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Tokyo show: Suzuki unveils reborn Ignis

Ignis-ion: Suzuki's new Ignis will make its public debut at the Tokyo motor show, however its Australian future is yet to be determined.

Compact SUV could return to Suzuki Australia stable after a 10-year absence


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1 Oct 2015

SUZUKI has revealed a near-production-ready version of its Ignis crossover ahead of its Tokyo motor show debut where it will share the stage with a number of quirky new concepts.

As GoAuto reported, Suzuki has resurrected the Ignis moniker for the tiny crossover, that was originally teased as the iM-4 concept at the 2015 Geneva motor show.

Suzuki Australia general manger Andrew Moore said that while the model is yet to be confirmed, the car-maker's local arm is pushing for it to come to Australia.

The Ignis nameplate was first found in Australian showrooms for five years between 2000 and 2005 on a high-riding hatch that was also re-badged and sold as the first-generation Holden Cruze.

Images of the Ignis being tested in Germany recently found their way online, suggesting the version being shown at Tokyo is close to being ready for production, despite Suzuki calling it a concept.

The Ignis embodies Suzuki's future model direction, with the Japanese car-maker announcing recently that it will focus exclusively on smaller models and crossovers.

This is part of a large-scale model roll-out under its 'Suzuki Next 100' strategic plan that will see 20 new models launched by the end of the decade, starting with the recently uncovered Baleno light hatch and Vitara compact SUV.

The Ignis will become the entry level crossover in the Suzuki stable, sitting below the S-Cross and Vitara, and comparable in size to the rugged, yet ageing Jimny off-roader.

No details have yet been released on the drivetrains that will power the Ignis, however it is possible that it will share a number of engines with the Baleno.

New powertrains that are featured in the Baleno include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that produces 82kW and 170Nm, and a mild-hybrid system that pairs a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine with a small lithium-ion battery, marking Suzuki's debut in the hybrid market.

Exterior changes from the iM-4 to the Ignis have been minor, with the Ignis receiving a more reserved look compared with the concept.

The Ignis has softer edges, less dramatic headlights and tail-lights and it loses the small rear spoiler.

Inside, the design carries some of the themes of the new Vitara, with certain cabin panels matching the exterior colour, while the centre console gets a sizeable tablet-like touchscreen display and an uncluttered dash layout in an otherwise simple interior.

A more off-road orientated version of the Ignis, called the Ignis-Trail Concept, will also be revealed at Tokyo, reflecting Suzuki's desire to produce vehicles that are off-roaders in nature, not just name.

Continuing with the company's compact theme, Suzuki will also reveal a new concept known as the Mighty Deck, a canvas-topped “urban/outdoor” lifted hatch, the name of which suggests an homage to the Mighty Boy, the cult crossover ute that was produced by Suzuki in the 1980's.

The fourth concept that will be shown at Tokyo is the Air Triser, a compact three-row minivan with seats that can be configured in a number of ways, including making the back two rows face each other, or turning it all into one big U-shaped sofa.

Despite the high chances of the Ignis being made available in Australia, it is unlikely at this stage that any other Suzuki concepts will be produced for the Australian market.

The new model roll-out began last month with the release of the reborn Vitara, which aims to carve a slice out of the lucrative compact-SUV market, currently dominated by strong sellers such as the Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V.

While it has not been confirmed, it is likely that the next Suzuki model to roll out will be the Baleno, which was revealed at this year's Frankfurt motor show.

“We've told the factory we want it,” Mr. Moore told GoAuto at the Vitara media launch. “We have so many customers that love Swift but want something a bit bigger. We have got so many satisfied Suzuki customers, and we retain about 20 per cent of Swift customers into another Swift, but we struggle to retain them into anything else because there hasn’t been the right step up.

“I think a lot of young girls becoming young mums will move into Vitaras and things like that, but Baleno is another opportunity again. For me it would be great to have here. Fingers crossed.”

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