The retro-styled 2017 Suzuki Ignis high-riding city car launched in Australia this week, giving the brand a chic new option to lure urban dwellers.

Billed as an edgy crossover on account of 180mm ground clearance (more than a Mazda CX-3) the new Ignis is in fact about the same size as a Kia Picanto or Holden Spark.

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Setting it apart is a design that harks to the classic first Suzuki Cervo and the wide range of customisable cabin and exterior plastic trims that can be replaced with a multitude of colours for a few hundred bucks a pop.

The range kicks off at $15,990 plus on-raod costs (or $16,990 drive-away) for the GL manual, plus $1000 more for the GL CVT auto. The GLX tops out at $18,990 (plus on-roads)/$19,990 drive-away. The feature list is excellent, though.

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Under the bonnet is a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine with a modest 66kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 4400rpm, offset by a feather-like kerb weight as low as 820kg. The power-to-weight ratio is thereabouts with a Mazda 2, while fuel use is claimed as 4.7L/100km combined.

The Baleno's great little 1.0-litre BoosterJet turbo with 82kW/160Nm is not available, unfortunately.

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Matched to this in the base GL is a five-speed manual, while a CVT auto is a $1000 option and standard on the GLX. All Ignis' sold here are front-wheel drive despite the 'SUV' name-tag, though an AWD is possibly in the pipeline.

The cabin is larger than the wheelbase suggests thanks to the high roof, while the GLX gets rear seats that slide and recline. Space for gear is listed as between 260L and 1100L depending on seat position, which is good.

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All models get six airbags and ISOFIX anchors, though unlike some rivals there's no autonomous emergency braking.

Suzuki Australia wants 400 Ignis sales a month, and expects to lure prospective small SUV buyers and micro car buyers alike. In other words, people who might otherwise look at a Mazda CX-3 or a Fiat 500.

The Ignis is made in Japan.

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2017 Suzuki Ignis launch review

2017 Suzuki Ignis pricing

GL $15,990 (plus on-roads) or $16,990 drive-away

GL auto $16,990 (plus on-roads) or $17,990 drive-away

GLX auto $18,990 (plus on-roads) or $19,990 drive-away

Suzuki Ignis GL key features

Six airbags

Touchscreen

Satellite navigation

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Rear-view camera

Bluetooth/USB

Cruise control

Power windows

Leather steering wheel with buttons

16-inch steel wheels

60/40 rear seats

Suzuki Ignis GLX extras

16-inch alloy wheels

50/50 rear seats with sliding/reclining function

Auto HID headlights

LED daytime running lights

Rear privacy glass

Keyless start

Climate control