Tata Tigor owner adds a Maruti Ignis to his garage: 6 pros & 5 cons
So far the car has always managed to do a tankful to tankful in the range of 15-17kmpl in city traffic with AC on all the time.
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Having a Tigor XZA AMT 2017 in the garage (Review here (First one on Team-BHP: Tata Tigor XZA (AMT))), we started hunt for a second car early this year due to requirement of a second car at home.
- Car should have small footprint and nimble to handle within city.
- Petrol MT only, since we already have an AMT to give rest to left foot, and to add that “engagment” while driving which can’t be matched by any AT.
- Car should be preferably 4 cylinder engined, since I do not want to have another 3 cylinder (even turbo charged) car in the garage. No 3 cylinder engine can match the smoothness of a 4 cylinder unit, period.
- The car should have factory fitted Android Auto/Apple Carplay touchscreen infotainment unit. I really do not like getting aftermarket Touchscreen ICE retrofitted. Suffered a lot in the Tigor, even though the SQ is fantastic from the stock harman non-touch screen system, the lack of Apple carplay means I need to connect mobile to car holders for using Maps, and most car mobile holders go kaput within few months or weeks. And the fact that having integrated reverse parking camera display on the HU makes taking reverse so much easier.
With the above requirements in mind, we went for car hunting during March/April 2022.
1. Hyundai Santro:
We liked Hundai Santro atleast on paper since it came with a 4 cylinder unit. And in the showroom, the car felt to have good space inside for the size of the car. The TD vehicle was not available. However, the salesman hinted that the dealership is no longer receiving fresh units from company and they cannot commit on any delivery timelines. Surprised by this statement, we crosschecked with another dealer, and he confirmed that production is stopped and the car maybe discontinued in near future. And correct he was. The Santro was eventually discontinued from Indian car market in May’22. Anyway, we had removed the car from the shortlist.
2. Maruti Suzuki S-Presso:
I had a soft corner for this car. GTO’s drive impressions on this car in various thread had me got interested in S-Presso, even though it did not meet the selection criteria of 4 cylinder unit. I test drove the car, and indeed the engine felt peppy, the overall visibility of the car is quite good, and the ride quality over bad roads felt composed for a car of its size. However, second half immediately rejected the car in the Arena showroom, as the car’s interior didn’t have any “feel good” factor and felt like a taller version of Alto.
3. Maruti Suzuki Swift
The Swift in the same Arena showroom as S-Presso felt considerably better in every area (I know both are different segments, but when you have a give and take of 1-2 lacs difference in price, you tend to compare cars across segments). The test drive of the vehicle was uneventful and the engine felt reasonably peppy and refined. Salesperson gave an estimate of around a month waiting period and discount of only 10k. The variant within our budget was the VXi. But the VXi loses on a lot of goodies , most importantly, no stock Android Auto/Apple Carplay system, lack of engine stop/start button, keyless entry, and thinner tyres compared to ZXi/ZXi. The Swift also didn’t felt like a car that you can throw in and out of traffic easily, perhaps due to its low seating position and medium footprint.
Moreover the Swift VXi was costly when compared to another car in Maruti’s stable that I had in mind (The IGNIS), so I wanted to check the Ignis at Nexa showroom before considering Swift.
4. Maruti Suzuki Ignis
The next was Ignis. As soon as we entered the Nexa showroom (which is at a walking distance of the Arena showroom we visited), we instantly felt a sense of positivity, perhaps due to a combination of factors like a much better maintained showroom, a polite and eager to answer salesman, the general level of customer centric attitude of the staff, like offering snacks, tea, cofee and arranging for comfortable seating for all 4 family members and taking time to explain variant details and features, etc. In contrast, the Arena showroom felt like a government office from the 90’s, with the staff barely interested or enthusiastic to sell, with the attitute of “take it or leave it”.
Anyway, both me and better half took a test drive of the Ignis and everything felt perfectly at home, be it the driving position, the commanding view of the road, the overall visibility, the smooth K-series engine and a lovely combo of slick gearshift and well weighed albeit a bit light clutch. It felt as if the car compensated every negative aspect of the Tigor (Although Tigor compensates for a lot of Negatives of the Ignis, more on this later), and the two would make for a decent entry level car garage. We shortlisted the Zeta variant, it had all the features we needed like Smarplya touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple carplay, Push button start/stop, Keyless entry, 15 inch alloy wheels etc but not the rear view camera (Why Maruti, why ? ) and front seat height adjustment. As for the camera, the same was offered by the sales team as complimentary and fitted at dealership level at the day of delivery. We agreed. For the seat height adjust, neither me nor better half found any issue with the default seat height of the Zeta variant, so it was not a deal breaker. The icing on the cake was immediate delivery (within a week) for our favourite colour – Nexa Blue and the discounts on offer were to the tune of 25k. I understand now the discounts on Ignis are even higher to the tune of 30-40k.
Fast forward to 20th May 2022, after completing all formalities and paperwork including PDI (The car had done 11 kms on the meter and manufactured on 26th April 2022), we welcomed new addition to our family : Maruti Suzuki Ignis Zeta MT Nexa Blue.
