Maruti Suzuki has launched the Ignis in India and it has clearly been the kickstarter to the AMT or automatic gearbox boom in the Indian automotive industry in the last year or so and we can say it's been innovative. They've proved that by the Ignis Emoji on Twitter too but clearly they've shown that they're addressing the needs of the customers. All AMT cars in the entry level hatchback (and in fact most hatchbacks) have been petrol powered to keep costs down as compared to their diesel counterparts. That said, there has definitely been a growing call to manufacturers from the Indian car buying public to launch a cheaper diesel automatic car and Maruti have decided to do so with the Ignis. The Ignis will be available with an AMT option both on the petrol and the diesel variants. So here is all you need to know about the AMT or Automatic Ignis.
The AMT unit, or as Maruti calls it - AGS (Automatic Gear Shift) in the Ignis is actually the same unit that has been doing duty in the likes of the Swift Dzire AMT or the Celerio AMT. The unit is made by Magneti Marelli and is installed on the standard 5-speed gearbox that does duty in the petrol and diesel engines and is controlled electronically which eliminates the need for a clutch pedal. The AMT units are not as smooth as a dual clutch DCG or a CVT or even a conventional torque convertor gearbox but the advantage offered are lower costs (since the manual and automatic gearbox is identical) and of course, much better fuel economy.
Considering the fact that the Swift Dzire with the same gearbox and engine diesel engine returns an impressive 22.8kmpl, expect the diesel Ignis which is lighter to return a higher figure. The petrol powered Ignis will come with a 1.2-litre petrol engine which does duty in the Swift and the Swift Dzire too. That said, the Swift and the Dzire both get CVT gearboxes and not AMT. Expect the AMT Ignis to also have a fuel economy figure of over 20kmpl.
The AMT versions of the Ignis will sadly not be available on the top of the line Alpha variants. This is primarily due to the fact that the top of the line versions of the car with the AMT gearbox will become too expensive for most customers. Currently, Maruti only plans to launch the AMT variant of the Ignis in the Delta and Zeta variants which will also mean that buyers of the AMT Ignis will miss out on a few key features.
These features will include the black alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and projector headlamps for starters. On the interior front, the AMT won't feature the large touchscreen infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and inbuilt navigation. That said, the Delta and Zeta variants will get a standard audio setup with Bluetooth connectivity, aux/USB and a CD player along with the 6-speaker setup that is available on the top of the line model. Other omissions include the climate control system, the reversing camera and the height adjustable driver's seat.
The Ignis was recently crash tested by Euro NCAP and received a 3-star rating for the standard pack and a 5-star rating for a top of the line safety pack version. Although the Euro NCAP is mostly irrelevant to Indian spec cars, Maruti has taken the conscious decision to make the Ignis as safe as possible. The Ignis AMT and manual will both get safety trim as standard though the range. This includes ABS with EBS, dual airbags and even an ISOFIX child seat mounting points as standard on all variants. Other features like rear parking sensors, however, will be absent from the Delta variant AMT cars but will be available on the Zeta variants.
The AMT variants, especially the diesel will be popular with Ignis buyers and will most certainly have a considerable waiting period if past model AMT variant demands are anything to go by. That said, Maruti should most definitely consider launching a fully loaded Alpha variant of the Ignis sometime in the near future as there is certainly an audience that wants the convenience of an automatic gearbox but also the added gadgetry and gizmos that the top-of-the-line variants get.