By Sala Masindane
As the old saying goes, ‘Wine gets better with time’, this may work for wine or other beverages, but the question is, does it work on cars? Well, it took 20 years for Suziki to update the Jimny and some may feel that may have been too long! Way too long in fact but if you are a Suzuki insider and a fan the question would have been why change a winning formula! That’s probably not the only reason why the Suzuki Jimny wasn’t updated. Nonetheless the new Jimny has arrived in South Africa, and recently we attended the launch in the beautiful province of Mpumalanga.
Model line up
The new Jimny comes in two models, the base GA and the top of the range GLX. These models are distinguishable by the GA’s steel wheel whilst the GLX has 15-inch allow wheels, colour-coded door handles and painted mirrors on the outside.
Exterior and interior
Striking features of the previous generations Jimnys have been kept in the new generation Jimny, these include the trademark angular body shape, the round headlights (which are now available in LED), the upright grille, the side bonnet slits and a full-size spare wheel mounted to rear. On the new side there’s an upright design of the roof pillars which enables the roof to have more weight on it. This is in addition to the full drip rail around the roof that will make it easier to fit roof racks or other accessories. Original Suzuki accessories will also be available at a later stage for the Jimny.
Inside the Jimny, the same nostalgic trend continues. This is seen by the exposed metal window frames and the traditional speedometer/tachometer in a square house (which does not have the traditional temperature gauge). A 7-inch infrared-touchscreen (that can used while wearing gloves) with Andriod Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink integration is fitted on the GLX model. Some of the features on the system can be controlled by buttons on the steering wheel.
The Jimny is built for off-roading and you will notice that some of the things in the interior are built for durability as opposed to looking good, but nonetheless the interior looks good overall with its retro feel with a touch of urban. From a comfort perspective, the driver and the front passenger have enough legroom and comfortable seating positions but the same cannot be said for the rear passengers. The space is limited and if my seating position is kept, I would not be able to fit a passenger behind my seat. Boot space is limited with all seats up but expands with the rear seats folded down although you would need to put up storage compartments to stop your groceries or other loose items from moving all over the back.
The engine and the drive
The all new Suzuki Jimny is built on a ladder-frame chassis. This means there’s a strong structure that supports the wheels and body of the Jimny. The frame will increase the weight of the car, but off-roading will be your favorite past time. And to improve your off-roading experience, the ground clearance has also been increased by 20mm and now stands at 210 mm.
Powering the new Jimny range is a new K15B petrol engine. The 1,5-litre four-cylinder unit will deliver power outputs of 75kW and torque of 130Nm, with options of a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic gearbox in the GLX model. The new Jimny comes standard with a 4×4 system called AllGrip Pro, that will allow the driver to switch between 4×2 or 4×4 (high and low range) comfortably using a gear lever. This 4×4 pleasure will also be supported by the Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control that is standard across all models. The moulded arches also come in handy as they make the turning circle better than before. Daily driving may not be as fun as the Jimny is a bit sluggish and you need to be patient with the accelerating to get to higher speeds. The five-speed manual gearbox works better than the four-speed auto, but you do feel that a sixth gear could make things neater and allow the vehicle to rev lower and consume less fuel at higher speeds. Nonetheless, driving the Jimny in the concrete jungle is great as the Jimny is compact and can easily exploit gaps in traffic. You will also never have problems with parallel parking thanks to the size of the Jimny.
Having driven the previous generation Jimny, we feel that Suzuki has made the right changes to the car to keep the base happy, appeal to a larger and new following. Expect to see more than a handful of Jimnys on our roads.
The pricing for the new Jimny is as follows:
Jimny 1.5-litre GA MT R264,900;
Jimny 1.5-litre GLX MT R299,900; and
Jimny 1.5-litre GLX AT R319,900.
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