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Suzuki Ignis SZ-T

I wouldn’t really call it a looker, but you have to give it to Suzuki – the Ignis definitely has a stand-out exterior. The front resembles an angry pitbull with big beady eyes and an aggressive stance, while three slashes on the bodywork fall behind the rear window slits to give the petite SUV a retro feel. Along with a flame-orange paintjob, the distinct design makes it difficult to lose the Ignis even in a busy Asda car park.

Inside, and one of the many pleasant surprises is the amount of space for both driver and passengers. At just 3.7 metres long and 1.66 metres wide, the Ignis should feel cramped but somehow a family of five can be seated comfortably. Or in my case, five burly Welsh blokes popping to watch the rugby, one of which was a bit bemused when sat in the back seat and faced with a strange device called a handle to wind down the window. He was quick to compliment the legroom, though pointed out the lack of boot space.

Attached to the centre of the dash is a 7-inch touchscreen that comes with a simple yet effective and easy-to-use sat nav, as well as DAB radio. You can also connect a smartphone to the screen via Bluetooth or a couple of useful USB inputs for hands-free phone calls and music streaming.

Most of the surfaces inside are made of plastic, which comes with the territory of a low price tag, but there’s a little bit of colour and feel thrown in with the door handles and the centre console. The two-tone effect of the dark upper and bright lower dash makes for a retro appearance, and pretty much sums up the Ignis – it’s quirky, fun and makes the most of what it has.

Another surprise that the SUV provides is the amount of tech you get for the money. While present in practically every new car out on the market, the touchscreen seems like a luxury that would normally only be afforded to far more expensive models. When reversing, it displays a view obtained by a rear-facing parking camera, allowing the driver to avoid prangers. A forward-facing camera is also used to monitor the road ahead. If it spots a vehicle or pedestrian, the driver will be alerted with both visual and audio warnings, and the brakes will automatically be applied if the driver doesn’t respond.

The Ignis has one more surprise up its sleeve, and it’s a biggie. I’ve had it for almost a week now, and the fuel economy counter is showing 57.6mpg. Most of this has been done in the city with stop-start traffic. Suzuki claims that the combined urban and rural driving fuel economy should be around 61.4mpg, so if you’re looking to save some pennies on petrol, the 1.2-litre engine sips away in a very reserved and efficient manner.

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