Small but per­fectly formed

Daily Express - - MOTORING - By Tris­tan Young Edited by Nat Barnes AA Writer Of The Year World Car Of The Year Juror mo­tors@ex­

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

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