2019 Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny: classic in the making

2019 Suzuki Jimny

What is it?

IF you like driving something different and, like Mustang owners, aren’t fussed about the number of safety stars, you’ll probably love the Jimny.

The latest from Suzuki is not only a standout in retro looks, but also more capable offroad than most big 4WD bush bashers and comes with a choice of manual or automatic transmission.

However, its appearance alone makes it a buyer magnet, because it’s such a change from the sea of lookalike little SUVs and hatches on the market, but more than likely very few will ever be taken into the rough stuff.

Young folk like the sheer charisma, old folks appreciate the ease of getting in and out of it.

It’s also super-easy to park and it uses very little fuel.

2019 Suzuki Jimny

What’s it cost?

Our choice of steed was the five-speed manual, priced at $23,990, but for $2000 extra you can get a four-speed auto — and less pleasure.

The manual shift is light, positive, helps engage the brain and takes the drudgery out of driving.

It also makes the vehicle almost theft-proof, because most of the car-stealing morons don’t have the intelligence to figure out what to do with three pedals and a gearstick.

There are a few other tricks: to start, you actually have to insert and turn a key! Yay, see what I mean by more involvement?

And if you need to open a window, well, you won’t find a switch or winder on the door. No, you need to go into Where’s Wally mode until you spot the two switches tucked in a little central panel, alongside the hill descent control button below the ventilation controls on the dashboard.

If you do drive it on a farm or some tough terrain where you need to engage low ratio, it’s another blast from the past: there’a a separate lever for that, rather than an electronic dial.

Front seat accommodation is good and the nicely shaped seats need to be flipped forward for access to the somewhat tighter rear pews, so it’s fine for two tall adults in front and a couple of kids, or smaller people, in the back.

The rear backrests can be folded flat, expanding the smallish boot, or if you’re just a couple, or want to turn your Jimny into a wee van, you can unbolt and chuck out the back seats and have a pretty spacious two-seater.

Up front, the driver gets a set of orange-numbered analog dials with digital info between the speedo and rev counter.

The leather-rimmed steering wheel has multi-function buttons, there’s a 7.0-inch colour central infotainment touchscreen that despite the car’s brilliant all-round vision and compact size, includes a reversing camera.

There’s also a good aircon and vent system, as well as USB and 12V sockets.

The rear door has the spare wheel attached, but is easy to swing open, and the right rear bit of roof houses a perky little antenna. Tres cute!

2019 Suzuki Jimny

What’s it go like?

The engine is a 74kW/130Nm four-cylinder with a claimed economy figure of 6.4L/100km, and we came within cooee of that with 6.6.

That, of course, will depend on whether you drive it hard, use the low ratio function often or just stick to the civilised surfaces and drive at a pace that allows the gaping mouths and wide eyes to read the brand’s badge.

Comfort’s obviously not in the Citroen Pallas class, but this is essentially a little work pony that will go places where a stallion can’t. Equally it doubles as a sensible everyday conveyance.

It runs along the country roads easily and happily, but needs a gear drop to fourth on the hilly bits, and we’d have no hesitation in doing a trans-Australia run in one.

Ours came with 15-inch alloys and enough underbody clearance and good approach,  departure and rampover angles to cope with anything Mad Max might throw at it.

I’ve seen a UK video of one squishing through thick mud that stopped a Range Rover — so there.

Suzi call their 4WD system All-Grip and it’s so good, it doesn’t need locking or limited slip diffs.

It’s built on a ladder chassis, has live axles front and back and a transfer case. Really old-school, but it works very well.

The bad news is Jimnys are built at one of Suzi’s small plants in Japan, and they cannot produce enough of them to meet world demand.

India, which has had a love affair with Suzuki for decades, grabs about 80 per cent of production.

The Jimny has many positives in my eyes.

The negatives are a three-star safety rating (same as a Ford Mustang) and a standard three-year/100,000km warranty, though you can do a scheduled service deal to extend that to five years/140,000km.

2019 Suzuki Jimny

What we like?

  • Retro styling
  • Lots of character
  • Easy to drive and park
  • Easy entry, exit
  • Great agility
  • Good economy
2019 Suzuki Jimny

What we don’t like?

  • Standard warranty
2019 Suzuki Jimny

The bottom line?

A classic in the making. I loved it.

CHECKOUT: Jimny: the return of a 4×4 icon

CHECKOUT: Suzuki Jimny: better off than on for this icon


Suzuki Jimny manual, priced from $23,990
  • Looks - 8.5/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 8/10

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