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Old 22nd May 2024, 13:46   #1
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My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review

This is about how I landed with my current car, a pre-owned ‘Maruti IGNIS Alpha 1.2 MT’, installing a CNG kit in it and my user experience.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-ignis-day-purchase.jpg

I started writing this in 2022 and finished it in 2024 owing to my habit of procrastination. This is my first writeup on Team-BHP and it will be long. So here goes.

It was November 2020, shortly after the first wave of COVID in India. I was actually not in need of a new car at that point. I was using my elder brother’s 2010 Hyundai i10 Magna (1.2 Kappa) for several years and was pretty happy with it. He was thinking whether to take it to Chennai with him or not, because Covid had made public travel a real hassle. I realised that if I bought a car, my brother could have the i10 for himself. It was clear in my head that I’d be buying only a used car because it made more sense in my condition then, as Covid had helped to lower my salary by half for several months at that time. Also, a well-maintained used car appealed more to me than a new one because of the drastic increase in new car prices.

I began searching for a good used car. I was clear about my requirements. Until then I had been using the i10 and apart from the fuel efficiency, the car was a real gem. It was the perfect hatchback with a nice engine, good handling (despite its somewhat tallboy design), nice interiors (the plastics had not faded even after 10 years of usage, no rattles or squeaks), adequate space, good AC, etc. I really liked driving it and wouldn’t feel tired even after a long drive. I had too many good memories with that car.

So my next car had to be at the same level as the i10 if not above it. As I loved to drive, the car had to have a good engine and reasonably good handling. I was looking only at small petrol hatchbacks, period. My usage was limited and mostly in town and highways. It must be easy to maintain and easy on pockets. Should have power windows, minimum 2 airbags, ABS, and reasonable fuel efficiency. Since I would be the only one driving it, my comfort mattered the most. I don’t like to sit too low, a little tall boy nature is preferred. Mostly 2 or maximum 3 people will travel in the car including me and hence rear seat comfort, leg space and boot space were not of much relevance. In short, if I get a small peppy car with a fuel economy of about 16 kmpl, I would be happy.

Then came the budget which was nonexistent to start with. There were two options, buy an old car with around 7-8 years on it under 2-3 lakhs, use it for a couple of years or buy a car within 3 years at around 4.5-5 lakhs and use it for as much as I can. I started looking in OLX and quickly understood that the first option was not possible simply because the cars didn’t meet my expectations, either they were too old and felt their age or the features were too limited or the engine wasn’t good or the fuel economy was bad.

Also, I had removed Hyundai from the list as I wanted a different brand this time. Even though the Hyundai Grand i10 was a good option, it didn’t seem exciting enough and also our i10 was not very pocket-friendly since it passed 1 lakh km in odometer. So, no more Hyundai. I was not a fan of Maruti Suzuki but I liked their 1.2-litre engine as I have been driving my colleague’s Baleno daily for the past one year. The engine was smooth, rev-happy, returned good mileage and no faults or issues, but I personally don’t like Swift or Baleno due to the sunken seating and the overall interior feel. Toyota and VW were simply out of the question as the former didn’t have a desirable hatchback and the latter was not pocket-friendly at all. Only Tiago made any sense from the stable of TATA but I didn’t like its engine. I wasn’t thinking just in terms of practicality, the car had to have an element of excitement in it.

So, after thinking for a couple of days, I arrived at the Ignis. I liked the front end of the car and the boxy design which made it look like a miniature SUV, but I despised its rear end when I saw it for the first time, as time went by I had grown somewhat soft on its appearance though. But going through its reviews made me aware that this was a good small car and I have to test drive it to make a decision. The car was new in the Indian market as it was launched in 2017 and hence not many Ignis were available in the used car market. The used car prices in Kerala are always on the higher side compared to other states and that didn’t help either.

