Inside the Suzuki Jimny
Like everything else about the Jimny, the interior is styled for a purpose – the word used at the launch was ‘functional.’ You won’t find soft-touch plastics here, it’s all about being scratch-resistant and easy to clean.
Notable touches include a lever on the transfer box, for shifting from high to low-range on the transmission. The previous version had a button, which customers told Suzuki did not feel dramatic enough to use. All the controls are chunky, and we are told specifically designed to be used while wearing gloves.
What there isn’t, however, is a great deal of room. Those who fall in love with pictures of the Jimny might be surprised to find on entering a showroom that it’s not that big a vehicle.
Occupants of both front seats will find themselves close to rubbing shoulders while the mere two rear seats are very cosy. And with them comes boot space of a whole 85 litres! It extends to 377 litres, but only if you fold those rear seats – so take the family, or the shopping, but not both…
Driving the Suzuki Jimny
Engine choices on the latest Jimny are easy as there is only one – a 1.5-litre petrol unit. No diesel is available, as Suzuki is now a petrol-only company.
This is a new engine, replacing the previous 1.3-litre unit, but not one of Suzuki’s latest Boosterjet turbos. The narrow torque band of such units does not really lend itself to what is needed in off-road situations.
Power is 101hp, torque 130Nm, the latter from 4,000 rpm. Official 0-62mph times are yet to be released and will not be that swift. Combined cycle fuel economy figures under the new WLTP measuring protocol are just 35.8mpg, and CO2 emissions an unimpressive 178g/km – though Suzuki argues that when you compare the Jimny’s price to rivals, fleet benefit-in-kind ratings will actually favour its car.
An elevated seating position, thin metal and wide glass does add up to an impressive view out of the Jimny. But what comes with it is a long gear lever which in manual form can be a little indecisive in use.
You need a lot of revs to feel like you are seriously accelerating. However, for such a high-sprung vehicle it does ride well, without the spongy chassis that used to be a marker of traditional SUVs. You don’t get a lot of feel when cornering, but equally it doesn’t dip into corners, again, like SUVs used to.
Up at speed on a fast dual carriageway or motorway and engine noise does become an issue. It is too loud – clearly, Suzuki imagines the average Jimny buyer spending most of their time not tooling up a motorway but charging across a field.
And it is in such situations that the new Jimny absolutely excels – Suzuki demonstrated this in no uncertain fashion at the launch with an off-road route that would have very soon defeated the vast majority of the small SUV market. The Jimny lapped it up – whether it was deep holes leaving one wheel suspended in mid-air, very steep gradients up and down (hill descent control is standard) or cloying mud, the car was never halted.
The retro styling is nice, but that is really a sideshow of the Suzuki Jimny. This is an SUV built to do a job of work – you’d never use the word crossover to describe a Jimny. It is a proper off-roader that will happily tackle basically anything away from the beaten track.
If you are in the market for a Jimny you will be someone who really needs a tough, go-anywhere vehicle, and then your major question will be whether it is big enough, as in the metal this is a smaller vehicle than it looks in pictures.
Decide that it’s right for you, and you will be merely left with the problem of finding a dealer able to supply one any time soon…
- Proper tough off-road ability
- Retro but practical styling
- More electronic tech
- 3-star safety rating
- Tight interior, tiny boot
- Less-than-impressive efficiency
|Make & model||Suzuki Jimny||Jeep Wrangler||Dacia Duster|
|Specification||SZ5 Allgrip||Sahara GME||Prestige 4×4|
|Price (on-road)||£18,484 (range starts £15,499)||£43,995 (range starts £43,995)||£16,695 (4×4 range starts £12,995)|
|Engine||1.5-litre petrol||2.0-litre petrol||1.6-litre petrol|
|Transmission||5-speed manual||8-speed automatic||6-speed manual|
|Power||101 hp||272 hp||115 hp|
|Torque||130 Nm||400 Nm||156 Nm|
|Top speed||90 mph||TBA||106 mph|
|Fuel economy (combined)||35.8 mpg (WLTP)
41.5 mpg (NEDC)
|31.4 mpg (NEDC)||40.4 mpg (NEDC)|
|CO2 emissions||178 g/km (WLTP)||198 g/km (NEDC)||158 g/km (NEDC)|
|Euro NCAP rating||3 stars (2018)||1 star (2018)||3 stars (2017)|