It’s been a long wait but Suzuki’s highly revered and anticipated Jimny is finally here.
Revealed at the 2018 Johannesburg Festival of Motoring in Johannesburg – the all-new Suzuki Jimny looks set to continue where the old model left off, offering enthusiasts of weekend off-road driving jaunts an affordable but importantly capable alternative.
So what exactly is it that made it special?
Some years back I and a few media took to an off-road track with what is considered proper off-road equipment, level 5 stuff so to speak. Without naming brands, we were in Mitsubishi Pajeros. However, we weren’t at a truly treacherous spot. Just a fairly challenging track. And since it was during the weekend this meant ordinary members of society were also in the mix. What struck me about that entire episode was realizing that a privately owned Suzuki Jimny – the former model- was matching the sizeable Shoguns pound-for-pound; hole-for-hole. And this was its USP, including the very accessible price being asked for.
The old Jimny wasn’t much of a looker however, this could never deter anyone from acknowledging it capabilities. There were many a pretty SUV on sale which could never tackle even 20 percent of what the Suzuki sneezed at. The new car’s bolder, angular styling which is reminiscent of some iconic bundu-bashers like the Mercedes-AMG G63: Jeep’s Wrangler and to some margin I can spot a bit of Hummer in its aesthetics
Suzuki though says that styling elements are suggestive of the first LJ and second generation SJ model ranges. These would be –
- The round headlamps and separate round orange indicators of the LJ10, the first generation;
- Side bonnet slits and an angular front windscreen from the SJ series – the first range to be called Giant Killer by the 4×4 community;
- Steel wheels similar to the SJ series on the GA spec level;
- A clamshell bonnet and upright grille like the SJ and previous generation Jimny;
- A moulded rear bumper with lights in the furthermost corners, like the SJ series.
The company also mentions a few clever features which are unique to the new car and likely to be useful in ownership such as a full drip rail around the roof, which is both functional in rain and off-road conditions and which allows for the easy fitment of a number of roof rails and other accessories.
One of the characteristics of the previous Jimny was the 1.3-litre engine. With understandably modest power outputs, it required a certain way of driving to successfully scale challenges. At times you’d need to use all of puny power and at other times, a simple pursuit of momentum won the day. It’s part of the charm and experience in that you have to be fully engaged, aware and precise of your inputs at all times unlike bigger, rudely powerful and expensive off-roaders where you simply need to boss past any obstacle.
Within the new Jimny’s bonnet confines is a new 1,5 litre four cylinder unit with 75 kW at 6 000 rpm and 130 Nm at 4 000 rpm. It may be a larger capacity motor nor is it turbocharged. This means that the power output between the pair is great and thus, the same engagement required is retained. Suzuki says the new K15B-engine is 15% lighter than the outgoing mill, a higher compression ratio and overall improvement in efficiency in the shape of a 14% decrease in fuel usage than both the manual and automatic versions of its predecessor. The improved engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and an optional four-speed automatic gearbox in GLX specification.
Its diminutive size is but one of its weapons against larger alternatives. Don’t assume that it’s smooth sailing all the way for thin off-roaders, there can be scary moments as the Jimny generally doesn’t fit in the tracks of larger alternatives, forcing drivers to continue largely tilted on off road courses.
However advantages when off-road include fantastic turning circles, making the Jimny one of the fastest cars on any circuit on and day.
For the new models Suzuki has fitted a new 4×4 system called AllGrip Pro®, which allows the driver to comfortably switch between 4×2 (rear-wheel drive), 4×4 high and 4×4 low range with a secondary gear lever. This system is supported by both the vehicle stability control (ESP) and a new Brake-enabled Limited Slip Differential system.
Its off-road arsenal also includes new design coil springs, shock absorbers and boasts a 210 mm ground clearance, 20 mm more than before.
Based on a new ladder frame the Jimny’s wheelbase remains unchanged at 2 250 mm, but has increased front and rear track by 40 mm and 45 mm width. The overall vehicle length has been shortened by 50 mm, thanks in part to the new moulded bumpers, in the process improving on the Jimny’s approach angle from 35 degrees to 37 degrees and a breakover angle is now up to 28 degrees from 27 degrees. Departure angle is said to have improved significantly from 46 degrees to 49 degrees.
The refinements are said to also extend to the cabin. Driver and passenger comfort and added practical storage concepts are said to be better.
For the local market, Suzuki has added its 7” SLDA – smartphone linkage display – to the new GLX-specification. This large touch screen is fitted with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Mirror Link to accommodate most smartphones’ in-car features and voice control functionality available in the market today.
It’s quite a comprehensive list of refinement over the old car and the new range is priced as thus:
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4×4 GA Manual: R265 000 (estimated)
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4×4 GLX Manual: R300 000 (estimated)
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4×4 GLX Auto: R320 000 (estimated)
The all-new Jimny will be available to customers from 1 November.