04 Jul 2022

MOTORING REVIEW: Suzuki’s tiny Jimny is a true off-roader

MOTORING REVIEW: Suzuki’s tiny Jimny is a true off-roader

Trish's little Jimny is big on versatile

SUZUKI'S Jimny has attracted both private users and professionals looking for a vehicle with authentic off-road performance since its global launch in 2018. It has all the necessary key essentials - a ladder frame, three angles, 3-link rigid axle suspension and AllGrip Pro 4WD.

The Japanese car maker has now introduced its diminutive Jimny as a two-seater light commercial vehicle in order to get around tighter C02 emissions restrictions for cars. So the model is only offered as a commercial vehicle and available here in very limited numbers as demand is high for this cheerful, rugged looking small SUV which has a personality all its own.

Its cheerful look brought a smile to my face every day.

It is aimed at singles or couples with very active life styles, or trades people who need to carry equipment to perhaps building sites, or perhaps forestry workers who need a genuine off-road vehicle for their work.

Jimny is tall, almost square in shape. The car’s off-road appearance is emphasised by black wheel arches and the strong 15-inch steel wheels that extend to each corner of the vehicle and its ground clearance of 210mm.

It seems way more spacious once you sit inside. But don’t expect many creature comforts. That’s not what Jimny is about. Two adults can sit in comfort and enjoy plenty of headroom. Legroom, though, is a bit restricted for a tall driver who may find it difficult to get a good driving position. A motoring friend said this divider keeps the backrests very upright which meant his seat was too close to the steering wheel for comfort. Being shorter, I had no such problems.

The dash is big and solid, somewhat old fashioned, but it fits in perfectly with the character of the Jimny. There’s just a small central console screen and knobs for temperature controls.

You also get deep side mirrors, a traditional type hand brake and a full size spare wheel mounted on the tailgate.

Side windows have been retained and this helps enormously with visibility over your shoulders. It was also a bonus to be able to see out the rear window, courtesy of the strong mesh safety partition that protects any cargo from shunting into the cabin. It certainly meets the needs of business professionals with its flat floor and 863 litre capacity cargo ‘boot’ ideal for carrying large, bulky items. A friend’s huge Burmese Mountain Dog decided to try out this area for himself and seemed very happy with the space provided. He obviously expected to be transported off to a nearby wood for exercise.

Yes, there were some quibbles mostly to do with the flashing glare from the two recessed instrumentation screens, and the fact there was no blind spot cover, or rear parking sensors.

The one specification includes air conditioning, AllGrip Pro selectable 4WD with low transfer gear, DAB radio, Dual Sensor Brake Support which employs automatic braking to help avoid a collision, cruise control with speed limiter, front fog lamps, High Beam Assist, Bluetooth, remote audio controls and a USB connector, Hill hold and Hill descent controls.

Jimny is offered with a Euro6, 1.5 petrol engine with 101hp and 130Nm of torque, matched to a five-speed manual transmission which works absolutely fine, but I felt, particularly on the motorway, the engine was a bit noisy and could benefit from having a sixth gear.

Suzuki’s AllGrip Pro system allows you shift the drive mode between 2WD high range and 4WD high range by shifting the ‘2H’ or ‘4H’ position.

With 2-wheel drive the engine power is supplied to the rear axle for normal driving. In 4H (4-wheel drive high range position), engine power goes to the front and rear axles at normal speed, providing greater traction than the 2WD position. This is used for off-road driving or when you drive on slippery roads. With the 4L 4WD low range position, the engine power is supplied to the front and rear axles at reduced speed. You use this for off-road driving on soft or slippery surfaces or for climbing or descending steep and slippery hills.

After shifting the transfer lever from 2H to 4H, the 4WD indicator light comes on. It goes off when you shift from 4H back to 2H. Operate the transfer lever while driving at low speed.

Select the ‘4L’ position and the ESP systems will be cancelled to provide improved vehicle traction.

During my week with the car, I achieved 7.2 L/100kms (39mpg) average fuel economy which isn’t that great. That aside, I found this little motor so much fun to drive. Willing and able as well as agile, turning on a small space. I also noted all the glances from other drivers and pedestrians.

Jimny can tow a braked trailer of 1300kg (2866 lbs), or unbraked 350kg (772 lbs).

It is priced from €20,995 which includes Commercial Vehicle VRT, and a solid colour with optional single-tone metallic paint at €370 and dual-tone metallic at €750.

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