Suzuki’s Jimny is a car that is favoured across the globe, especially in mountainous regions and to be honest, doesn’t look much different now, than it has done since the second generation Jimny was launched in 1981.
Jimny is properly capable however, a back-to-basics mini-suv from the Japanese maker that does not offer much in the way of technology nor mod-cons – offering instead good old mechanical fundamentals but with it a lack of refinement like you will not have experienced since the mid eighties.
Let’s start with the basics, one thing every new car should have from the factory, without having to tick an options box, is Bluetooth – the Jimny doesn’t have this, despite having an overly complicated, aftermarket DAB radio fitted with USB input.
It doesn’t offer anything inside that is aesthetically pleasing and whilst sitting touching shoulders with your passenger, the leather-like vinyl covered seating is as comfortable as sitting on a cold, damp beach with just enough room in the rear for two very young kids.
The engine and drive-train create a lot of noise, especially on a commute with any sort of speed involved and if you have ever sat in a rally car, you will be fond of the whine that the transmission and differentials make, well Jimny offers this as standard.
I could continue on with a full article on woes of Jimny (when looked at against a motorcar of double the value), but I think I have covered my main grumbles and if the truth be told could swallow all of them and still own a Jimny with pride.
You may think I am mad for that statement after a scathing attack on the main areas of what a car should be, however the Jimny isn’t like any other car, it is a tool, a very useful tool at that, and one which comes with a price tag that lets it off from major critic in many areas.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second – what else can you buy, brand spanking new, with substantial warranty, sub £15,000 that offers all of the basic amenities and will go places an acclaimed Land Rover Defender couldn’t dream of venturing?
A Suzuki Jimny – that is what! I really am struggling to place any other vehicle for sale new, in the UK, which can offer what ‘WEE JIMMY’ can – it really is, absolutely bloody outstanding!
It doesn’t need all the expensive materials, technological clutter and vastness of room to make it a good car, because as a non-commuter, point-to-point vehicle, it is great. Suited for the school run and rural living equally.
This top of the range SZ4 model tested priced at £14,784 is finished in Quasar grey and features 15-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, rear privacy glass and electric windows alongside air conditioning and a pair of ISOFIX child seat anchorages in the rear.
Load space is restricted, but suitable for a sports bag and rucksack whilst with the rear seats folded and tilted in a postman pat’s van-like way, two Labradors and their owners would fit with ease within the Jimny.
The entry level SZ3 model can be had from as little as £12,999 and all are equipped with an ultra-reliable 1.3L petrol engine producing 83bhp with 81lb/ft and paired to either a five-speed manual ‘box or optional four-speed auto ‘box.
On the manual model tested, a top speed of 87mph can be had if you are brave enough with a 0-62mph time of 14.1 seconds – it’s never going to set your world on fire, but it will get you there, no matter what the conditions and terrain.
Suzuki’s all-wheel-drive system features a transfer box with high or low ratio four-wheel-drive which can be switched on the move via buttons on the dash. For normal driving, Jimny is rear-wheel-drive however at speed of up to around 60mph, four-wheel-drive high can be selected and for those rugged driving moments, four-wheel-drive low can be selected once stationary.
On-road, this quirky little Suzuki is great around town as well as puddle hopping between villages, but on a motorway commute is a little too light and wanders on the road whilst being a little harsh on anything but the motorway.
Off-road however, or on slow moving snow or water covered roads, the Jimny is perfectly at home – I ventured into Ireland Off-road Experience within Clandeboye Estate in Bangor with ‘Wee Jimmy’ to see just what he was made of, and I corroborate, this Suzuki is made of very strong stuff.
I have had several 4×4 vehicles in this venue over the years of testing cars and many would struggle to complete most of the obstacles and challenges around the tracks, but the Jimny went beyond all probability and left me stunned.
It is no secret that this mini-suv is well known as the steed of choice for those who enjoy an adventure off-road but I will hand on heart say that its ability was nothing short of inspirational.
Smart in the city – tough in the rough, that is what can be said for Suzuki Jimny and the 25,000 loyal owners in the UK cannot be wrong – Jimny is doing something right – it is purposeful and I get it!
Suzuki offer a three-year / 60,000 mile warranty as standard and if life was just me, the wife and dogs, and we lived a little more rural than we do, it would be ideal as a van-like mode of transport, rear seats removed for the hounds, as a guaranteed way of getting anywhere, no matter what the weather!
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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