Going through OLX and talking to some of the used car dealers through friends made it clear to me that I would get only the base model Ignis Sigma at 4.5 lakhs and I was not for it (when the car was launched, 4.5 lakhs was the ex-showroom price for Sigma). It had to be at least the Delta variant which came with essential features and that would put me down by 5 lakhs for a good car. I really came to understand the resale potential of a Maruti! Even the Delta variant didn’t appeal to me that much because the front end lost its charm without the LED headlamps and DRL. But I knew that the top-end model was beyond my scope, hence I decided to find a good Ignis Delta , test drive it and hopefully get it for a good bargain. But I knew that a well-maintained one would definitely cost upward of 5 lakhs as the price of a new car OTR has increased by a fair amount in the past couple of years. I looked online and found that there were only a couple of Ignis Delta in my city, and a few dozen in the state of Kerala with asking prices ranging from 5.25 to 5.6 lakhs.

One of those was quite near my home at a Maruti True Value Shop. I went there the next day itself and as luck would have it, they didn’t have the Delta variant and had two Alpha MT variants, one from 2017 in Nexa Blue and another from 2018 in Uptown Red. Both cars were TD vehicles from the nearby Nexa showroom and were replaced when the latest cosmetic updates came in. The asking prices were 5.75 lakhs and 6 lakhs respectively. I almost laughed to myself at this point, I could buy a new car at this price! My thought was, I am not going to buy this, but since I have not driven the car, will do a TD and at least it will save me from wasting time searching for another Ignis if I didn’t like the car. They gave me the Blue one to TD because the battery in the Red one was dead. As I sat inside and started driving, I realised that this is a really nice car! The seating position was nice, the road view was good, steering felt OK, the car was peppy to drive, shifts were slick, the engine had enough grunt and was smooth as expected. The main difference was that unlike Baleno or Swift, the engine felt and sounded sportier in the Ignis, maybe because of the power to weight ratio.

Also the interior was pleasant in black and white theme. The front seats were good and provided adequate support, the dashboard was black which I liked, body coloured door handles on the inside and the inserts in the centre console made a nice touch. Rear doors looked drab from the inside, rear seats also lacked under thigh support but that was not an issue with me. The boot had enough space thanks to the nearly vertical rear design, you could stack things pretty high. Also the seats were 60:40 split and had ISOFIX anchors, I was really impressed. I told the SA that I like the car but it is way beyond my budget (about 1 lakh), he told me that the cars are in perfect condition and as I am not planning to exchange my car he cannot do much with the pricing. The maximum he can do is 5.75 lakhs for the 2018 model Red one and 5.5 for the 2017 model Blue one.

I went home and again started searching for cars online and after some time came to a conclusion that I will have to spend a minimum of 5 lakhs for a good car that met my expectations. I was also certain that after I get the car, I will most definitely spend some money on it for a touchscreen navigation system or a rear camera or good speakers. When I factored in all my observations, the 2018 Red Ignis seemed like an option. But I had not driven it, so again I called the SA and asked him for a TD for the Red car. I went in the next day and drove it. The car felt in better condition than the previous one but the clutch felt a bit heavier, but this was expected as it was a TD vehicle. Apart from that, the car was well kept and the interiors were neat with no signs of abuse. I liked the car and now came the question, do I need to buy this at a price way above my budget or should I keep looking for something less costly. I sat down and began to assess my requirements again. I came to a decision that I really liked Ignis and wanted to buy one. I also considered what I will get in a used Ignis Delta variant which will cost me around 5 lakhs, and anyway I will have to add money to make it as per my taste. Then I considered the Red Ignis Alpha and considered what I will get for 5.75 lakhs.

The Ignis gets two airbags, ABS + EBD, ISOFIX child seat mounts and seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters as standard.

