All new Suzuki Jimny brings go anywhere ability, decent equipment levels and an addictive personality wrapped in a retro-styled package.
What is it?
The all-new and much anticipated Suzuki Jimny. The pocket-sized SUV packs go anywhere ability and a rugged but well-appointed interior clothed and supersedes the previous generation that dates back over 20 years.
What’s it cost?
The new Jimny range is fairly simple. There’s one specification level and its offered with either a five speed manual which is priced from $23,990 and a four-speed automatic which is priced from $25,990.
Standard equipment levels are surprisingly good: naturally you get a dual-range 4×4 system and hill descent control, but you also get lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, LED headlights a reversing camera, climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and power front windows.
In the old model you were lucky to get a CD player…
What’s it go like?
All new Jimny models are powered by a 1.5 litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 75kW @ 6000rpm and 130Nm @ 4000rpm. Now, those figures mightn’t seem electrifying and they certainly are not.
But, the Jimny isn’t a performance SUV. No, it’s a compact SUV with genuine off-road ability and possibly for the first time ever urban chic, with those retro looks – which draw on micro Suzuki 4x4s of the past – the new Jimny may attract a new tarmac bound audience.
On the road, the Jimny is fine with keeping up with city traffic but get it out on the open road and the little ‘Zuki feels out of its depth, with the tagging needle swinging past 3,500rpm. Safe to say that four-speed auto could do with another gear or two.
Noise, isn’t too bad though and around town you could almost say it’s quiet.
Handling is on the wooly side. There’s an abundance of body roll around corners and the steering is vague. On the road this feels a little agricultural, in any other SUV it’d almost be unforgivable, but because it’s a Jimny, and it almost gives it its character.
Off road, the soft suspension and wooly steering make it easier to traverse obstacles – along with the low range gearbox and go places where a conventional small SUV wouldn’t dare. We still feel that the engine could do with more power and torque. The power plant out of the Swift Sport, perhaps?
Now, we should probably address the elephant in the room here: that three star ANCAP rating. We recommend that buyers only opt for a vehicle with a maximum five star safety rating, and realistically the Jimny’s three star rating is unacceptable. But given that Suzuki Jimny is a relatively unique offering in the market, many shoppers may overlook this glaring short coming.
What’s it like inside?
Slabs of black hard wearing plastics, a grab handle for the front passenger and a no nonsense minimalist design contribute to the Jimny’s retro-rugged character. It’s also relatively clever, as it means that it’ll scrub up easily after a dirty adventure. Those analogue gauges in the instrument cluster are a throwback to the 1980s.
That infotainment system is standard Suzuki, it’s not the flashiest looking of systems, but it’s easy to use and the satellite navigation is relatively effective and reliable. As always, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are welcome conveniences.
Accommodation up front is fine: there’s more than enough head, shoulder and leg room for two adults. In the back, legroom may be a little squeezy if there’s two adults up front.
Luggage space is comically non-existent with all four seats up, so you have a choice: two seats and some cargo space or three of your friends but they can’t really bring anything along with them.
Overall though, the Jimny’s cabin is cool and fits its brief well.
What we like:
- Go anywhere ability
- Decent equipment levels
- It looks cool
- Tight turning circle
What we don’t:
- Three star ANCAP rating isn’t good enough
- Can feel underpowered
- Next to no interior storage
- Body roll can be disconcerting at first.
The new Suzuki Jimny is cool, capable and well-equipped and should be a huge seller for the Japanese brand, although that safety rating is unacceptable.