The Ignis's ability to defy categorisation seems to have done it more harm than good. It's not quite a supermini, not quite a mini-MPV and not quite a 4x4, yet bears identifying characteristics with all of these. It's very difficult to identify specific market rivals because there isn't anything else quite like it and sales figures appear to suggest there's a reason for that.
Available in three and five-door versions and with manual or automatic transmissions for the same 1.3 litre less than fiery petrol engine since 2000, the Ignis is in many ways a great city runaround, but UK buyers don't seem to have realised that. In 2003 Suzuki attempted to perk up sales with the introduction of a much needed 1.5 litre Sport variant, as well as refreshments for the original version, resulting in a slightly bigger and definitely better Ignis all round. The line-up was also boosted by the addition of a four-wheel drive variant to the 1.5 litre option, the 4GRIP.
However, there's little point flogging a dead or barely moving horse, so in 2008 Suzuki dumped the Ignis with a valuable lesson learned.
Bang for your buck
The used Suzuki Ignis for sale is a more interesting car than its sales history (or lack thereof) would suggest. The chunky styling and off-road style high ground clearance in a compact, supermini package is unusual but not unattractive. The height makes it very practical for driving around town, commanding a good view all around and making loading easier, either of infant passengers or shopping.
That said, the inside is tiny. For the two upfront there's no problem, with specially sprung, very comfortable seating, but the rear is a different story. Admittedly two rear passengers are comfortable enough and benefit from reclining seats but once they're in, nothing else will be, as there is precious little boot space available. Fold the rear seats down and you'll fit your shopping in but of course the Ignis then becomes a much less practical two-seater. On the plus side, the resulting loading bay is almost flat and helpfully not obstructed by a lip where the tailgate closes, so heavy items can be slide rather than humped in and out.
Post 2003 revisions didn't exactly solve the luggage space problem but did make excellent use of any other remaining space, with useful stowaway features all over the place- under the front seat, under the dashboard, in the door cards and every other possible space has been well used.
Roof rails, remote control central locking with deadlocks, an immobiliser and a VIN plate visible from the outside are all standard, while the Sport edition gained a racy body kit, Recaro seats, metallic pedals, blue illuminated instrument dials with a white background and carbon effect trim panels on the cosmetic side, plus more practical upgrades to the exhaust, suspension, gear box and some useful extra horses.
What you'll pay
A used Suzuki Ignis is very affordable, with prices starting under £2,000. Five-door versions are marginally more expensive than three-door and the same goes for automatic versus manual.
What to check
Suzuki is well-known for reliability and the Ignis doesn't appear to have let the side down. A cynic would point out that this may be because not enough have been sold for any major fault to become obvious but there's no point tilting at windmills so base your investigations around the usual sort of parking damage you can expect from urban runabouts. As a popular first car for learners and new drivers, minor accident damage is pretty common too.
Budget £165 for a clutch assembly, £40 for front pads and £30 for rear, £195 for a starter motor, £300 for a radiator and, strangely, an enormous and incongruous £450 for an alternator.
How it drives
If you do a lot of miles on the motorway you'll want to avoid the Ignis. However, if your mileage is predominantly in urban areas, you may be onto a winner. While the 1.3 litre engine is rather feeble, low gearing and a low kerb weight make the Ignis nippy enough around town. Furthermore, that little engine is well engineered enough that keeping up with city traffic is not made particularly hard work.
Fuel economy figures are also very attractive while that high ground clearance may seem out of place on a city car at first look, it does make light work of clearing speed bumps or roadwork afflicted bumpy ground.