Would you buy this range-topping hatchback or entry-level SUV?

Would you buy this range-topping hatchback or entry-level SUV?

It can be challenging to decide what to buy in the compact car segment. Say you have around R250 000 to spend on a new vehicle, your first new car, and you wanted to ensure you get the best value for your money. You can buy numerous vehicles under this price point, but we thought we’d pose an exciting scenario to you, using the Suzuki brand as a point of reference.

At the time of writing this piece, a brand new range-topping 2022 Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX auto hatchback will cost R247 900. The company’s slightly larger entry-level crossover, Vitara Brezza 1.5 GL manual, costs R248 900. With only R1000 separating these two genuinely good vehicles, it begs the question, do you want spec and style, or do you want to future-proof your purchase? Let’s tuck in.

Suzuki Ignis

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX

The Suzuki Ignis has been on sale in South Africa for nearly five years, but it looks fresh thanks to subtle refinements applied to it as part of a facelift a couple of years ago. The range-topper GLX that we’re discussing here is packed with features, and it has premium styling touches such as chrome and alloys to ensure it stands above the cheaper models in the line-up.

Inside, the car is also very plush, with decent plastics and silver trim pieces that raise the ambience in the cabin to respectable levels of opulence considering its asking price. We particularly like the multi-function steering wheel and the thumping audio system that supports Apple CarPlay. Of course, you get other fancy items, too, such as a rear-view camera system to tackle those awkward alley-docking moves at college or the office. You won’t feel like features are missing in this GLX range-topper, for sure.

It’s also reasonably spacious on the inside, easily accommodating four adults, thanks to a 2435mm wheelbase and 1690mm overall width. The Ignis‘ innovative interior packaging ensures driver and front passenger aren’t rubbing elbows, and even taller drivers will find it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel thanks to a height of 1595mm. Ground clearance is respectable, too, at 180mm, which is more than you get in some soft-roader SUVs.

The vehicle is powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine that’s good for 61Kw of power and 113Nm of torque. As this is the AMT version, expect it to sip a little more than a manual model, around 4.9l/100km in a combined cycle according to Suzuki‘s official figures – which is suitable for a driving range of up to 653 kilometres per 32-litre tank of fuel. We haven’t had much exposure to the AMT version of this car, but we can tell you that it might take some time getting used to, as all AMT transmissions do. If you expect to spend lots of time in traffic, the AMT might work for you as you won’t need to work a third pedal to change gears in stop-go traffic.

With the rear seats in their upright position, you have access to 260 litres of trunk space, which isn’t a lot, to be honest, and will work well for single people or couples. Fold the seats, however, and you’ll be able to carry up to 947 litres of good in it, almost as good as some of the panel vans we wrote about here.

At R247 900, you’ll find it hard to pinpoint a competitor for this Ignis that offers similar levels of spec and personality from a styling and presence perspective, and if you want an eye-catching new vehicle that won’t break the bank on finance, we’d suggest taking one for a test drive.

Suzuki Vitara Brezza

Suzuki Vitara Brezza 1.5 GL

Rocking the compact SUV (or is it a crossover?) segment with reckoning force upon arrival and selling like hotcakes that Suzuki simply can’t bake fast enough, the new Vitara Brezza needs little introduction. The entry-level model we’re discussing here might not look like the fanciest model out there, but it has the essential bells and whistles that you need in a mobility solution.

Inside this vehicle, you get electric windows, central locking, a Bluetooth enhanced audio system, a multi-function steering wheel, and a decent manual air-con that’s quite effective. It won’t have a booming speaker package, although Suzuki audio systems don’t mind being played loud, and you won’t be able to access Apple CarPlay through the standard audio interface, but you do get a USB charging port to keep devices topped up.

The Vitara Brezza takes the lead here compared to the Ignis above, as you can easily carry five adults in this vehicle thanks to a 2500mm wheelbase and 1790mm overall width. It’s also nicely packaged on the inside and feels roomier than you’d think when you look at it from the outside. The vehicle also offers a hugely impressive 198mm of ground clearance, ideal if you live on a plot or have to traverse dirt roads daily. A height of 1660mm also ensures taller drivers and passengers can sit comfortably without slouching in the seats.

Suzuki‘s tried-and-tested 1.5-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine powers the Vitara Brezza. It punches out 77kW and 138Nm, and this grunt is sent to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. It won’t be as relaxing to drive a manual vehicle as an auto, but you get more pulling power here, and that can come in handy if you plan to keep your purchase for a while or expect your family to grow in a few years. Suzuki says this Vitara Brezza sips 6.2l/100km in a combined cycle, so you should be able to get up to 774km between fill-ups of its 48-litre fuel tank.

With the Vitara Brezza‘s rear seats in their upright position, you get 328 litres of boot space, around 50 litres more than you would in the stylish Ignis GLX. Suzuki hasn’t provided official measurements with the seats in the folded position, but you can easily fit a mountain bike or loads of hiking gear in this vehicle without sweating for cargo space.

Coming in at R248 900, only R1 000 more than the Ignis 1.2 GLX, the Vitara Brezza‘s key competitor is the Toyota Urban Cruiser. The Brezza and the Urban Cruiser cruiser come from the same factory and is built using the same platform and parts. If you’re a Toyota fan, you’re probably going to go that way, but don’t write off Suzuki as the brand is growing fast and plans to open more dealerships around the country in 2022.

So if you had R250 000 to spend on a new Suzuki this year, would you go for the fancy range-topper hatchback or the no-frills soft-roader SUV?

Source: Pritesh Ruthun (www.wheels24.co.za)

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