Suzuki unveiled two concept cars at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the 2015 Suzuki IK-2 and the 2015 Suzuki IM-4, which previewed a subcompact hatchback and a mini crossover, respectively. While the IK-2 has already made its debut in production form as the 2016 Suzuki Baleno, the IM-4 is still under development, albeit in its final stages, as an official debut has been announced for the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show in October.

Confirmed to hit the market with an Ignis badge, the new crossover if part of Suzuki’s new expansion plan to include six models by the end of the decade. Originally believed to have been developed to replace the aging Jimny, the Ignis will have its own place in the Suzuki lineup, as the Jimny is slated to hang around until 2018, when it will be replaced by a redesigned model.

Granted, the Jimny and the Ignis are very similar in size, but it’s not surprising that Suzuki will sell them at the same time. After all, the new Baleno is only slightly bigger than the Swift, with the two basically competing in the same niche. From the looks of things, the Ignis has set its sight on the 2013 Fiat Panda 4x4, also a competitor for the Jimny.

Updated 09/30/2015: Suzuki announced its new compact car will be in fact called "Ignis" and it will be unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Suzuki IM-4.

Exterior

2016 Suzuki Ignis
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2016 Suzuki Ignis
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2016 Suzuki Ignis
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As I suspected when I first laid eyes on the camouflaged prototype, the production version remained true to the IM-4 concept. It features the same boxy design devoid of any fancy styling cues, and while it’s significantly more modern than the Jimny, it looks more like a Kei car than the type of mini-SUV Europeans are accustomed to.

Much like the Baleno is compared to the IK-2 concept, the production crossover is a toned-down interpretation of the IM-4.

Much like the Baleno is compared to the IK-2 concept, the production crossover is a toned-down interpretation of the IM-4.

The foglamps in the front bumper have nothing to do with the IM-4’s futuristic units, while the side mirrors are very production-friendly. The wheels are as mundane as they get. It also received simpler headlamps (albeit equipped with LED technology), but the grille is identical to the concept’s, surrounding the headlamps as it extends toward the fenders.

Things are a bit more different around back though. The production model has a simpler bumper, with vertical lights (instead of long, horizontal units), reshaped, slightly larger taillights, and a significantly bigger license plate recess. The roof spoiler seen on the concept car is missing, which is a real shame as it would’ve make the Ignis look a tad sportier. And we know how drivers love sporty elements on just about any type of vehicle nowadays.

All told, the Ignis is far from fancy when compared to the concept car that preceded it, but it’s definitely a bit more exotic than the mundane, and somewhat disappointing, Baleno. Suzuki has rolled out a lot of good-looking concept cars recently, but its production models have been less than impressive, and that doesn’t change with the Ignis.

Interior

2016 Suzuki Ignis
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Despite being a concept car, the IM-4 had a spartan interior, with a simple dashboard design, rudimentary door panels, a traditional instrument cluster, and no infotainment system. That didn’t change much in the Ignis, which received a mildly modified dashboard and the type of basic center stack you’d find in a cheap vehicle. Granted, the instrument cluster seems more modern and the door panels and center console look better with the orange inserts, but the overall layout is anything but impressive. It’s not surprising though, as the Ignis will be one the most affordable crossovers sold in Europe. The initial photos also show a touchscreen infotainment system on the dashboard, but the feature is likely to come standard only on higher spec models.

Drivetrain

Because it shares its platform with the Baleno, the crossover will most likely employ the same drivetrains as the hatchback. The lineup will include an updated version of Suzuki’s familiar 1.2-liter Dualijet unit and a newly developed, 1.0-liter three-cylinder using forced induction.

The lineup will include an updated version of Suzuki's already familiar 1.2-liter Dualijet unit and a newly developed, 1.0-liter three-cylinder using forced induction.

Specs will also likely me similar, so expect the 1.2-liter four-pot to send 89 horsepower and 89 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. As preview with the IM-4 concept, the crossover will also get an SHVS version, which adds an integrated starter-generator to the 1.2-liter engine, helping it move away from a standstill. The starter-generator is supposed to give the hatchback a smoother restart in stop-start situations and reduce emissions by nearly 10 percent.

Moving over to the turbocharged, 1.0-liter, three-cylinder unit, it is dubbed Boosterjet and cranks out 110 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Performance figures aren’t yet available.

All models should feature a five-speed manual transmission as standard, a CVT option for the Dualijet, and a six-speed automatic option for the Boosterjet. Four-wheel drive will also be available as an option.

Prices

It’s way too early to talk about prices, but I expect the IM-4 to become the most affordable crossover in Suzuki’s lineup. With the Jimny priced from £12,499 (around $19,050), this new crossover could retail from around £11,000 (about $16,750).

Competition

2013 Fiat Panda 4x4

2013 Fiat Panda 4x4 Exterior Spyshots
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Introduced at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the Panda 4x4 uses the same styling cues as the regular model, but rides higher and features crossover-like bumpers with extra cladding, wheel-arch extensions, and a full-time AWD system consisting of two open differentials front and rear, and rear-mounted, electronically controlled coupling. Power comes from a turbocharged, 0.9-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 85 horsepower and 145 Nm (107 pound-feet) of torque or a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder, diesel mill generating 75 horses and 190 Nm (140 pound-feet) of twist. Pricing starts from ₤14,575 (about $22,200).

You can read more about it here.

2015 Ford EcoSport S

2015 Ford EcoSport S High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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One of Ford’s best-selling models in South America, the EcoSport is also available in Europe, where it is offered with a choice of three engines. There’s the 1.5-liter Duratec with 110 horsepower and the 1.0-liter EcoBoost with 123 horses, both mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The third option is a 1.5-liter turbodiesel that cranks out 94 horses. Slightly better equipped than the Panda, the Ecosport retails from £14,245 (about $21,700). The range-topping Titanium version costs £16,445 (around $25,060) before options.

You can read more about the EcoSport S here.

Suzuki Jimny

2016 Suzuki Ignis
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Around since 1998, the third-generation Jimny is definitely too long in the tooth, but the mini-SUV continues to be popular with Suzuki enthusiasts. Despite being painfully slow and not having too much room for passengers behind the front seats, the Jimny is quite the capable off-roader, which is why many shoppers aren’t likely to replace it with the new IM-4. Motivation comes from a 1.3-liter four-banger rated at 85 horsepower and 110 Nm (81 pound-feet) of torque, mated to either a manual or an automatic. Pricing starts from £12,499 (around $19,050).

Conclusion

2016 Suzuki Ignis High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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While Suzuki is doing the right thing by expanding toward new segments, I’m not sure how the Ignis will help the company gain more market share in Europe. With larger but still affordable crossovers out there, including the Dacia Duster, it doesn’t look as if the production version of the IM-4 will make a significant impact. Sure, it will be significantly more affordable than the Panda 4x4 and the EcoSport, but it takes more than that to deliver a successful product.

  • Leave it
    • Boxy, not-so-attractive design
    • Forget about the concept’s fancier features
    • Underpowered four-cylinder engine

Press Release

The IGNIS shows how a compact car can straddle the boundary between daily life and leisure. A high eye point and plenty of road clearance ensure day-to-day convenience. They also allow confident driving on snowy roads and rough tracks, so weekends become a chance to enjoy the great outdoors.
A compact, visually striking body and a simple, highly practical interior design highlight the IGNIS’s credentials in the compact-crossover genre.

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