Suzuki have brought the diminutive Jimny into the next decade.
It was once the little off-roader that was on the cheap and cheerful side. It’s a compromise we just came to accept for the ability to go four-wheel driving for little cost.
That still is the case, though it now boasts better technology, safety and interior that is line with today’s standards.
And the Suzuki is still affordable priced from $23,990 for the manual and $25,990 for the auto version.
For the most part the Suzuki Jimny is still the same – a 2-door 4×4, short and blocky, with the slotted grille and round headlights of past eras.
The pillars are more vertical squaring up the side profile and the bonnet has also had a makeover being flatter and squarer.
Dimension wise it is 50mm shorter and 5mm taller but this isn’t noticeable to the naked eye.
However, there is 10mm more ground clearance and steeper entry and departure angles with protection from the robust black plastic bumpers, skirting and fenders.
A spare tyre is tacked on the flat rear swing door, enhancing the 4WD look.
This is certainly where the biggest difference lies in the Jimny.
Suzuki have made improvements to what was a very basic cabin that had manual A/C, no steering wheel controls, an audio head unit and rudimentary gauges.
Now there is auto A/C, bright gauges with glossy black surrounds, silver vent accents, a passenger handle on the dash, and, what is pretty much standard in all cars now, a touchscreen with Bluetooth, sat-nav, reversing camera, and connectivity.
Of course the overall shape and structure is much the same, limited by the straight sides and narrow space.
Clear and easy to use buttons are located in the centre stack for window control, traction control and hill descent.
Front occupants are close to each other but there is room for two cup holders on the floor console.
As in the past, the rear seats fold down flat for storage space and the backs are coated in plastic for protection and durability.
These backs are square and small and seating is still limited and cramped and useful only if need be.
Features you could only dream of in the previous model are now standard like sat-nav, reversing camera and a 7” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Andriod Auto.
- Auto A/C
- 7” touchscreen
- Apple CarPlay/Andriod Auto
- Reversing camera
- Cruise control/speed limiter
- Auto LED headlights
- Daytime running lights
- Fog lights
- Allgrip 4WD
- USB port
- Steering wheel controls
- 15” alloy wheels
We took out the Jimny to a 4×4 proving ground for the launch, up and down steep inclines, over rough dirt tracks and through a creek bed.
For the more challenging of terrains, shift the transfer case lever into 4 high or 4 low in both the auto and the manual – there are no buttons this time in the new model.
Hill hold stops the vehicle from rolling back while the hill descent control will assist coming down a slope.
All of these systems working in tandem made light work of the course though piloting the manual required some finesse and the auto may be the way to go for the inexperienced.
No doubt the plus side is the compact size of the Suzuki, aiding with manoeuvrability and cornering with a tight turning circle.
The engine has had a boost, increasing from 1.3 litres to 1.5 litres and while 75kW/130Nm of power and torque doesn’t sound like much, it’s still an improvement from the 62.5kW/110Nm of old.
Disappointingly the new Suzuki Jimny only garnered a 3 Star safety rating from ANCAP.
This is mostly due to below par pedestrian protection, a lack of effective safety aids and structural weaknesses in frontal crash tests.
Autonomous emergency braking is standard now in both models but scored less for pedestrians, no cyclist detection or night function.
Most will purchase the Jimny for its off-road capability where modern safety features aren’t crucial, though the road is where we’re likely to spend most time.
- Lane departure warning
- Weaving alert
- Hill hold
- Hill descent
- Airbags – front, side, curtain
- Bigger engine
- Improved interior
- More tech
- Modern design
Not So Good Bits
- Safety rating
It was already a fun, pint-sized machine for bush bashing and now the Jimny is even better.
With improved fit and finish and technology it has pulled it up to match the norm making the Jimny a more attractive proposition for 4×4 enthusiasts.
The powertrain has also received an upgrade though the safety rating is its biggest downfall.
The Suzuki Jimny is still a great (and only) option for getting into 4WDing on a budget and without having to wrangle a giant beast.
Facts and Figures: 2019 Suzuki Jimny
- Engine: 1.5L four-cylinder petrol producing 75kW/130Nm
- Transmission: Five-speed manual OR four-speed automatic
- Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Three stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $23,990