The Alpha trim came with Led Projectors with DRL which made the car good looking. The halogens in the other trims were really boring. Touchscreen navigation system with Android Auto was a good thing and whichever car I bought, I was sure to get one installed. Rear camera with parking sensors was also a requirement. The car came with all the plastic cladding, door visors and dual tone finish(uptown red with black roof) which made it look far better. It came with alloys, puddle lamps, fog lamps, accent lighting on metre console, engine push start/stop button, passive keyless entry, electrically folding ORVMs, automatic climate control, driver seat height adjuster, voice command system(which seems useless), 4 speakers plus 2 tweeters(quality average), rear defogger, rear wiper(absolutely needed), dual tone interiors, etc. (Also, without the Climate control console and touchscreen system, the dashboard was not at all pleasant to look at).

So, I reasoned that since I like to have creature comforts and some of the above features felt really necessary the price of the car would be justified if it had been 5.5 lakhs. But as I said, 5.75 was the last offer. But on further thinking, the price didn’t seem that high after all. As I said earlier, the vehicle was a TD car earlier and as such, it had all the bells and whistles of customization on the exterior and genuine seat cover from Maruti with red accents which looked nice (around 6-8K for that), four brand new tyres with under 1000 km on them (20K for that), battery was dead and they installed another with less than a year on it, the insurance was expired and they renewed it through Maruti dealer itself with zero depreciation cover which cost 15.5K. On top of all these, as I was buying the car through a Maruti True Value shop, they provided one year warranty on engine and gearbox with three free services and they will take care of the paperwork too.

Considering the list of features in the car along with these factors, the extra money that I am shedding suddenly seemed fully justified, also I would not have to spend anything on the car until the next insurance renewal. The remaining question was, whether I needed to spend this amount above my budget to buy a used car. But I was really sold on the car and the question seemed pointless!! I called my friend who was then working at Maruti service and asked him to check the history of the car. Satisfied with the response from him, the decision was made and I contacted my bank for a loan, got approval very quickly and on 27th November, 2020, around three weeks after the initial thinking, the car became mine.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-ignis-eye-liner.jpg

The Eyeliner

The first add on after the car came home was a baby seat for my toddler. It was a Babyhug ISOFIX model and we are really happy about the decision. The convenience it provides while taking your little one on drives cannot be explained. My son can see the outside better as the seat is raised and he can sleep peacefully in it. The most important thing is that I can drive at usual speeds and can brake as and when needed without the worry of him falling down while braking.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-baby-seat.jpg

Then I got a dash cam from DDPAI and installed it myself. The camera came with a wiring kit and fuse connector so that it can be directly connected to the fuse box rather than the power socket. The dash cam is very important from a safety perspective. The camera clarity was better when it was new but not so much right now. Thinking about changing to a better one.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-dash-cam.jpeg

Annoying issue

After a few days, I noticed the problem with the steering, it won’t return on its own after a turn. I was surprised that I didn’t notice it while test driving and on further investigation, found out that all the cars till the update in 2020 have this problem and is not rectifiable. I mentioned this complaint on the first service and they greased the mechanism and adjusted it without causing any play, it improved a bit, i.e., on faster turns, the steering would more or less return. But I got used to it in a couple of days and it doesn't bother me anymore. But it is quite surprising that such a problem would be unnoticed during testing after production and furthermore, it would be unaddressed by the company at a later stage.

What I felt about the car

The car is a joy to drive. Driving position is really good and the visibility is something that I appreciate highly. The grunt of the engine can be heard inside when pushed hard which feels quite sporty. The driver seat lumbar support is on the poorer side and is causing me back aches. The steering weight is comfortable for me but it is not as light as in some other cars. I drove my friend’s Tiago and the steering was feather light but it also lacked feedback. The dashboard is practical and made of hard plastic. It is evident that Maruti has cut costs in the dashboard department. Centre console and cup holders are just adequate. Where the car really shines is in the ease of use and practicality.

