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Suzuki Ignis Review – You only live twice

Once again news that Idris Elba is next in line to play James Bond has surfaced. I’m not sure if it’s wishful thinking or if the Londoner does infact have chance to play the coveted role of the suave British Secret Agent (very probably the former) but his name alone got me thinking about the Suzuki Ignis and I wondered if there were any other connections to the 007 franchise, it seems there is and it’s quite a big one.

In the book version of ‘You only live twice’ Kissy Suzuki (don’t you just love Bond names) in a Japanese Pearl Diver that becomes involved with James Bond during his ‘fisherman period’ (Bond was struggling with amnesia following him killing Blofeld). Unbeknown to Bond, they had a child together (he was back being a superspy by then). Kissy unfortunately dies (natural causes) and James Suzuki reappears in ‘A blast from the past’ a short story by Raymond Benson. By the way, in the 1967 movie, Kissy appears as a Ninja and marries Bond in a mock wedding – could be why (like me) you never knew the rest.

In the automotive version, Suzuki is played by an Ignis. This retro-chic styled good looker has carved out its own new category – namely the Compact SUV. It stands a little taller than many compacts (1.6m height with 180mm ground clearance) which makes for a better ride height and easier to get in and out of, but at 3.7m x 1.66m it’s undoubtedly cute. There is an impy peskiness about its kerb presence, strong grille, with slightly accentuated wheel arches and a pronounced shoulder line that flairs up at the rear door windows. The retro styling I talk about leans toward the slats in the rear pillar, they are reminiscent of the SC100 from the 70’s, equally; a small vehicle with a jovial spirit.

This spirit continues inside, with a stylish (depending on your view of style) and roomy cabin. The materials are semi-no nonsense plastics but done in a way that it feels modern and trendy. There is a fair amount of textured white trim but you also have the ability to personalise it (I will get to this soon). Connectivity is done via a tablet sized touch screen that appears to be ‘added’ plus there are plenty of steering wheel controls. Cloth forms the basis of the furniture and is more welcoming for your derriere plus the rear seats can move should you require more legroom back there or more boot space – don’t you just love choices!

Just like the hero of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Ignis has a raft of Customisable accessories to play with. On the inside you can garnish the AC ducts and the centre console, add an armrest, pucker up the lip of the glovebox (well protect it at least), add door sills and colour the handles, even add a USB. While on the outside you can protect the bonnet and door handles, add colour to the grille and fog lights, decal the body work (including those rear slats) and why not slap on a rear spoiler while you’re at it.

I had the LTD Auto in Flame Orange Pearl. It has a 1.2litre Dualjet engine which is nippy enough for regular use and with a reported (get this) 4.9L/100k’s, certainly frugal with its fuel use. The CVT gearbox seems in keeping with the simplicity of the Ignis (but there is a manual version should you desire) , and there is a ‘sport’ button on the side of the gear stick that… well let’s just say that it’s not a sports car.

It does however, through both its size and steering lock, turn on a dime and thus great for evading villains (or just returning because you’ve missed your turn). On the subject of villains, you may want to rethink how you take them down, the Ignis has extra absorption in the bonnet and wiper area – maybe stick to the Walther PPK.

From a handling point of view, the Ignis is light enough to chuck around the road. The steering may seem slightly removed but it still responds well. The brake pedal felt a little soft but again being light means that the Ignis still pulls up quickly. It’s not the smoothest of rides either but I have no doubt that you’ll just see that this adds to the overall fun.

Just like the Suzuki Ignis, Bond movies are filled with action and adventure. Admittedly there was more humour in the older productions (Roger you were a legend) but the Ignis will put a smile on your face. It’s resourceful and adept at many tasks and excels at being a hit with the ladies. It’s light and nimble to drive and yet full of safety equipment should the going get tough.

Admittedly, most Bond cars are in the Supercar realm but the last time Suzuki featured alongside 007 was in 1967, so maybe the Ignis Elba in the next Bond movie ‘Blast from the Past’ is a possibility?

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