113Nm. It’s a smooth-revving motor with decent low-down torque and it’s more than strong enough to tackle town life at a brisk pace. It cruises quite happily on the freeway too, although it’s not completely effortless as you will have to gear down a bit when tackling hills at altitude, and occasionally move over for faster vehicles, but overall performance is still impressive at the price point.

Did I tell you that it’s amazingly economical? We averaged 5.8 litres per 100km over the test period, and most of that was city driving. Enough said!

What’s more, the Ignis provides a reasonably comfortable ride and it’s easy to drive and park. There were two driving experience niggles however - the steering doesn’t self-centre sufficiently, so you constantly have to correct it upon exit, and the clutch felt a little spongy - but neither of those would be deal breakers for us. 

Ignatius is also packed with features, including some you don’t expect at this level like climate control and push-button start, but you do have to pay extra if you want a touchscreen.

At R196 900, it’s an enticing blend of funky SUV-inspired looks - inside and out nogal - as well as practicality, economy and all that pragmatic stuff.

Iggy, we gonna miss ya.

Drive360