Jimny Jimny. Jimny Jimny.
Ever since Suzuki leaked images of their new Jimmy, the motoring world has been going gaga for Suzuki’s off-road gem. It finally arrived at CCV Towers in May 2019 & to say we were excited was an understatement. I remember the early 1970’s & had a couple of Tonka Toys, which despite my then 5 year old’s best efforts, were indestructible. Suzuki have built a real life-size replica of a Tonka Toy & I was about to spend a week in it.
We took delivery of a Jimmy SZ5 Allgrip, in silver which retails at £17,999. Apart from Fiat with their Panda 4X4, currently, no one else is offering the kind of off-road capability that Suzuki does, at prices so reasonable. The Jimmy is fitted as standard with Allgrip Pro selectable 4WD, with low ratio transfer gear, hill hold & hill descent control.
The cheaper entry-level SZ4 cars come with air-con, cruise control, DAB radio & Bluetooth & cost from £15,000. Our more upmarket version adds the SZ5’s touchscreen infotainment system with Smartphone linkage for Apple Car Play or Android Auto. Plus there’s rear privacy glass, heated front seats & SatNav. Design touches include 15” alloy wheels, black wheel arch mouldings, body colour exterior door handles, 3 spoke leather covered steering wheel, chrome interior door handles & black painted exterior door mirrors. Added together, they add some heft to the Jimmy that it’s not really had before, i.e. what customers want in the way of on-board tech & equipment. Plus Jimny also offers all of the latest safety features you’d expect, including ABS with Brake Assist, ESP®, lane departure warning, Dual Sensor Brake Support & driver & front passenger airbags.
Inside, the latest Jimmy is a massive improvement over what’s come before. Yes, the quality is so so & it’s clearly been designed to last rather than too soothe, but, the chunky square inspired dashboard, taking it’s cue from the latest Jeep Wrangler range, looks brilliant & with the addition of the touchscreen in it’s centre, does everything you’d want a modern car to do.
The SZ5’s infotainment set-up will be familiar to anyone who’s piloted other Suzuki models such as the Swift, S-Cross & Vitara. It’s simple to understand & it’s good to use, with a four menu short cut home screen from which to choose from functions such as SatNav, entertainment & telephone. There’s also a small screen located in between the speedo & rev counter which supplies the driver with trip information, fuel economy & range.
Up front, driver & passenger space in the Jimmy is pretty good with the upright shape offering plenty of headroom. It is though, a narrow car, so you drive pretty close to your fellow front seat passenger. Storage space in the cabin isn’t great. Two narrow door pockets are only large enough for a couple of A4 envelopes. There’s a small cubby in the centre dash where I kept my sunglasses & half way between the front & rear seats are two small cup holders. The glove box is small.
Rear passengers get two smallish flat seats, that do recline & do come with head tests.There’s no armrests though & I wouldn’t want to spend too much tome in the back. Physically, getting in the back takes an almost Herculean effort & is best undertaken by pre-teens.
Each of the rear seats is easily raised or folded from the boot, which creates a decent storage space of 830 litres. With the rear seats up though, you only get a tiny, narrow storage area of 85 litres, great for a couple of pieces of MDF, or portfolio folders, but not nearly large enough to even fit a supermarket shopping bag in. You can’t even blame this lack of space on the spare wheel, as that’s fitted to the back door !
I have it on good authority that the new Jimmy is superb off road, in that small 4WD way. And that is to be fair, what the Jimmy has been designed for & it’s what Suzuki does oh so well. For CC&V readers, on-road is where their car will spend almost all of it’s time, so that is where we tested it.
All versions of Jimmy, come with ALLGRIP Pro all-wheel drive as standard, with three settings: 2H, 4H and 4L. In normal driving, the Jimny is driven via the rear wheels only & this offers a big improvement in ride & handling over the old Jimmy. However, the short wheel base & taught steering mean it still rolls around corners & sharp steering changes at low speed can send it into a series of wobbles.
Out on the motorway, the standard-fit five-speed manual box fitted to our test car- there is a 4-speed auto available- with short gearing, means that the engine is little noisy & the Jimmy really would benefit from a sixth gear. However, despite this, I set off on a 100 mile motorway trip, selecting cruise control as I went. At about 70mph, the noise from the engine is actually acceptable & easily drowned out by the radio or even Bluetooth phone calls. Both wind & road noise are also well suppressed. Around town & at slower speeds up to 50mph, the noise drops considerably.
The 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol produces 100bhp & 130Nm of torque with a top speed of 90mph. Claimed combined WLTP fuel consumption is 35.8mpg. Amazingly in our week in the Jimmy, we achieved 39.8mpg , more than the claimed, which is a first for us & with a petrol engine to boot, very impressive.
Despite it’s obvious limitations, there’s something addictive about driving around in the Jimmy. It makes one feel happy & contented, a trick that very few new cars that cost from £15,000- £18,000 can claim. Yes it’s impractical, yes it’s no motorway cruiser & yes it’s a nightmare to get in the back of, but, it looks brilliant, will go anywhere, features the latest on-trend tech & comes with a bargain bucket price tag. What’s not to like ?
A small & capable 3.25/5.