Roadtripping with a Jimny
ALWYN VILJOEN tests Suzuki’s new go-anywhere runabout for a lady who wants to buy one
I HAVE now spent over 15 hours in the cute-as-a-button Jimny, driving as many dirt roads as I could find from Hazyview in Mpumalanga to Maritzburra, and my kidneys aren’t bleeding.
That tells you all you need to know about the soft ride the new Jimny offers.
In fact, it’s almost too soft for some of the muddy slopes I tackled, but what it loses on the bumps, it makes up on tar, where the new Jimny is as comfortable as Suzuki’s engineers could make a short, light, proper 4x4.
So you can put a “Yes” next to the question “Can I live with this car in town?”
But let not my need for harder dampers, erm, dampen your enthusiasm for this hardy little car.
Focus rather on how little fuel I used — getting over 20 km a litre by travelling at a sedate 100 on tar and averaging 14 km from each litre in town, according to the onboard computer.
Inside, I enjoyed being able to slot my music in either an SD card reader or a USB port.
The USB port has a little cover that you have to slide up with a fingernail. On a gravel road, this cover promptly slid down, requiring me to play three-finger twister to lift that little cover and slot in a memory stick or power cable at the same time.
Suzuki makes much of the big buttons and infrared touchscreeen that were designed to be used with gloves, but they clearly did not aim that little USB lid at people who will wear gloves in a car with airconditioning and a good heater. There is of course a glove box to put gloves in, but all your other paraphanelia better go in a narrow bag at the back.
The “cellphone tray” is only good when parked on the level, and the few hollows left will barely fit your smoker’s pharaphenalia.
So, yes, it’s shoulder-rubbing tight in there. This is perfect if you are taking that special someone to a romantic spot on top of a mountain. Just don’t try to load the dogs. Their drool may drown you in that tiny cabin.
What won’t drown you is rain from outside, thanks to a new drip rail all-round. At the rear this rail looks like a tiny down force wing, but it works well to stop water from running into your neck when loading stuff.
I realise for you “which model” translates to “which colour” and you are spoiled for choice, with eight colours, ranging from Jungle Green to Brisk Blue and, of course, White.
But what you should be asking is about the spec levels, and between the GA or GLX, I’d pick the GLX manual.
It can be recognised by its 15” alloy wheels, colour-coded door handles and painted exterior mirrors. Inside, it boasts climate control, electric windows and mirrors, auto LED projector headlamps, remote central locking and cruise control.
The GLX models are also fitted with Suzuki’s Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA).
This double-DIN audio system has a 7-inch infrared-touch screen with Android Auto, Apple Carplay and MirrorLink integration. The system also has Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and the most important features can be controlled by buttons on the leather-covered steering wheel.
New, but shorter
The new Jimny is the first model in automotive history that is a bit shorter than the predecessor.
Yet, there is bit more space inside and with the rear seats flat, you have enough space for a long weekend’s luggage.
The engine is larger, up from a 1,3 to a 1,5 that makes 75 kW at 6 000 rpm and 130 Nm at 4 000 rpm. These are high revolutions to do 4x4 crawling with, but somehow the engineers made the little engine deliver the goods even at just above idle.
I tried to stall it by crawling up rocky slopes in first gear with the rev needle under 1000, but the Jimny just kept on climbing.
It really can climb anywhere
I know you don’t want me to bore with the mechanicals, but at least memorise Allgrip Pro, which is at the heart of the Jimny’s formidable offroad abilities,
Unlike the old model, which had buttons, the 2018 Jimny comes with a 1970s lever to select 4x2, or 4x4 high, or the 4x4 low range transfer case.
Don’t worry about the old lever’s cable not being able to shift between 2 high and 4 high on the fly, as it is secretly still a electronic button system that shifts at up to 100 km/h.
And when 4Lo is engaged, the Jimny will crawl up anywhere while there is grip, thanks to Suzuki’s proprietary Brake Limited Slip Differential and electronic stability control systems.
The Brake LSD-system adjusts torque to the wheel with grip if another wheel on the same axle starts spinning. Below 30km/h in 4Lo, the system provides extra power to ensure it goes up where you want it to.
Brake LSD is supported by Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control, standard on both models. Hill Descent Control will maintain a descent speed of 10km/h in 4WD high range and 5 km/h in 4WD low range, which is a bit too slow for most areas.
Talking of slow, you can have a four speed automatic or a five speed manual. Don’t even think of the auto. Just trust me on this.
The GLX comes with a fouryear or 60 000 km service plan while the cheaper GA has half this — two years or 30 000 km.
All models are sold with a fiveyear or 200 000 km mechanical warranty.
Pricing (including VAT)
GA MT R264 900
GLX MT R299 900
GLX Auto R319 900
The Jimny GLX comes in eight colours. This is Jungle Green, which looks very similar to the indigenous Cannabis Sativa at the back, but its dagga-colour is not why the Jimny could drive on wet grass in 2 High. It is because this is the little 4x4 that can.