Funky. That's the word I'd use to describe the Maruti Suzuki Ignis' design. Fresh, but also very funky. And funky is good! It sticks out of the hoard of conventional hatchbacks. I'm glad Suzuki's design approach, unlike most other manufacturers, isn't to make every car in the stable look like one another. It's really working in its favour. But I'll have to admit, I don't know what to call this one. A crossover-ish, hatchback, mini SUV? Maruti is calling it a premium urban compact, whatever that is. The Maruti Suzuki Ignis will be offered with engines that we in India are all too familiar with, the 83PS/113Nm 1.2-litre petrol, and the 75PS/190Nm 1.3-litre turbodiesel Multijet. Both come with a 5-speed manual and AMT options. After I had driven the diesel Swift Dzire with an AMT, I had higher hopes for the diesel Ignis than the petrol. The Ignis' suspension setup is a bit on the firmer side. Small potholes and undulations are absorbed well, but the sharper ones will result in a few thuds. If you don't slow down over the larger ruts, the slightly taut damping can get a bit uncomfortable like in the Baleno. But as a result of this, handling is not bad at all. In terms of safety, the Ignis comes with ABS, dual front airbags and ISOFIX seat anchorages as standard features across the range. So full points to Maruti for that! However, it does miss out on a bunch of safety features offered in the Euro-spec car like four more airbags and the dual camera brake support system. This system uses two cameras to detect objects in front of the car and applies the brake automatically in case of an emergency. The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside the car was how good all-round visibility was. This is thanks to the high A-pillar, the large windows and the well designed rear window. The next thing I noticed was that Maruti Suzuki has finally used a new steering wheel! This one looks a lot sportier and far cooler than the plain overused wheel seen in almost every car in Maruti's current lineup. I really like the Ignis. It's one of the few cars in the affordable segment that has character. It's a fun little car in every way, and there hasn't been a car so far in the sub-10 lakh price range that's put a mischievous smile on my face the way this one did. In fact, it's one of the few cars in this price bracket that I really, really want to own. Then, of course, the price comes in, and I'm forced to sink back in my seat. The top-spec petrol variant with a manual transmission, which is the one I'd buy, costs Rs 6.69 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. It's quite steep especially when you consider that the top-spec Baleno petrol costs just Rs 50,000 more and offers the same amount of kit and also more room. It's a similar story with the top-end diesel variant as well, which costs Rs 7.80 lakh. The petrol Zeta variant with the AMT costs around Rs 40,000 less than the top-spec manual. And it's only in this respect that the Ignis makes more sense, as the Baleno CVT costs around Rs 1,30,000 more. But if you're willing to make a compromise on creature comforts like climate control and a touchscreen infotainment system for the fun of a manual gearbox, the petrol Zeta variant, which costs Rs 5.75 lakh, is something I'd recommend. It's still a bit expensive, but like I said, we're a generation that won't hesitate to spend a fair amount of money if we like what we see. And I like it!
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