Home / Reviews / First Drive / Maruti Suzuki Ignis First Drive Review – Finding Zen

 

Maruti Suzuki Ignis web 1

Maruti Suzuki bring in a ‘none-of-a-kind’ challenger to the bustling compact urban space. Does it have what it takes to set it apart? Or does it have a bit more than just style on its side?


Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar


I’ve only just put away my copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, having gone through a few pages on the flight to Chennai. Thought-provoking as the book is, what was piquing my interest was that Maruti Suzuki have launched a fourth car with the same choice of petrol and diesel engines, and the second one under their Nexa umbrella. This one brings back a popular name, and not just because it sold a lot. It also went rallying in the JWRC a decade ago. ‘Ignis’ means ‘fire’ in Latin, and that’s just what the company hopes it will do: set the segment on fire. A new Maruti Suzuki car — any new Maruti Suzuki car — sees success. How do they do it?

I’m not going to give you a history lesson, but I will tell you that the most influential Maruti Suzuki cars have been the venerable 800, the Zen, the Alto and the Swift. All small cars that did big things to people which, in turn, got the numbers that did even bigger things to Maruti Suzuki. The fact that they have half the market share over the rest — from Hyundai to Ferrari, combined — tells you all you need to know about their popularity. The Ignis, then, looks set to see success because of two things: it’s a smartly designed compact car aimed squarely at the millennials and their demands, including loads of customisation. It packs a lot of new equipment and features and, though called an urban compact vehicle, can handle the outdoor ups and downs as well. It feels youthful, well-thought-out, and, dare I say, akin to a modern-day Zen.

We were given the top-spec Alpha 1.2-litre petrol with manual transmission as well as the highest available auto diesel specification, the Zeta AMT. Both use five-speed gearboxes driving the front wheels and both are equally credible in their own right. Firstly, though, it’s the styling that stands out as very unique. While Maruti don’t have a family face set in stone, the Ignis takes it one level further, adding new elements and tweaking known proportions to play around with what is essentially a rectangular design. The chunky wheel-arch design and the 15-inch black alloy wheels with 175/65 rubber also contribute to the contemporary look. The rear quarter panel design accent is one such element, while the top-spec Alpha trim gets projector headlamps with LED light signatures. If light was a language, that spells out unique in bright white.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis web 2

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About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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