First drive Suzuki Jimny

The Herald Magazine - - etc DRIVE - JACK EVANS

THE cult clas­sic re­turns – it’s the all-new Suzuki Jimny. The pre­vi­ous (and third) gen­er­a­tion spanned a decade and gained a de­served rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing bril­liant off-road, in­cred­i­bly re­li­able and cheap to buy as well. Now, there’s a new one. It may fol­low a sim­i­lar plat­form – its chas­sis is still a lad­der frame de­sign, for ex­am­ple - but a va­ri­ety of tweaks and touches have been im­ple­mented to make this Jimny just a lit­tle more grown-up, but no less bul­let-proof. We headed out to Frank­furt to see if it can match its pre­de­ces­sor’s form.

The fun­da­men­tals re­main de­light­fully sim­ple. And while other small off-road­ers choose elec­tron­ics to help when the ter­rain gets sticky, the Jimny still of­fers a proper four-wheel-drive sys­tem, with trans­fer gear and three-link rigid axle sus­pen­sion.

There’s a new pow­er­train – more on this shortly - and while the new Jimny is ac­tu­ally shorter than the car it re­places, it’s able to of­fer up bet­ter in­te­rior space and pas­sen­ger legroom thanks to an in­crease in the front and rear seat hip points. All of these fea­tures mean that while the new Jimny is no less ca­pa­ble off-road, it’s a lit­tle eas­ier to live with.

Un­der­neath the Jimny’s short, snub nose beats a 1.5-litre four-cylin­der petrol en­gine with 101bhp. In reg­u­lar modes, it runs in rear-wheel-drive, send­ing power to the wheels through a five-speed man­ual box (an au­to­matic will be avail­able from launch too).

The whole driv­e­train can be switched into

The re­doubtable Suzuki Jimny will tackle ter­rain likely to leave other so-called off-road­ers floun­der­ing

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