I love the Suzuki Jimny. It is not a car that follows fads or trends. It does its own thing in its own time. It will not be hurried but will get on with job when required. It’s motto is, ‘I am what I am and that’s all that I am’. It does not assume airs and graces. It is an honest car. It is anti-fashion.
If you want to glide around town looking elegant and refined then look elsewhere. If however, you have to negotiate muddy, narrow country lanes or battle through the weather against the odds to deliver your offspring to school then this is the car for you. If you need a small tough workhorse that will go off-road as if born to the task then hasten now to your Suzuki dealer.
The basic models are ideal for those of a Spartan disposition. All models have two – count them – two speakers. Only the range-topping Adventure model has navigation, Bluetooth and basic aircon but all models get a USB connection, 12v and CD player. That’s a Spartan trim level for these days alright but then this car starts at a very modest £12649. You can’t have everything.
You can see the various levels of trim and the like HERE but buyers need to be aware that when a sun visor is listed as a ‘comfort’ option you have to assume the specification is not up there with an average hatchback. The ‘leather’ option is artificial but the options list does offer items that give the proud owner a chance to individualise the Suzuki Jimny to some extent.
The car as tested was an Adventure so had the best spec. The Jimny’s high driving position gives a good view of the road ahead and all-round visibility is excellent, too.
The interior is tight but not really cramped. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and they need to be as we shall see. There’s a reasonable amount elbow and leg room and The Suzuki Jimny interior is actually quite airy because the side windows are large and there’s plenty of headroom. Very tall drivers may struggle to get comfortable because of the limited adjustment available for seat and steering wheel.
The downside is that the back seats have very little leg room and are more suitable for kids. They do fold though but not flat. As you might expect, boot space isn’t vast with just 113L behind the rear seats and 324L with them folded down. As a holiday motor it’ll be just the two of you then.
Parking is easy to judge. If you can remember life before we had sensors and you had to park a car by skill alone, you’ll be fine; but if not then you will be glad of the short overhangs so you can be sure that the corners of the car are where you think they are. That should be a slogan for the Suzuki Jimny. Learn to drive using your own skill and judgement! Now, there’s a novelty.
The Spartan Road
The ride is, shall we say, somewhat compromised on the tarmac. The ride can be jarring on all but the best of surfaces. The car jiggles and rolls and jostles and does not inspire the driver to crack on. Not that you could because the 1.3L petrol engine simply doesn’t have the power. To get any real action it is necessary to rev its socks off. Don’t bother; that is not what the Jimny is for. It belongs where hatchbacks fear to roll.
Take this car off road and you will be laughing in the face of so-called soft-roaders that have modest 4×4 abilities. This car can go anywhere short of hardcore Discovery territory and it could do it with a sheep in the back instead of children. Sure, the ride is a bit agricultural but for people who are out and about in all weathers then this little vehicle’s best attribute will be just what you need.
The Suzuki Jimny has high ground clearance and, as standard, a proper selectable four-wheel drive system with low-ratio transfer for when the going gets really sticky. It is simple yet effective. Normally running is in two wheel drive on made roads but switch to driving all four wheels (with a satisfying mechanical clonk from the diff) on the sticky stuff and drive with confidence.
The Spartan Way
The Suzuki Jimny is neither a SUV or a crossover, but rather a true and proper 4×4 vehicle, rugged and capable. It is not for the faint of heart or soft of bu bottom.
Yes, the Jimny is basic and the interior was designed when John Major was Prime Minister. Despite cosmetic embellishments it hasn’t changed much. As usual the professional pundits score it low because of its many flaws yet the people who actually buy it, the owners, by and large love this little motor.
It’s great just buzzing (and bouncing) around. You probably would not want to travel huge distances at any one time (unless your spouse was a chiropractor) but as a workhorse for country workers or a car to take surfers to the beach it does not really have an equal. The Fiat Panda 4×4 is good too but does not have the overall ability of Suzuki’s little mountain goat.
Go tell The Spartans
For the future, Jimny is set to change in 2018 and it’s a bit of a worry. What if they change the look and turn it into some sort of dinky fashion accessory? Rumour has it that the company might ditch the old-school four-wheel drive and fit – and I can scarcely bring my self to type this – the ALLGRIP system that appears on other Suzuki models. Why, it’s unconscionable.
In truth, the ALLGRIP system is very good indeed. This is the sort of thing that Suzuki do well: it’s just that it seems wrong somehow, like the slow erosion of a once great tradition. And they call it progress. Ah well…
The Suzuki Jimny is flawed, fun and very capable off-road. It might not be what you want but at these prices it might just be what you need. Geoff Maxted