…if you can still find one out there
I DROVE Suzuki’s funkylooking new Jimny the other week.
It was a strange event.
Well, maybe not the event itself but the situation surrounding it.
It transpires only 600 Jimnys are coming to the UK and most of that pitifully small allotment are already spoken for. So publicity is the last thing Suzuki UK wants.
Not sure what the collective noun for a load of motoring journalists is (it’s probably unprintable) but there we were being asked not to write reams about this new Jimny but, instead, the new Vitara’s soft-touch dashboard.
So there we are. Consider the dashboard (not actually that soft to touch in reality) duly mentioned.
You might wonder. I know we did. It’s all about emissions – or CO2 to be precise. For exactly the same reason you can’t get your sticky mitts on the sublime Renault Sport Megane this side of a potential blue moon, the Jimny is in short supply because it coughs out more than its fair share of greenhouse gasses.
Suzuki, like any other manufacturer, will therefore be fined by some department in Brussels/Strasbourg (delete as applicable) if their group CO2 output exceeds 90g/km.
So the Jimny, which emits an official WLTP 178g/km, is an unhelpful addition to Suzuki’s current line-up, particularly if sold in large numbers.
The fact it’s Euro6 compliant appears not to matter a jot.
Here’s an interesting point. While manufacturers have known something like this was going to happen for a couple of years, the details have only been made clear in the last 12 months.
That’s a rubbish situation, when product planning and sales forecasting can take up to five years. But hands are tied and it is what it is.
The Jimny looks better in the flesh than it does in pics. Sort of rugged and purposeful. Tonka-ish yet cute and fun, like some kind of Manga toy that mated with an H3 Hummer.
The reality is that underneath it’s just an old Jimny with a 35mm wider track and a more rigid body.
Yes, it’s still a bit of a horror show on tarmac – skittering and jittering over bumps with loads of body lean and a distinct lack of refinement on almost every level – but it’s soon forgiven.
After the first few metres of tricky off-road driving – transmission locked in low-ratio – everything becomes crystal clear and the Jimny really comes into its own. Even on road-spec Bridgestone Dueler tyres, this lightweight, all-wheel drive Tonka toy will go pretty much anywhere.
Because of the comically short front and rear overhangs it’ll cope with pretty severe gradients without chinning itself or grounding out its rear end.
The only shortfall is its traversing capability because it’s so narrow and tall. Even so, what it can do off-road will make your eyeballs bulge.
And that’s the whole point of a Jimny – this is pocket-sized Land Rover/G-Wagon go-anywhere territory…at a quarter of the price.
The Jimny might be the difference between starving and eating when you live in the Cairngorms and it’s been snowing hard for a week. It’s simply a motorised goat with a decent heater and space for four adults.
Fold the back seats flat and there’s room for two adults and a boot-full of crazed border collies.
This is a car I could own if I lived back in my native Lake District. It would have a tow bar and a spare set of wheels with snow boots on. The tow bar would allow it to occasionally perform the function of a small but cheap tractor.
Trouble is, if I did want one I probably couldn’t have one because there won’t be enough to go around.
Did I mention the soft-touch Vitara dashboard?
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■RUGGED: Jimny’s a star off-road but not so great on the tarmac