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Suzuki’s little rough ‘n tough Jimny


THERE are no two ways about it, the Suzuki Jimny is a bit of an odd ball, but, despite being on sale for many years now, it has been given a few facelifts to keep it looking fresh. I recently got behind the wheel of the latest model to see what this little tyke is all about.

Yes, it is small, but they say, dynamite comes in small packages. Is that the case with the Jimny? Well it does look slightly aggressive thanks to its mean little face. Suzuki has also fitted an air scoop to the bonnet but it’s just for show, really. The blacked-out headlights also give the Jimny a mean look.

Its small and boxy shape does have some advantage. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz GLE coupé that I’m currently driving, the Jimny is extremely easy to park and it offers great visibility from inside the cabin. Oh, and, talking about the cabin, well it is a bit cramped in there, especially for rear passengers. The Jimny does have rear seats but due to the fact that I really enjoy my pies, I struggled to get in and out. The boot is also rather small. Thankfully, the rear seat-backs do fold flat. In that case, the Jimny is ideal for those adventure couples out there. Two people with a few travelling bags headed off to some remote part of the country, like Vryheid.

Interior spec is on the light side. All the must-have bits are their; radio/CD, electric windows, aircon, two airbags and, umm, that’s it, really. The Jimny is a simple car, which isn’t a bad thing, to be honest. We are sometimes overwhelmed by all sorts of gadgets, some of which we will never actually use.

Regarding the drive offered by the Jimny, let’s just say, you can forget everything you know about how a modern car drives. The Jimny is an experience all on its own. Imagine driving a Land Rover Defender that shrunk in the wash. The Jimny does have Electronic Stability Control as standard as well as ABS. It’s powered by an all-alloy 16-valve 1.3-litre engine, which benefits from variable valve timing, which develops 63kW and 110Nm. The model I drove was fitted with an automatic gearbox but I think that a good old manual would be better suited.

On the road, the little Jimny does tend to float around and the steering is slow to respond but then again this car is not really made for the black stuff. I took it off-road and I quickly understood why so many people love this car.

The Jimny is a proper little off-roader; okay, it does lack a diff-lock but it makes do with H4 and L4 by the push of a button. I took the Jimny on my usual test route and unlike many of the off-road vehicles I’ve taken there, which seem to plod around like great big beats - the Jimny bounces from rock to rock. I crossed little rivers, drove up rocky outcrops and pointed its nose skywards up a rather steep hill. Thanks to its 19cm of ground clearance, its ladder-frame chassis and its impressive approach and departure angles as well as its lightness, the Jimny performed well, which surprised me - to be honest.

The Jimny is packed full of character; sure it struggles to keep up with most vehicles on the road but off-road (where it is meant to be) it is a real treat. It is a great little car for someone looking for a weekend toy; someone looking to embarrass those guys in their fully kitted-out Jeeps or Land Rovers and at a price of just R229 900 - I’d say that’s a bargain!

Image Source: Justin Jacobs

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Article written by Justin Jacobs
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