Sam says I’m hooked
From the time it hit South African shores the Suzuki Jimny has garnered a lot of attention. Drivers, whether 4×4 enthusiasts or not, love the idea of an affordable car that can be used both on the 4×4 track and to drive to work every day.
Admittedly I was a bit confused by this fascination. From the outside, it did not seem that spectacular. But then I had the opportunity to drive it and I was almost immediately converted. I like to sum up a car in one word and for me the Suzuki Jimny is pure ‘fun.’
The interior is small but I enjoyed the feel the front windscreen created. It felt like you had a panoramic view of your surroundings and like you are much higher up than what you are, aspects which would make off-roading that much better.
While I called it small, the front of the car is spacious and comfortable. It is the rear that is reminiscent of the third row in a seven-seater car. Fine to spend the day outdoors but definitely not good enough if you have kids or for longer trips with more than two people.
With the rear seats up, the boot is non-existent. You can wedge a laptop bag in there, if you’re not worried about it being visible to people outside, but not much else. The seats do fold down, drastically increasing the size of the boot if there are only two passengers.
The interior offers good quality materials and all the basics that you need in a car including Bluetooth, radio controls on the steering wheel and electric windows. I liked how there is enough to make the car comfortable but is not overladen with tech and gadgets. This helps it keep its rugged kind of feel. This keeps the price down as well.
Suzuki has also placed the comfort of their passengers at the forefront of their priorities, especially when off-roading. Among the design highlights is a ride-in assist grip for the front passenger, a centre console tray that fits a phone and houses the accessory and USB sockets and a floor console tray that can hold smartphones upright and can securely hold 500 ml bottles.
There is also air conditioning, power steering and the complete ALLGRIP PRO 4×4 system with Brake LSD, ESP, Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control. The GLX models also have Suzuki’s Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA). This double-DIN audio system has a 7” infrared-touch screen with Android Auto, Apple Carplay and MirrorLink integration.
One of the Jimny’s unique features, that I especially liked, were the front seats which have been redesigned to fold completely flat with the rear bench to allow someone to sleep inside the cabin, for instance while on a camping trip. On the passenger side, this flat-folding seat and foldable rear bench allow for a completely flat loading surface for long equipment, such as surfboards.
The driver and passenger seats have also been redesigned and have wider cushions and frames, while the side bolsters have been moved lower to allow the front occupants to comfortably move their shoulders, for instance when looking around for obstacles while navigating a tricky off-road section.
While there is much excitement about the potential of the Jimny to give drivers the best of both worlds, I have a few reservations about the Jimny as an every day car. The effort it requires to drive could become quite tiresome in the traffic. Yet, I am not an avid 4×4 enthusiast, which could affect my perception. If I went off-roading almost every weekend as opposed to only occasionally, then it might seem more worth the effort.
Overall, despite my reservations about its practicality, it was a great car to drive. Definitely one of those cars that makes driving more than just something you have to do. For the outdoor enthusiast, it is a perfect car.
Good to know
Engine: 1.5 litre petrol engine
Power: 75 kW
Torque: 130 Nm
Claimed fuel efficiency: 6.3L/100 km
Price: from starting at R264 900
Warranties: five year / 200 000km service plan mechanical warranty and either a two year / 30 000km or four year / 60 000km service plan, depending on the model.
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