Best of Both Worlds
Until Maruti Suzuki gave us the Automated Manual Transmission, automatic cars were perceived to be a luxury. And in a market such as India they indeed would be considered to be so, for automatic transmissions result in lower fuel efficiency than manual gearboxes and are of course more expensive to manufacture. The Swift DZire VXi automatic for example costs Rs. 88,000 more than the manual DZire VXi and has an ARAI rated efficiency figure of 18.5 km/l as opposed to the manual model’s 20.85 km/l quoted figure. With the AMT system though the fuel efficiency differentiator has been negated from the equation. As a result, our petrol Ignis AMT has an identical ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of 20.89 km/l in respect to its manual counterpart. And because it is essentially the same gearbox used in both automatic and manual models, the price difference between the two is Rs. 55,000. Little wonder that demand for the Celerio AMT and Celerio manual was an even 50:50 for a while when the Automated Manual Transmission made its debut in India.
Now that the context has been laid, lets come to the matter of our long-term car. Over a distance of 408.9 km in a tank to tank fuel efficiency run limited to my driving between Gurgaon and Delhi, the car consumed 22.33 litres of petrol, resulting in an astonishing 18.31 km/l. This frankly I found to be unbelievable for a petrol car. I mean this is diesel car fuel efficiency territory! But then again, since I avoid driving in peak hour traffic and the pleasant weather allowing me to drive without air conditioning, I assume the Ignis had a lot going in its favour. Expect the efficiency figure to fall in the coming summer months.
Moving away from the matter of fuel efficiency, overtime you do get used to the slow shifting autobox. And once you get more accustomed to guiding the system to change gears by lifting off slightly, you will get the Ignis AMT to drive the way you want it to. And when you suddenly want more power all you need to do is mash the throttle and the car will downshift two gears to bring out the potential of its peppy 1.2 litre engine. The tiptronic mode to change gears manually though is a futile effort as the system is slower to change gears in comparison to throttle modulation.
Otherwise, the Ignis AMT is a light and nimble compact hatchback which is very easy to drive around town.