FOR those who have missed the old Suzuki Sierra or who wanted something with a little more, well more than the old Jimny offered, the 2019 version of the Suzuki Jimny will not disappoint. Not even a little bit.
It’s no big family car though, and it’s not for everyone. It’s tiny. In 4WD terms, it’s a toy. When you compare it to its bigger brethren it is very small, but that’s its secret super power.
Where the big boys will struggle this little nugget will cruise. Beaches where the big boys get stuck will be nothing to the light and nimble little Suzuki Jimny 4×4 as it skips across the top of the soft sand, because its kerb weight is just 1,095kg.
This is no AWD compact SUV either. It’s an honest, real deal 4WD in a pint-sized package. It will hold a special place in the hearts of hard core 4WD fans too, just as its predecessors have.
Unique to the 4×4 market, its part time 4WD system is an honest-to-god real high and low range affair, with a proper 4WD lever and all. It isn’t diff locked, but it does have an LSD, so it will pull itself out of most situations without assistance.
In fact you might just become the rescue car for all the other big guys when they are sitting in the mud or sand and can’t get out. It’s a very capable off-roader, even if it won’t set the world on fire on tarmac.
Styling wise the new 2019 Suzuki Jimny is reminiscent of Mercedes G wagon and from certain angles it looks like it could be its little brother. Observed from other angles and it reminds you of a Jeep JK Wrangler.
Essentially there is something for everyone, and whatever it reminds you of doesn’t matter compared to the fun you’ll have with it. Not to mention the fact it comes in a host of super cool colours.
The paint on our test car is Brisk Blue Metallic, with a Blueish Black Pearl roof. You can also choose Superior White, Chiffon Ivory Metallic and Blueish Black Pearl, Kinetic Yellow and Blueish Black Pearl, Jungle Green and Medium Grey.
The engine is a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder making 75kW of power and 130Nm of torque, and our test car was fitted with the 5-speed manual. Fuel economy is a claimed 6.4-litres/100km but the best we could manage was 7.8-litres/100km.
In the city, the car is not as nimble as you’ll find it off road, but the clutch is light and easy. It feels sluggish when you first fire it up, and it’s got some body roll, but you get used to it quickly.
It also sounds noisy and clunky, but considering most cars have so many devices to take away exhaust noise and cabins usually have more sound proofing than a Motown recording studio, it’s no wonder the engine sounds a little louder than you would expect.
If you are a bit old school and like a bit of engine noise, you will probably enjoy it. Give it a few kilometres though, and the engine noise is no issue. At 100km/h it’s a little loud, as it revs at just over 3,000rpm, but it pulls well and handles the speed.
There is also a nice little gearbox whine from the 5-speed manual that has been missing in modern cars. It screams fun and it is, which is why we won’t talk about 0-100km/h times, because it’s not important. It’s a little floaty on the black stuff though.
The ride in this car is surprisingly comfortable too. There was not one rattle and the suspension soaked up the various potholes and bumps on Sydney’s roads better than some larger, much more expensive cars.
The seats are really comfortable as well, so long journeys will be easy. The ride height is great and the seat height when getting in and out of the car is just about as perfect and easy as anyone could make it.
The rear seating will be a bit tight if you’re a big fella with long legs, but there is plenty of head room. The rear seats also recline a little to make the rear passenger experience a little more pleasant, despite the fact that you basically sit on top of the rear wheels.
The cabin is beautifully retro, with a square design for the speedo and tacho. It’s finished off nicely and is a really chilled place to spend time, whether it’s in traffic or on a dirt road heading to your favourite camping spot with some mates.
For front passengers who feel a little nervous while looking up or down a steep rocky hill that you’re about to tackle just because it’s there and you can, there’s also a surprisingly robust grab handle.
From a tech point of view the infotainment system is excellent, with a large touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, reversing camera and SatNav. The noteworthy tech in the car is the AEB, which frankly is a little over eager to start beeping at you.
That over-exuberant technology didn’t do the Jimny any favours in its ANCAP safety testing either, as it was one of the things it was pinged for on its way to a 3-star safety rating, along with structural and design weaknesses, and poor pedestrian protection.
It does come with hill start assist and lane guidance that flashes when you drift out of a lane though, plus the usual on-board computer information on fuel usage, temperature, fuel distance and the like. Plus it has climate control.
At present, the Australian intake of 2019 Suzuki Jimny vehicles is limited to 1,500 units. At the time of writing, 1,100 of these were already sold. This situation has been duplicated across the globe, with huge demand pretty much everywhere.
Prices start at $23,990 for the manual and $25,990 for the auto. It comes with a 5-year factory warranty and 5-year capped price servicing program.
Our test vehicle was provided by Suzuki Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Suzuki Jimny, contact your local Suzuki dealer.