This little car manages to put our reservations to rest.
I walk to the car, head buried in my phone, hit unlock on the key fob and yank the rear door handle. It doesn’t open. I look up from my phone, confused; I’m sure I heard it unlock. I press it again and only then does the rear door unlock. “Well, that’s a pain. Why do I need to press it twice to unlock the rear door?” I think. Yes, it’s more secure, but it’s also annoying.
The other thing is the car’s size. I am just so used to driving a bigger SUV, this long-term Ignis is likely to be a bit different. I almost feel a little vulnerable at first in this tiny compact car. But as I drive it more, I am so grateful for the Ignis’ compact dimensions. Also, the peppy 1.2-litre spins up to speed easily and jumps to life whenever one demands, making it incredibly easy to drive in traffic. And then the smooth and easy-to-use gearbox and light clutch are making me like this car more and more.
The other thing that’s nice is the multimedia system. The fonts are large enough and it doesn’t have me lowering my reading glasses to read it; that is a biggie for me. Soon enough, I notice that even the dials in front of me are crisp and legible. My phone is connected via the USB cable and it rings incessantly on my way to work; I answer the calls via the buttons on the steering and it works seamlessly. Yes, the Ignis sure is notching up points very quickly in my books.
The only slight downside is, in crawling traffic, the engine hesitates and gets slightly jerky, and then tends to die on you if you don’t push the accelerator down soon enough. But I soon learn my way around it and then it’s all fine. The steering twirls lightly, allowing me to zip in and out of gaps in traffic, and I find myself reaching the office earlier than usual. Now, to find a parking spot for my big car near the office has never been easy and squeezing it into the stack parking requires surgical precision; it’s a pain when you are in a hurry to get to work. With the Ignis, however, it’s just so easy, thanks to the reversing camera and the car’s small size. Wow, I’m already sold on this little car – but that’s only until I get out and take a look at it.
With its black striped roof and large chunky C-pillar, the Ignis isn’t my idea of cool. The design of the front isn’t so bad, but I certainly don’t like the rear and those faux vents on the C-pillar. But how long do you actually spend looking at the car from the outside? Does it matter that much?
My phone rings again, and this time it’s a friend asking for car advice. She wants something that’s compact, easy, has all the necessary features and not too heavy on the wallet. The answer today is an obvious one. “Buy the Ignis,” I tell her. Who knows, I may even grow to appreciate its looks over time.
2017 Maruti Ignis long term review, first report