Suzuki Jimny 1.3 4X4
the 1300 Suzuki Jimny was great fun to drive
Jimny took to water like a duck...
without so much as a cough
First impressions are usually everything; they count for a lot and are difficult to change after that first pre-conception has developed. The Suzuki Jimny is definitely a case of pre-conceptions proved wrong. At first glance, it does not seem like much of an off-roader, although that front metallic grill does bear some rugged credibility.
Take a deeper look and it will not take you long to see there is a lot of decent development and technology that went into the Jimny. With four seats and air-conditioning, it is the ideal vehicle to use on weekends in remote locations usually inaccessible with non-4WD vehicles. The boot space is very limited to a mere 113 litres. With this said, the Jimny is better suited for two people when the weekend away beckons, as by folding the rear seats down, a more accommodating 816 litres of load space becomes available. Keep in mind that there are roof racks too.
the rear seats can be folded down for added loading space
the Jimny's 4-wheel drive system
The wheelbase is very short at 2250 mm, giving a better ramp angle and ability to manoeuvre between trees and bushes in tight spaces. Ride height is on par with most other vehicles of this type and ground clearance is a respectable 190 mm (compared against the Land Rover Defender at 215 mm). The ride itself is very rigid on tar but as a result performs better off road.
the Suzuki Jimny 4X4 is equally at home on the road and in the rough
Two SRS airbags upfront and 3 point seat belts all round, as well as anti-locking brakes provide added safety. Remote central locking adds to over all security but the Jimny lacks an alarm system. The power steering and electric windows worked flawlessly and further added to the luxury of the whole driving experience.
Pop the bonnet and the four cylinder, fuel injected 1.3 litre engine looks impressive. It subsequently gives great fuel economy too, at a claimed 7.2 litres per 100 km. The power plants longitudinal layout appears robust and hints that Suzuki is not messing around. Two separate fan belts drive the various pumps and electronics. There is ample space in the engine compartment, so if the need arises its quick and easy to replace parts.
Jimny was very capable off-road
The small block petrol engine might seem puny but it provides enough punch to propel the Jimny to 100 km/h in 14.1 seconds from standstill, although it still lacks the torque given by the diesel counterparts. This is where the selectable low range 4WD comes into its own. There are three buttons in the cabin – 2WD/4WD/4WDL, which adjust the transfer case into the preferable mode. Four-wheel drive can be selected on the fly (whilst moving) without exceeding 60km/h. Low range requires the car to be stationary and takes about two seconds to activate. It provides a better gear ratio for traversing extremely rough terrain at lower speeds. The low range also activates a descent control system for controlled descents down hills or steep slopes. It works by keeping the rpm between 1000 and 2000 resulting in the ideal speed for the steepest of slopes.
Besides the relatively rock hard suspension on the road, the Suzuki Jimny is very comfortable and copes well at highway cruising speeds with a top speed of 140km/h. Road noise is kept down thanks to the well sealed cabin and the engine noise is remarkably quite too. At idle it’s practically inaudible (great for sneaking closer to animals when you're in the Kruger Park). All this adds up to an amazing little car with great off road capability at an amazing price.
neat, simple cockpit
The Jimny is extremely driver friendly. On the road and in the rough, its high-performance features make handling easy for professionals and novices alike. Where you point, the Jimny follows. Compact dimensions help you slip through heavy traffic and into small parking spaces with ease, while off the beaten track they help you squeeze between boulders and trees. Unbeaten paths that would challenge other vehicles are a breeze in the Jimny. You'll climb hills with confidence thanks to generous approach and departure angles, drive action 4x4 with low range and excellent traction enhanced by excellent wheel articulation. Take the Jimny for a test drive and discover for yourself just how fun driving can be... That's what Suzuki said, and we think they got it right.
Words and photos by Dylan Slater
Thanks to Suzuki Auto South Africa for the drive,
the Jimny is a rugged and fun little 4X4... great!