Small but perfectly formed
SUZUKI is bucking all trends with this new Jimny. In a world where new cars are getting bigger, heavier and more boring to look at than their predecessors, this new Jimny is smaller and lighter than its already diminutive forerunner.
Not only that but it is also more capable off-road and – paradoxically – for the most part bigger inside too. Suzuki has stuck to the Jimny’s roots when it comes to whom the car is aimed at.
This new version, which is due to arrive in showrooms in January, is still first and foremost an off-road vehicle.
Yes it is small – tiny even – but that means it can often get to places other 4x4s cannot because of its size. As a result, buyers will be people that need this go-anywhere capability, such as those in rural communities, off-road enthusiasts and businesses that require getting engineers to remote locations.
However this time around Suzuki can also expect a broader audience simply because of how the car looks. It expects sales to be limited by supply and has already had more than 3,000 enquiries for the new model, which equates to a waiting list of more than a year.
The unknown factor for sales is the impact the car’s styling will have on bringing in new customers. Suzuki’s designers appear to have created a car that looks spot-on for a small 4x4. From the vertical front grille with round headlights to the flared arches and the vertical rear, every inch of the Jimny looks both cute and rugged at the same time. Under the flat bonnet is a 101bhp, 1.5-litre petrol engine – there is no turbo, no hybrid tech and no other option.
In keeping with the rugged nature, Suzuki wanted to offer the Jimny with a simple engine that is designed for ease of servicing and simplicity. What it does offer over the previous model’s 1.3 is more power and more shove which translates to better off-road ability. And in keeping with the simplicity theme, the engine is matched with a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic. There is also a proper low-ratio gearbox so drivers can select between rearwheel, four-wheel or low-ratio four-wheel drive for when the going gets particularly tricky.
Setting the car up as an off-roader means that making it quick wasn’t a priority. Suzuki doesn’t yet quote an official 0 to 60mph time, although it’s likely to be around 13 seconds. It does claim a top speed of 90mph, though you might not want to go that fast in a Jimny because even at 70mph on a motorway there’s a lot of noise in the cabin. The simplicity of the 1.5-litre engine also means economy and emissions figures are on the poor side when compared to other small cars with more high-tech engines. The official average fuel economy of 41.5mpg isn’t going to break any records but then, like its straight-line performance, that isn’t why you buy a Jimny.
As you may have guessed, the car is not in any way an average small SUV and as such it should not be judged directly against
RUGGED GOOD LOOKS: The Jimny’s distinctive styling will win lots of fans while the dashboard contains plenty of state-ofthe-art features