Highway stability and handling are better considering the tall boy nature. Getting in and out of the car is very easy for the driver but the rear seat passengers bump their head on the roof sometimes. The steering column adjustment lever hits my knee sometimes while getting into the car and it can be painful. Is it just me or is it a design flaw, I am not sure. T

he climate control display panel and switches are hard bearing and pleasant to look at. If not for the touchscreen, climate control unit and dual tone finish, the dashboard looks pretty boring and outdated by several decades. Initially I thought that the white interiors would be a headache to maintain but I was wrong. The surfaces don't get dirty that fast and a microfiber towel and some car shampoo is all it takes to make it look like new. The speakers are average and because of the door panels, they rattle even more at high volumes. If you place anything in the door pockets, it has to be a snug fit, if not the rattles might freak you out.

Even though the car was good and I was satisfied with the decision, the differences between Hyundai and Maruti was obvious. I was using a 2010 model i10 till then and in all regards, Ignis fell into the same category of i10 such as size, shape, engine capacity, etc. But the i10 felt much better in many aspects even though it was a decade old car. The interiors still felt brand new owing to the quality of plastics used, the fit and finish was way better, panel gaps were less, no squeaks or creeks, the doors felt better and the overall fit and finish was good. The feel good factor is something that Maruti has to learn from Hyundai.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-i10-dash.jpg

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-ignis-dash.jpeg

But, one term overshadows everything else: Mileage! There, Maruti shines like no other. Ignis returned a healthy mileage of 16.5 to 18 kmpl on average. The lowest being 15.5 kmpl when pushed hard and the highest being 19.5 kmpl on a long drive (calculated from full tank to full tank method). Also, services and spares were cheaper than before, but that meant I started to use the car more than I had anticipated before buying it. It led to my next decision which was to install a CNG kit in the car.

CNG retrofitment

I had actually thought about this before but held back as there were no CNG filling stations near my home. After three months of owning the car, a CNG filling station opened up near my home and I went through various review videos and articles on the good and bad of CNG and finally decided to get it installed. At this point, the car had covered 7.5k km. Along with my car, my friend’s Alto also got the kit installed as we carpooled to work regularly. My CNG kit was a sequential one from LOVATO and the Alto got an Open looped kit from LOVATO. The reducer and the ECM were from LOVATO and the other fittings such as the tank, advancer, etc., were from local vendors.

The CNG cylinder was of 12 kg capacity (65L water capacity) and as the gas was pressurised and filled, about 80% of the total volume was the filling capacity. That is around 8.5 to 9 kg can be filled in the cylinder depending on the pressure at the filling station. Also, the cylinder weighs around 65 kg and takes up most of the space in the boot. The gas is filled at around 200 bar pressure which is equal to about 3000 psi. To put it into perspective, the average pressure in a car’s tyre is about 30 psi.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-cng-cylinder-boot.jpg

I knew that the car would lose some power while on CNG and was mentally prepared for it. As per the data from Maruti, Wagon R CNG (1L) is around 9bhp less powerful than its petrol counterpart. But to my surprise, the car didn’t feel underpowered that much. On sudden acceleration and while overtaking in a hurry, yes it felt slower but not sluggish, and on highways you could hardly feel the difference. Also the car didn’t struggle even when it seated 5 people. But the same was not the case with the Alto, the car struggled when the AC was turned on and you could sense the drop in power while driving the car normally. Maybe this was due to the smaller engine of Alto which produced less power to begin with and also as the kit was open looped with no electronic control unit.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-cng-injectors.jpg

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-cng-parts.jpeg

Driving on CNG meant that the car was now being used extensively as the running cost has now come down considerably. CNG costs less than petrol and the car gives more mileage on CNG. I am getting around 27 to 29 km/kg of CNG. This equates to about less than half the fuel cost of petrol to run the car. Ignis is my daily drive and I drive around 80kms a day for 5 days per week plus the weekend runs. After I got Ignis my bike has done only about 15k km in the past 3 and a half years.

