4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

PRICE $22,990 EN­GINE 1.3-litre 4-cyl petrol

THE Jimny is an old-school-tough 4x4. Old-school in this case means a sep­a­rate chas­sis and live axles back and front, just like a Toy­ota 70 Se­ries, a GU Pa­trol, a Land Rover De­fender or a Jeep Wran­gler. The Jimny comes with ei­ther a fivespeed man­ual or a four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, but in one trim level. For a num­ber of rea­sons we pre­fer the auto, but there’s a case to be made for the man­ual (the $2000 dis­count, for one).

With ei­ther man­ual or auto you get a 1.3litre four-cylin­der petrol en­gine that claims a very mod­est 62.5kw at a heady 6000rpm and 110Nm that doesn’t come on­stream un­til 4100rpm. The Jimny’s en­gine fea­tures dou­ble over­head cams, four valves per cylin­der and vari­able valve tim­ing on the in­let side, and it was in­tro­duced to the Jimny in 2005.

Off­set­ting the low power and torque num­bers is a kerb weight of just 1075kg, so in terms of power-to-weight that’s the same as hav­ing a 2150kg 4x4 with 125kw, which is not un­usual. How­ever, the en­gine still needs plenty of revs to give its best, which doesn’t help the oth­er­wise good fuel econ­omy.

The man­ual is the pick for on-road driv­ing, but the auto comes into its own of­froad – par­tic­u­larly for rock climb­ing, given the gear­ing mul­ti­plier ef­fect of the torque con­verter helps over­come the mod­est crawl ra­tio and the lack of en­gine torque at low en­gine speeds. The auto also works bet­ter in sand and has the ad­van­tage of longer high­way legs.

The Jimny ticks all the ba­sic boxes when off-road: light weight, de­cent clear­ance, gen­er­ous wheel travel (thanks to its front and rear live axles), steep ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles, a tight turn­ing cir­cle and good vis­i­bil­ity. The newly fit­ted elec­tronic trac­tion con­trol (from 2015-on) helps off-road and is a wel­come ad­di­tion.

The Jimny’s light weight makes for a fun on-road drive, but its rel­a­tively nar­row track and tall stance are lim­it­ing fac­tors when push­ing on. Sur­pris­ingly, for a very light 4x4 with front and rear live axles, ride qual­ity and gen­eral sta­bil­ity are both bet­ter than ex­pected.

The Jimny’s big lim­i­ta­tion is its size. It seats just four, and if you’re go­ing away for a bush week­end there’s re­ally only room for two peo­ple plus lug­gage. The small 40-litre fuel tank and 95RON fuel re­quire­ment are also lim­i­ta­tions you need to be aware of.

Still, the Jimny is a fun-filled, highly prac­ti­cal, down-to-earth 4x4 that’s great value for the money. Plus it’s sup­ported by a wide range of af­ter­mar­ket en­hance­ments.

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