Suzuki’s pocket sized Suzuki Jimmy 4×4 great off-road but seriously dated in other areas
The Suzuki Jimny Sierra is unique in the sense that it’s the only truly compact SUV with genuine off-road ability. This go anywhere capability can be attributed to a traditional ladder frame and 3-link coil suspension set up along with a selectable four-wheel drive system with a lock function. The little truck can trace its origins back to the early 2000s, and little has changed since.
Suzuki’s marketing taglines suggest the combination of compact dimensions and all-road capability makes for a vehicle that is perfect for nipping around city during the week, and crusading across more remote landscapes on the weekends.
What we like:
- Real off-road capability
- Engine reasonably quiet
- Easy to park
Not so much:
- Spartan equipment levels
- It’s not cheap
- Rear drum brakes and safety
Price and Equipment
The Jimny Sierra is offered in a single specification level and buyers have the choice between either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual. The standard equipment list includes an on-demand four-wheel drive system, dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, power windows, central locking and a two-speaker stereo with CD player.
The Jimny Sierra’s cabin could be best described as “utilitarian.” Customers shopping for an SUV with Bluetooth audio streaming, handsfree phone system or even cruise control will be bitterly disappointed as these amenities are nowhere to be seen, and the little off-roader even does away with an interior light.
Only two speakers accompany the head unit and combined, they don’t exactly deliver a stunning audio experience. Oddment storage is minimal too, as the Jimny does without a centre console and the glove compartment is just large enough to accommodate the owner’s manual.
The omission of such equipment is a reflection of the car’s decade long lineage and an indicator that a thorough update is in order.
Additionally, the steering column cannot be adjusted for height or reach and the driver’s foot well is tight, with one’s knee often rubbing up against the driver’s door and with two adults up front, shoulder room can be a squeeze.
However, it isn’t all bad news. There’s vast amounts of headroom for the driver and front passenger, all seats are a little flat but surprisingly comfortable, and that boxy design lends itself to great 360 degree visibility which is aided by massive truck-like side mirrors. Slide one of the front seats forward and two adults will fit in the back, enjoying the same expansive headroom as the passengers up front and rear legroom is sufficient.
Owners who want to bring children on an adventure may find the tethering points for child seats mounted on the floor of the cargo area a little frustrating. The cargo area is rated at a pokey 113 litres with the back seats in the upright position and 324 litres when the two rear seats are lowered.
Engine and Transmission
The Jimny Sierra is powered by a 1.3 litre four-cylinder engine that produces 62.5kW @ 6000rpm and 110Nm @ 4100rpm and in our test car, the engine was paired with a four-speed automatic. The duo are surprisingly quiet and smooth, however the engine works hard to keep the Jimny moving.
Acceleration is sedate and the engine lacks the pep that is expected of small hatches and SUVs that are more commonplace in concrete jungles. And although we didn’t set the Jimny to work in overly strenuous off-road conditions, we’re not sure how the engine would fare pulling the little 4×4 out of sticky mud or up a steep incline.
When cruising at freeway speeds, we noted the engine to be spinning at around 2,500 to 3,000 rpm but it did so with only a moderate degree of engine noise.
Suzuki quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres for the Jimny automatic and we achieved similar figures during the test week.
On (and Off) The Road
Suzuki has designed the Jimny’s suspension and ladder frame chassis to be able to conquer a variety of rugged terrain. On the road, this translates to a very bouncy ride, yet it isn’t tiresome or sharp and brittle over potholes or other road imperfections.
A tall, narrow body and high centre of gravity equates to bundles of pronounced body roll which certainly adds to the driving experience both on and off-road.
When trekking the streets of suburbia, the recirculating ball steering system is stiff and heavy, particularly when approaching full lock. The system can become a chore to use and it may deter buyers who intend to use the Jimny for a majority of onroad work and only take it to the bush on the odd long weekend away.
Point the Jimny to a muddy track, push either 4WD or 4WD-L (Lock) button on the dashboard and the little Suzuki’s all paw grip and light weight allow it to skip over obstacles where larger off-roaders may lumber and become bogged down. The Jimny’s old-school suspension and chassis combination is well suited to uneven terrain and short front and rear overhangs help to clear obstacles when the going gets gnarly.
The Jimny’s standard safety features include dual airbags, anti-lock brakes-with drum brakes at the rear and electronic stability control. This short safety equipment list reflects the Jimny’s age, and the vehicle absence of an ANCAP rating not only puts the Jimny’s value under the microscope, but its worthiness of a place on a consumers shopping list, especially younger drivers who may consider one as a first car.
Servicing and Warranty
All Suzuki models are covered by a three-year, 100,000 kilometres warranty. Capped priced servicing is applicable for the first five years and 100,000 kilometres.
Suzuki Jimny Sierra Specs
Make and model: Suzuki Jimny Sierra
Engine type: 1328cc petrol four-cylinder engine with double overhead cam, variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
Power: 62.5kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 110Nm @ 4100rpm
Transmission: Four-speed automatic and on demand four-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres
Dimensions: 3675mm long, 1600mm wide, 1705mm high and 2250mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: 3-Link rigid with coil spring
Rear: 3-Link rigid with coil spring
Steering: Recirculating ball
Country of Origin: Japan