Legal side of aftermarket CNG Fitment

The dealer should have Govt. approval and should be registered with the kit brand. The car should be at least a 2005 model. Also, the kit and vehicle should be on the Govt. approved list.

The following details are provided by the kit installer:
  • Certificate from kit installer
  • Detailed list of installed items
  • Approval certificate for dealer from state transport dept.
  • Approval for kit from ICAT
  • Approval certificate for the tank from dept. of explosives
  • Kit layout plan
  • Detailed bill, etc.

For endorsing the CNG kit in your RC

Go to Parivahan website - Online Services - vehicle related services - state - registering authority - Alteration of vehicle - fuel - petrol/CNG - enter retrofitting details - pay online fees - print fee receipt.

Apply to your concerned RTO with Fee receipt, original RC, kit papers from installer, copy of PUC and insurance. Present your vehicle in front of the officer for inspection. After the approval, a new RC will be issued with Petrol/CNG mentioned in it.

After this, apply with the new RC for endorsing it in your insurance as well. This is important for any future claims.

A weird issue!

As the original horn stopped working, I got a windtone horn similar to the one in the Polo. Some days later, I started to notice a very peculiar problem. Sometimes while accelerating, the car would violently jerk as if the power was completely cut off for a split second. The car wouldn’t turn off and there were no error symbols on the console. This happened while suddenly accelerating from cruising speed or accelerating after gear shifts, etc. Sometimes, there would be no problem at all. I noticed that whenever this issue occurred I was using the horn! But no fuse was blown, the horn relay was working fine and no wires had melted. The auto electrician couldn’t identify the problem and the possible cause was the battery. Checked the battery and the voltage was showing just around 12V and one cell was weak. Hence, I changed the battery to Amaron. Still, the problem persisted. Finally, I threw away the horn and its wiring harness and got a simple Bosch horn which could be directly connected without any relay. Problem solved!

The new battery was working fine but the battery indicator (sight glass) was never showing green and when checked with a multimeter the voltage was 12V, sometimes 11.9V. The alternator was working fine and the recharge voltage was also as expected. Gave the battery for charging and it was returned with the green indicator visible. After some days, the same issue reappeared. I've never faced any issue with starting the car and the battery was working fine as per the battery shop. I removed the dash cam for a few days but it didn't change the condition. Also, I couldn't find any leaks either. This condition has persisted till now.

Issues with CNG

As soon as the kit was installed, I noticed a jerky nature like a hiccup while shifting gears and on part throttle driving. They changed the tuning of the ECM and it somehow got ok but not perfect. After a year or so, the car shifted from CNG to petrol while driving as if there was no gas and this error kept coming back. The fault was diagnosed as the solenoid valve in the reducer gone bad. The fitment centre took back the reducer and gave me a new one under warranty. During this process, I learned about the types of reducers. There are single-stage and Multi stage reducers on the market and for a vehicle of 1.2ltr or above capacity, you should have ideally installed the multi-stage reducer but the one in my car was single-stage. I thought that it might be the cause of jerking at slow speed and gear shifts.

Later, after the car had done about 30k km post CNG kit installation, I tried to resolve the issue of this jerking again. Went to a CNG mechanic near my home, and stood there through the process for a whole day. He changed the gas injectors, no change. He changed the reducer to a multi-staged one, with no change. He changed the advancer, no change. Now only the ECM and gas cylinder were remaining which hardly seemed to be the problem. Finally, he reinstalled all the original parts and left it as it was. Hence the issue still remains unresolved. But I’ve learned to drive without causing the small jerk by using the clutch and it is not disturbing me that much anymore. But during this ordeal, I have learned one thing. There are not enough qualified mechanics for CNG cars and the ASS won’t look at retrofitted kits. If anyone knows a good CNG mechanic anywhere in Kerala or Coimbatore, please let me know.

