Everyone in the room seemed to have raised their hands. In this room full of digital journalists how could I be the only one born before 1981? I hadn’t realised but I was surrounded by them - the Millennials. But Maruti had seen this tide coming and got busy trying to understand their tastes, preferences, expectations, financial abilities and priorities. Now, they are ready to say hello, with this, the Ignis. How does this funky crossover intend to bring this distant and willful generation into the automotive fold? A chance to touch and feel the Ignis gave us a taste of its persuasive nature.
Design Drives it
Distinctive. Robust. Head turning. Smile inducing. All, in one go. The Ignis makes quite a statement. Despite being just around 3700mm in length, 20mm more than a Kwid, it doesn’t feel small. The square-jawed look and its upright front make it look un-hatch like. There’s a brashness in the way the 15” wheels pop out at the sides from under the flared wheel arches, making the Ignis even more likeable. The face is characterised by a single-frame grille that envelopes the LED DRLS and segment-first LED projector lamps too. Down below, the geometric shape of the air dams increases the sense of tallness and adds to the quirkiness of the design.
The 15” wheels will be standard on the Ignis and the top-end variants’ black wheels give it a dash of sportiness. The stubby and high rear gives it a tough look, but might not suit everyone’s taste. The blacked-out section of the rear bumper means you won’t be bothered about collecting scratches while reversing out of tight spots.
The Ignis has a tough side. Just consider, it has a solid 180mm of ground clearance; and, with wheels pushed to the very extreme of its near-3700mm length, overhangs are nice and short. This will help on severely broken roads and will also give the Ignis a confident stance. One complaint about the design is that from the rear three-quarters, it might seem a bit too angular and retro to some.
Discerning from the time they step into the showroom till the time they get inside the car, it’s no surprise that the Alto 800, a first car for many Indians, doesn’t make the cut for these guys. The techie and tough feel continues on the inside of the Ignis. It feels, almost as though, the cabin was constructed in a modular fashion, with parts being plugged in without fussing about them. The 7” touchscreen system hangs off the thin band that is the dashboard. Under the dash, sits the automatic climate control system and the push-pull switches, which feel very cool.
The top-spec version of the Ignis, shown at the preview, was dressed in contrasting hues of black and ivory. However, the white plastics on the door pad looked a bit out of place and are likely to get dirty easily. The build quality is solid and so are the plastics. Things are made lively by the grab bar-like door handles, which can also be colour-coded. Moreover, there are faux carbon-fibre surrounds for the rotary air-con vents. Sophisticated and premium, the new steering wheel stands out and the controls feel well damped too.
In terms of space, the Ignis is a surprise. There is ample knee-room and headroom to seat taller passengers in both rows. Seating three medium-sized passengers is a slight squeeze, although getting in will be easy as the doors open nice and wide. Getting luggage into the boot will require just a tad bit of an effort as the loading lip is a bit high, but the Ignis’ 267-litre storage bay is well shaped to accommodate suitcases for a weekend getaway.
Gutsy & Cautious
While the specs aren’t out yet, it is confirmed that the Ignis will be offered with a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel engine and an AMT automatic transmission will also be available with both engines. The lightweight fifth-generation platform will help ensure that efficiency is good too. Focus is also on safety here with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and ISOFIX seat mounts offered as standard. The Ignis is also prepared to meet upcoming crash test norms for side, rear, offset impact and pedestrian safety regulations. The top-spec version of the Ignis that we saw had rear parking sensors, adjustable seat height for the driver, keyless entry and a push-to-start button. The infotainment system will be compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Bring it on!
Bookings for the Ignis will open in January on the Nexa website. It will also be retailed through the Nexa network in order to deliver a richer purchase experience. The Ignis will rival Mahindra’s KUV 100 and is expected to be priced aggressively. The starting price could slot in under the Swift and above the Wagon R, which brings it in the region of Rs 4.25 – 4.5 lakh. Because of its practicality and quirkiness, the Ignis is an endearing product and we expect this Maruti Suzuki to be a hit with a larger audience than just the millennials.
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