An af­ford­able way to go on an ad­ven­ture

MO­TOR SHOWS/ Suzuki’s new Jimny SUV pre­viewed at Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­ing ahead of its Novem­ber de­but, writes De­nis Droppa

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Suzuki’s iconic Jimny has gained a long­stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion as a lit­tle 4x4 with a big heart, and de­spite its hum­ble power it’s al­ways had the abil­ity to tackle of­froad trails like SUVs twice its price.

The all-new Jimny is set to fill its pre­de­ces­sor’s muddy shoes when it goes on sale here in Novem­ber, but visi­tors to this past week­end’s Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­ing at Kyalami were given a sneak pre­view.

With prices to start at an es­ti­mated R265,000 for the three­model range, the Jimny will con­tinue to be the most af­ford­able way to go ex­plor­ing the un­tarred wilder­ness, al­beit now with some in­te­rior mod­erni­sa­tion and a bit more thrust un­der the hood. A 1.5l four-cylin­der petrol en­gine with out­puts of 75kW and 130Nm re­places the old 63kW/110Nm 1.3l unit, and this feeds both axles through ei­ther a five-speed man­ual or four­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The slightly larger new en­gine is lighter and more ef­fi­cient than its fore­run­ner, lead­ing to a claimed 14% fuel con­sump­tion im­prove­ment.

As be­fore, the Jimny’s built on a sturdy lad­der-frame chas­sis (al­beit now with 1.5 times more tor­sional rigid­ity) and em­ploys rigid front and rear axles with coil spring sus­pen­sion for max­i­mum of­froad­ing abil­ity, but its leg­endary ter­rain-tack­ling skills have been fur­ther up­rated by im­prov­ing the ap­proach an­gle from 35° to 37°, the breakover an­gle from 27° to 28°, and the depar­ture an­gle from 46° to 49°. Ground clear­ance has im­proved from 190mm to 210mm.

SEC­OND GEAR LEVER

The Al­lGrip Pro part-time 4x4 sys­tem al­lows the driver to use a sec­ond gear lever to switch be­tween rear-wheel drive and 4x4 high and 4x4 low range, while of­froad trac­tion is en­hanced by a sta­bil­ity control sys­tem and lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial.

To make steep hills eas­ier to nav­i­gate for the driver, the Jimny also comes with a Hill Hold and Hill De­scent Control.

All this trail-tam­ing abil­ity is pack­aged into a new body with the quintessen­tially boxy styling of its fore­bears. The bold and an­gu­lar de­sign is rem­i­nis­cent of the first Suzuki LJ (the Jimny’s pre­de­ces­sor) launched back in 1970, as are the round head­lamps with the sep­a­rate round or­ange in­di­ca­tors.

The new Jimny adds some unique fea­tures of its own, which in­clude a full drip rail around the roof, which al­lows for the fit­ment of a num­ber of roof rails and other ac­ces­sories.

The cabin also borrows from the Jimny’s past with its ex­posed painted me­tal win­dow frames and three-layer dash­board, but it’s been mod­ernised for more com­fort with front seats that are longer and wider and have an im­proved slid­ing range to ac­com­mo­date taller driv­ers.

Front legroom has grown by 30mm and rear legroom by 40mm to make this the roomi­est Jimny yet. In­te­rior prac­ti­cal­ity has im­proved with the ad­di­tion of some smart­phone­sized stor­age bins.

In the more ex­pen­sive GLX model a 17.8cm touch­screen smart­phone in­ter­face with Blue­tooth, Ap­ple Carplay, An­droid Auto and Mir­ror Link brings the new Jimny into the 21st cen­tury.

The lug­gage area on mod­els with split seats is cov­ered in hardy moulded plas­tic and has sev­eral tie-down hooks, and a 12V socket (on the GLX).

Both the GA and GLX spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els are sold stan­dard with a full-sized spare wheel, ABS brakes, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity control and dual front airbags.

The GLX ver­sion in ad­di­tion comes with a leather-cov­ered mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel, elec­tric win­dows, 15-inch al­loy wheels, LED pro­jec­tor head­lamps, cruise control, re­mote key­less ac­cess, front fog lights, split rear seats that fold flat into the floor and the choice of an auto gear­box (the GA is only avail­able as a man­ual).

The all-new Jimny will be in SA’s show­rooms on Novem­ber 1 and es­ti­mated pric­ing, which in­cludes a ser­vice plan and me­chan­i­cal war­ranty, is:

Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4x4 GA Man­ual: R265,000 (es­ti­mated)

Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4x4 GLX Man­ual: R300,000 (es­ti­mated)

Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4x4 GLX Auto: R320,000 (es­ti­mated)

Left: There’s now more power un­der that iconic boxy de­sign. Far left: The cabin has been mod­ernised and made larger. Be­low: It’s even more of­froad ca­pa­ble with higher ground clear­ance and a lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial.

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