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Return Of The Icon: Suzuki Jimny Is Back!

Suzuki Australia has released details of the hotly anticipated 2019 Suzuki Jimny. Packed with proper off-road cred, historic styling cues, and some good looking new cues, the fourth gen Jimny goes on sale in the final days of January.  Pricing is $23, 990 and $25, 990, with both the manual and auto on a drive-away price. Unveiled to members of the Australian motoring press at the Melbourne 4×4 training grounds, near Werribee, west of Melbourne, the Jimny was put through its paces alongside its more soft road oriented sibling, the Vitara. That car has also been given a freshen up.

Jimny will come with a five speed manual or (disappointingly, just a four speed) auto, but, pleasantly, comes with a low range transfer case. This was put to the test across a variety of surfaces, slopes, (which included a thirty degree incline), and river fording.

Power is courtesy of a single engine choice. A seemingly small 1.5L petrol engine, (there’s no diesel) proved more than adequate in motivating the Jimny through these test sections. Peak power of 75kW and peak torque of 130Nm propelled the 1435kg (GVM) machine without issue.

Driven initially on dried and compact mud, the Jimny immediately impressed with its neutral handling and ready willingness to absorb the variance in the dirt. Given a short run-up to the concrete ramp, with first gear and low range four wheel drive selected, around 3000 revs were dialed up before the ascent of the ten metre plus incline. Straight away a downhill run was proffered, and Hill Descent Control showed its mettle.A gentle nudge over the edge, the leap of faith by keeping the foot off the brake to let the Jimmy do its thing, and seconds later back to the horizontal. Jimny is helped in its dexterity thanks to a departure angle of a staggering 49 degrees, with an almost equally short overhang providing a nearly as staggering 37 up front. Ramp or breakover angle is also impressive at 28 degrees and this also was tested without fuss.

Driven through some river crossings, the 210mm wading depth and 195/80/15 rubber gave ample traction for the Jimny, with the the comparatively lightweight machine feeling planted and stable.

Jimny rides on a ladder chassis that’s had an extra “x-member” and two cross members fitted for superb lateral and linear strength. Coupled with rigid axles front and rear, coil springs, and eight rubber body mounts, overall car control and feedback is superb inside the 2250mm wheelbase. That’s mightily impressive considering the 3480mm bumper to bumper length. Left in two wheel drive for normal performance, the turning circle is 4.9m but in 4×4 mode that increases.The aforementioned external styling cues come with the low set rear tail lights, distinctively circular front lights, five slot front grille and shallow angled bonnet with flutes in the bottom of the “A-pillar”. The indicators are separate to the headlights as well, as per the heritage ethic. A few extra touches come from the drip rails over the doors, solid and assertive black polyurethane body guards, and those low set tail lights allow a wider rear door opening to the plastic coated backs of the rear seats.

Modernity hits the Jimny with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satnav, a touchscreen of seven inches, and Bluetooth. Autonomous Emergency Braking, Hill Hold Control, Hill Descent Control, Lane Departure Warning, and auto headlight dipping, along with six airbags round out a well rounded safety package. However, the doors don’t have bottle holders, the seatbelts are well behind the driver and passenger shoulder, and the passenger’s grab bar looks as if reinforcing is needed.Pricing for the spunky and funky 2019 Suzuki Jimny, with a range of six colours, will be released later this week.

(David was given the opportunity to drive the new Jimny courtesy of Suzuki Australia.)