If you don’t want one already, the new Ignis has probably failed. Because the best thing about this new jacked-up crossover-cum-city-car box is the way it looks.
The bulldog nose that so desperately wants to be “grrr” aggressive but looks more like a frowning Pokemon, the Adidas stripes in the rear pillar that nod to the Seventies Whizzkid supermini’s rear engine-cooling vents, the bulbous My First Audi RS6 wheelarehes… this has to be the coolest piece of small-car design since the Up.
Then there’s the price: £10k for a basic one, and under £14k for a four-wheel-drive hybrid version. Part-time all-wheel drive (yeah, it’s after you, Fiat Panda Trekking) is a cheap option, as is a rudimentary hybrid booster that adds just 6.2kg in weight thanks to lithium-ion batteries and ups economy by 5mpg or so, officially. CO2, also drops below three digits to 97g/km, but there are several good reasons why you don’t want the hybrid.
First, cheap cars are best kept cheap. Second, it’s so subtle in operation as to be barely noticeable – you get no more performance, and on test we scored 50.4mpg, identical to the non-hybrid 1.2-litre. But worst is the ride – adding AWD and the related tweaks in suspension upsets the lofty Ignis’s behaviour from skittish to downright jarring.
It’s understandable this is a firm, jittery car – it’s got a short wheelbase, 180mm of ground clearance and giving it the shocks from Saul Goodman’s Caddy would quickly make it fall over at every roundabout. But it’s also extremely light – 810kg fora basic model (though all get DAB, Bluetooth, aircon and six airbags), and 855kg for the heartland mid-spec 1.2-litre, complete with laggy touchscreen (albeit Apple CarPlay ready) and anti-crash braking.
Sure, the doors are paper-thin and the trim’s so tinny it practically echoes inside, but it’s roomier than many a German family hatch, and hard-wearing. Basically, nothing’s bad enough to undo the goodwill of that price, and those looks.
1242cc, 4cyl, FWD, 88bhp, 89lb ft
60.1mpg, 106g/km CO2
0-62mph in 11.1secs, 103mph
Noisy, fidgety and spartan. but for sheer honesty and coolness-per-penny looks. this Ignis really does getunder your skin.