On a side note

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-3-cars.jpg

In October 2021, the Honda Jazz S i-DTEC joined our stable as the i10 was getting old. Sadly, we had to let go of our beloved i10 in February 2022 as maintaining three cars was proving to be a little too much. I was a bit emotional as I had a lot of fond memories with the car. It was my first car and the first car always remains special.

After 3 years and 6 months, the Ignis has done about 70K km with me at the helm. I have changed the battery once, horn twice, and replaced the clutch while the odometer was at 85K. Once, a coconut fell on the bonnet and had to repaint that part. Later a small rock caused a crack on the front windshield and it had to be replaced. Other than that, the car has given me no big trouble and I am pretty happy with my decision.

My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review-ignis-under-light.jpg

The clock is around 112K km now and the tyres are due for a change. They have lasted 70K km and I am truly surprised. Maybe due to the fact that a major part of my commute is on highways. Currently, the car is on Bridgestone Ecopia rubber and I am looking at Yokohama Earth1 as my next set. Any suggestions are welcome.

Thank-you for reading till the end.

Last edited by Aditya : 23rd May 2024 at 16:57. Reason: Spacing, formatting
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Old 23rd May 2024, 17:00   #2
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Re: My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th May 2024, 12:14   #3
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Re: My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review

Great writeup. Ignis is truly a wonderful car and I am enjoying it for last 9 months now. I have AMT though as it is primarily taken for my wife. It has very peppy engine and it shines on highways. Ride quality is on little stiffer side but it makes handling much better. Average is really good and I am consistently getting around 16 in city. On highways it gives more than 21 easily.

New Ignis comes with factory fitted Spoiler and Roof rails for Delta onwards models I guess. It adds to sporty look of the car. Rear is little different and it slowly grows on you. Now after owning it for sometime, I actually like it more than any other current hatchbacks.

With current discounts and offers, it is the best buy in current market for someone who is looking for small, reliable, fuel efficient and fun to drive car. In about 7.25 Lakhs OTR one can get Ignis Zeta MT with lots of features. Also AMT is good if one really wants auto transmission. Now I am used to it and its almost as smooth as normal automatic once you know how to deal with it.

Last edited by aniketi : 24th May 2024 at 12:15.
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Old 24th May 2024, 18:30   #4
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Re: My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review

Drive your car down to SURF car products, Banashankari, Bangalore, he is a maverick in CNG tuning, and I suspect a electrical fault in your CNG kit. Jerking means misfire - the fueling is not matching your spark timing. It could be a wrong install, needs experience to fix.
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Old 24th May 2024, 19:21   #5
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Re: My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review

Jerking could be due to bad spark plugs but more importantly due to weak coils. MS coils last about 1,30,000km after which cng cars start giving jerks and start feeling underpowered.
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Old 24th May 2024, 21:44   #6
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Originally Posted by Rshrey22 View Post
Jerking could be due to bad spark plugs but more importantly due to weak coils. MS coils last about 1,30,000km after which cng cars start giving jerks and start feeling underpowered.
I've changed the plugs couple of times, so that's not the issue. Also, jerking was present right from the point when I installed the CNG kit at 50,000km. I think it has to do something with the reducer or the size of hole of injectors combined with state of tuning of ECM.

Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Drive your car down to SURF car products, Banashankari, Bangalore, he is a maverick in CNG tuning, and I suspect a electrical fault in your CNG kit.
Thank you, man; I will keep it in mind.

If you have the contact number of the person, please share it.

Last edited by Turbanator : 24th May 2024 at 22:01. Reason: back to Back posts merged.
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Old 28th May 2024, 21:39   #7
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Re: My Maruti Ignis with CNG Review

Pretty good review! Ignis looks stunning in red. I like this version way better than the current one. I had considered Ignis at one point and I would have changed the grill to this if possible. I had to let go of that idea due to the backseat space. Otherwise, even new, Ignis is such a nice car for what it is.

Full marks for your write-up!
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