2017 Suzuki Jimny

The last time I had a Suzuki Jimmy press car was back in 2015, which you can read about - here - and being honest, I could quite easily copy & paste the entire article as nothing has changed.  Back then I used it for the usual off-road trips and the daily commute, but it's biggest test was the 300 mile, 7 hour round trip to Powys to interview both Paul at Prolinx and Gwyn Lewis for the AWDC magazine. It performed much better than I could have ever imagined.

Three years on and and after a raft of C Segment AWDs I felt the need to reacquaint myself with a proper 4x4 again, so after a quick chat with the friendly PR team at Suzuki one arrived a week or 2 later.

On the road

Being mid December it was quite cold and for once at Muddy Towers we had some snow, not a lot, but enough to make driving a little more entertaining.

For our first journey, albeit to ASDA and back, I was reminded of some of the Jimny’s foibles; it’s quite narrow, there’s no adjustment on the steering wheel so getting in and out is a bit awkward and the whole dash is made from hard plastic, so things slide around a lot.  None of these idiosyncrasies would ever stop me from buying one mind.

Our second trip was further afield.  We were invited on the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class launch which involved a 2-1/2 hour journey to Telford, the RAF museum in Cosford to be precise, where we left the little Jimny and drove an X-Class to Portmeirion for an overnight stay.

Obviously the Jimny isn’t a huge 4x4, and two overnight carry-ons easily fills the boot, but as we had a few more bits and pieces with us I lowered the rear seats for extra space.  With the rear seats upright you have 113ltrs and down there's 324ltrs.

A random piece of information is that my Aunty has a Jimny, and on the day it was bought she lowered the rear seats to get her shopping in, and has never raised them since.

Motorway driving in the Jimny isn’t as tiresome as you might imagine for a small car, in fact I’d go as far as saying it’s pleasant, but the 85bhp does run out of umph at the top end, and that goes for long hills too.

As you would expect, go bombing along undulating country lanes and its on-road manners change as it’s a tad pitchy. However, that's completely forgivable.

The Jimny has a separate, full box-section chassis and rigid front and rear axles, none of that soft independent suspension nonsense here!  Adding to it's ruggedness you have long-travel coil springs and gas dampers, pretty much like you find on 'real' off-roaders of old.  As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, why fix it?  To aid its on-road enjoyment, and safety I suppose, Suzuki added ESC (Electronic Stability Control) as standard equipment back in 2015.

Off road

If you’ve been around 4x4s for a while you’ll know that the Jimny is pretty much unstoppable off the beaten track, and that's before you fit it with mud tyres!

It's a rare thing these days, with 190mm ground clearance, approach and departure angles of 34° and 46° respectively and a ramp angle of 31°, the Jimny is built for and designed to cope with off-road conditions, which it handles with ease.

I didn't venture too far off the beaten track in the Jimny, just some local green-lanes, and to be fair I didn't even need to engage 4WD.  Off-road and fitted with the correct tyres, the little Jimny often defies belief, it's so agile and lightweight.

Interior

As I mentioned earlier, its interior is quite snug, especially for me at 6ft 2" and nearly 19-stone, though not uncomfortably so, I spent 7-hours driving 300 miles around south Wales in one don't forget. The front seat are lovely, but I wouldn't know about the rears as I figured getting into the back would too much like hard work!

Engines ’n’ transmissions 

Noting has changed here, you still have only one engine available and that's the 16 valve, 1.3 litre petrol engine that offers 84bhp. 

Transmission wise, you have the option of a manual or automatic gearbox and both have selectable four-wheel drive with high and low ratios with automatic freewheeling hubs.

Performance wise, the manual gearbox will get you to 60mph in 14.1 seconds and reach 87mph, which is 3 seconds quicker and 3mph faster than the auto.  Fuel consumption are similar with a combined 39.8mpg for the manual and 38.7mpg for the auto.

Conclusion

The Jimny isn't for everyone of course, it's off-road pedigree means that its on-road experience can be described as lacking.  I'm not criticising it because it is what it is. Heck, I'd buy one tomorrow if I had the spare cash!  Like I've said previously about Defenders and the Mercedes G-Class, you don't buy one because you want a 4×4, you buy one because you want one.

With so many ‘soft’ AWD cars knocking around these days we really should applaud Suzuki for not giving up on the Jimny, and if the rumours are true there's a new one due at the end of 2018.

Website: www.suzuki.co.uk
Prices: £12,999 - £15,784