Here is a brief review of my ownership experience for the last 6 months, having clocked only 3800 kms till date (being second car):
- Engine and gearbox. Its not only about outright performance or healthy power to weight ratio, the engine shines in refinement and very good fuel efficiency figures. The engine never feels out of breadth for most of its RPM range. However the sweet spot starts after 1800 rpm, and once you cross 2000 rpm, a gentle push on the accelarator is all it takes to wake up all 82 horses with a beautiful throaty exhaust note which isn’t harsh like Tata’s Revotron or boomy like Hyundai’s Kappa series. If you learn to keep the engine above 1800 rpm, you’ll enjoy its characterstics. The gear ratios are well tuned, and 3rd gear works almost like an Automatic – the engine picks up speeds from as low as 20 kmpl in 3rd gear right upto 80-90 kmph. Remindes me somewhat of earstwhile Maruti Esteem.
- As for the fuel efficiency figures, so far it has always managed to do a tankful to tankful in the range of 15-17kmpl in city traffic with AC on all the time. Even when driven hard, the fuel efficiency from the 4 cylinder unit doesn’t drop significantly, yielding a minimum of 15 kmpl.
- Maruti has mated the engine to a slick shifting, smooth as butter and short throw gearbox. Sometimes, when I am bored I just take out the Ignis to drive on empty road just to experience the slick gearshifting . Add to that a clutch which is light and progressive, you’ll not miss an AT transmission much, until when you are in bumper to bumper traffic ofcourse.
- All round visibility and agility. One needs to drive a small car like the size of Ignis in city traffic to undrestand that Fun to drive can also mean driving a car that can be manoevered like an Autorikshaw, quick lane changes are easy and all round visibility makes getting in and out of traffic a breeze. No more fearing rowdy bikers, you can be one of them, well almost (just kidding, no offence meant).
- 180 mm ground clearance. Helps a lot when driven over bad roads and one need not worry about bottom scraping on worst of speed breakers (My Gen 1 WagonR used to scrape bad speedbreakers with 165mm ground clearence).
- Maruti’s after sales. Need not say much about it. Nearest Nexa station is 300 meters and Arena service station is 500 meters away. Enough said. They are literally, in every nook and corner of the country.
- Ride quality. The ride quality on the Ignis is stiff. At low speeds, you will feel every bump and it can get irritating if you drive frequently over potholed or roads with many speedbrekaers (specially the small ones and rumble strips). On the flip side, the high speed stability is good by Maruti small car standards. Much better compared to WagonR/Celerio. Although latter at the cost of high speed stability have softer suspension setup.
- Build quality. Not good, Maruti. My other car is a TATA Tigor, and Ignis in comparison feels like the whole external body is made of plastic. The doors are feather light. The bonnet and boot doors have adequate weight though. There is no “reassuring thud” when you close the passenger doors, infact the thump is quite discouraging, lol. However, the fact that Ignis has scored 3 Star GNCAP (or was it Latin NCAP ?) , so better than most small Maruti’s including Swift, WagonR, Celerio, S-Presso, Alto and other small cars like Grand i10/Datsun go etc.
- Road noise and NVH. Even though the engine itself is refined at idle, as you build up speeds you can hear the engine note. But that doesn’t irritate me, what does is the traffic noise. Maruti has skipped on quality insulating materials specially the window glass, which seems to be of thinner quality. Then there is the Horn which feels is positioned inside cabin instead of outside, its sounds abnormally loud inside !
- Gearing not suited for highway runs. The car does around 2600-2800 rpm @100 kmph in 5th gear, and if you cruise at this speed or beyond this the fuel efficiency figures will not be as good and the engine doesn’t feel relaxed. Perhaps the car needs a 6th gear or a taller gear ratio. But then, this is not a highway car per se.
- Moody Smartplay infotainment. I have had multiple instances of Android Auto getting hanged in middle of Google maps navigation. Got it checked by Harman engineer at Maruti’s Nexa workshop during first service, he downplayed it to faulty phone or cable, even though I insisted the issue is identified even with original cable and different handset. No solution till now.
A note on How the Ignis MT and Tigor AMT compliment each other in the same garage:
The Ignis and Tigor are very opposite in some of their characterstics, yet they help negate and fill the void created by each other so as to make a more “balanced” garage. The bumpy ride of the Ignis is offset by Tigor’s relatively mature and plusher ride and handling. The noisy and unrefined engine of the Tigor on the other hand is compensated by the smooth and refined unit on the Ignis. And as obvious as it may sound, having an MT and AT combo in the garage has its own advantages. Then the fact that TATA’s after sales is a hit or a miss, but the Maruti’s A.S.S. is more widespread and consistent. The Ignis’s steering while very light lacks feedback and doesn’t center back to its position completely (there is still 5% margin, a lot of improvement over pre-2020 model though), the Tigor’s steering is relatively well weighed and has more feedback, and ofcourse centers back completely after U-turns.
I am not good at clicking photos and feel a bit awkward clicking cars, but here are some random shots I have on my phone:
Playing hide and seek with Sun:
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