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Suzuki Jimny 2019 REVIEW – The ultimate small off-road vehicle


Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

Not only that but it is also more capable off-road and – paradoxically – for the most part bigger inside too.

Suzuki has stuck to the Jimny’s roots when it comes to whom the car is aimed at.

This new version, which is due to arrive in showrooms in January, is still first and foremost an off-road vehicle.

Yes it is small – tiny even – but that means it can often get to places other 4x4s cannot because of its size.

As a result, buyers will be people that need this go-anywhere capability, such as those in rural communities, off-road enthusiasts and businesses that require getting engineers to remote locations.

However, this time around Suzuki can also expect a broader audience simply because of how the car looks.

It expects sales to be limited by supply and has already had more than 3,000 enquiries for the new model, which equates to a waiting list of more than a year.

The unknown factor for sales is the impact the car’s styling will have on bringing in new customers.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

Suzuki’s designers appear to have created a car that looks spot-on for a small 4×4. From the vertical front grille with round headlights to the flared arches and the vertical rear, every inch of the Jimny looks both cute and rugged at the same time.

Under the flat bonnet is a 101bhp, 1.5-litre petrol engine – there is no turbo, no hybrid tech and no other option.

In keeping with the rugged nature, Suzuki wanted to offer the Jimny with a simple engine that is designed for ease of servicing and simplicity.

What it does offer over the previous model’s 1.3 is more power and more shove which translates to better off-road ability.

And in keeping with the simplicity theme, the engine is matched with a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

There is also a proper low-ratio gearbox so drivers can select between rearwheel, four-wheel or low-ratio four-wheel drive for when the going gets particularly tricky.

Setting the car up as an off-roader means that making it quick wasn’t a priority. Suzuki doesn’t yet quote an official 0 to 60mph time, although it’s likely to be around 13 seconds.

It does claim a top speed of 90mph, though you might not want to go that fast in a Jimny because even at 70mph on a motorway there’s a lot of noise in the cabin.

The simplicity of the 1.5-litre engine also means economy and emissions figures are on the poor side when compared to other small cars with more high-tech engines.

The official average fuel economy of 41.5mpg isn’t going to break any records but then, like its straight-line performance, that isn’t why you buy a Jimny.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

As you may have guessed, the car is not in any way an average small SUV and as such it should not be judged directly against those that cannot go as far off-road as the baby Suzuki.

In terms of the on-road experience the Jimny is noisy, suffers from excessive body roll when cornering and has vague steering which makes it difficult to place the car accurately on the road.

This certainly is not a vehicle you would want for long journeys.

However the ride comfort is particularly good for such a small car and visibility and manoeuvrability are first rate thanks to squared-off edges to the bonnet and a decently high driving position.

But take it off-road and you’ll soon see why you would choose it, as the low weight and small frame mean you can pick your way to off-road destinations with confidence.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

The low-ratio gearbox helps tremendously but Suzuki has added an electronic hill descent control that will “walk” the car down more serious slopes at a consistent 5mph.

Inside, the Jimny is better designed so it feels much larger than before. Shoulder room is better for the driver and front-seat passenger.

Despite the lack of reach adjustment for the steering wheel, taller drivers can find a comfortable driving position and will not feel too cramped.

The two rear seats are just about big enough for adults but Suzuki expects most owners to keep them folded, which is good because the one exception to that increase in interior space is the boot.

With the rear seats up, the boot has shrunk to a near-pointless 85 litres. You will need to fold the rear seats flat if you want to do the weekly shopping.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

However with the seats down there is 377 litres available below the window line, or 830 if loaded to the roof.

Suzuki has kept the rugged feel for the dashboard too, which means the materials used are hard-wearing plastics which are appropriate here but may surprise buyers coming out of more modern cars with soft-touch trim.

The dashboard look may be dated in terms of materials used but the level of equipment is not.

In the top SZ5 trim level, which is expected to take 70 per cent of sales, there is everything you would expect from a car launched in 2018 – climate control, cruise control and satnav as well as lane departure and collision warnings.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

There are no exact rivals to the Jimny given its size and price and how far it will go off-road.

Perhaps the closest rival is the Fiat Panda 4×4 which is a better car on the road but would be left behind off-road – and also doesn’t look anywhere near as good.

Whether the Jimny is a good car or not depends on your perspective. There’s no doubt Suzuki has achieved what it set out to do – build the ultimate small off-road vehicle.

The styling may, however, attract people who just want one because it looks ace. So they might be disappointed if they only ever drive it on the road.

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review

Suzuki Jimny 2019 review (Image: SUZUKI)

LOGBOOK LOWDOWN

Model: Suzuki Jimny ”

On sale: January

Est price: £16,000-£17,500

Engine range: Petrol – 1.5-litre

Power: 0 to 60mph in 13.0 seconds, 90mph top speed

Average fuel economy: 41.5mpg

CO2 emissions: 178-198g/km

Rivals: Fiat Panda 4×4

Rating: 9/10



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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