There are two kinds of people in the world, those who love and thrive in the outdoor and those who prefer the comfort of their homes. I definitely do not belong to the latter group. Of those who are outdoor based, there is a healthy portion who consider going to the mall as outdoors, shopping can never be classified as an adventure.
And of the lot that is actually adrenalin and adventure driven, they too, can be classified into two; the minimalists and those who wish to carry their homes with whenever they go out to play.
The Jimny made its debut back in 1970 and has sold more than three million units around the world. And, the new Jimny has been with us for a little while now (replacing the older model after a successful 20-year life cycle), to date Suzuki South Africa is still fighting endless piles of applications of “wanna-be” new owners of this little mountain goat.
I want to think that the latest Suzuki Jimny will appeal to the minimalists more, or the young at heart. It is after all a funky toy that everybody loves, especially in that “green” it comes out with. Two specified models are available, namely the GA and the GLX.
Styling (Exterior and interior):
Just so that we have it on record, the “green” colour we have seen on our roads is in actual fact officially called Kinetic Yellow, according to Suzuki. Compared to the previous model the new one is boxier (which I like a lot and this pays direct homage to the original LJ Series), comes across with toyish retro design, almost as if it is some over-sized radio-controlled car that one can pick up with one hand. It is that compact, having retained the traditional three doors we have known it by.
The front end has kept the round headlights (with washing water spray on the GLX) as the previous generation, the difference being that these ones are LED. The round orange indicators have also remained. Both the front and rear bumpers are angled thus making sure one can venture deeper into rougher tracks.
The upright A-pillars allow for the roof to carry more weight for things such as roof rack or rooftop tent. And, the moulded wheel arches keep painted surfaces away from the rocks and the squared off design allows for more wheel travel.
As before, the full spare wheel is mounted on the rear door for easy access thus also saving space at the bottom, hence an impressive 49-degree departure angle. Rear lights are mounted horizontally on the bumper.
The Jimny has the following dimensions:
Wheelbase – 2 250mm
Length – 3 625mm (which is 50 mm shorter than the previous, thanks to a redesigned bumper)
Width – 1 645 (45 mm than the previous)
The retro styling continues inside the cabin, and it is very practical. The design of the instrument cluster, dashboard, the partly exposed door panels and rear luggage area remind drivers of the 50-year heritage, while also incorporating improvement feedback from owners of these previous models.
A modern 7” infra-red touch screen is very user-friendly and as expected easily links any smartphone (also has radio, USB and SD card slot). A leather covered steering wheel has hands-free phone, audio and Bluetooth controls. As tiny as the Jimny may appear, I remember spending about 8 days continuously, on very rough terrain, and the seats had adequate padding for comfort.
The rear seats fold down to offer more space at the rear, as there is not much of a boot. It is after all a compact SUV.
There was a time when the Bridgestone 4×4 Club Challenge was an annual event to look forward to, and I have been lucky enough to represent Suzuki SA in one year in the previous 1.3-litre Jimny. The many people I came across at the time had no clue of the off-road capabilities of the Jimny.
The current generation Jimny is powered by a 1.5-litre VVT petrol motor that is capable of 75 kW of power at 6000 rpm (yes, these Japanese engines do like to rev slightly higher than other cars and I found the older Jimny happier around 4 400 rpm).
A torque of 130 Nm is achieved at 4000 rpm. This powerplant will either be matched to a 4-speed automatic gearbox or a 5-manual gearbox. The test vehicle was an automatic and Suzuki has confirmed the manual derivative to test towards end of February, 2020.
Shifting from 4×2, 4×4 and 4×4 low range is done mechanically via smaller gear knob (yay!). I cannot say I liked the electronic version of the older Jimny. AllGrip Pro 4×4 with brake LSA as standard.
Our mountain goat has a ground clearance of 210 mm and an approach angle of 37-degrees. The breakover angle is 28-degrees. The Jimny may not be a fast and powerful 4×4, but it does put a lot of these bigger boys to shame, especially because of its dimensions, though it does not have any locking differentials.
1.5i GA MT (2-yr/60 000km service plan) – M264 900
1.5i GLX MT – M299 900
1.5i GLX AT – M319 900
The price includes 5-yr/200 000km promotional warranty and a 4-yr/60 000km service plan.
(Additional M1 500 on any model for a metallic paint)
My Final Thoughts:
Owning a Suzuki Jimny is very much like belonging to a cult. Those who drive them enjoy them wholeheartedly and there is no convincing them otherwise.
It is a compact and practical SUV, much suited to the minimalist bona-fide overlander and off-road enthusiast. It is a very capable little SUV with a very big heart and attitude. Its DNA is similar to that of a Jack Russel that fears nothing and will challenge anything.
I did find the 4-speed gearbox to hunt between the upper gears and I am hoping to find solace in the manual derivative, which I will be test driving soon. The suspension is also on the soft side and I was comfortable commanding the Jimny at speeds no more 110 km/h. Obviously this can be easily overcome by a suitable after-market suspension.
I am yet to see and experience a car in the compact SUV class that can outdo the Jimny on the off-road capability department. It is no coincidence it is called a mountain goat. It is no coincidence that it has such a rich history and such a huge following.