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Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Suzuki Jimny

This Car Review Is About:
The new and reborn fourth version 2019 Suzuki Jimny. It’s a cubical machine, with styling hints aplenty from Jimnys before, comes with a reasonable range of tech, and a pile of charm that’ll fit in your pocket.Under The Bonnet Is:
A 1.5L petrol engine with variable valve timing. It gets grip through to the ground via a four speed auto with overdrive or a five speed manual. With peak power of 75kW @ 6,000rpm and peak torque of 130Nm @ 4,000rpm, the manual is the preferred transmission.

Fuel is fed to the small engine via a fuel thimble of 40-L. Consumption for the 1075kg/1090kg (tare weight) machine is rated, on the combined cycle, 6.4L/100km for the manual and 6.9L/100km for the self shifter.

There is a proper four wheel drive system, with 2WD and 4WD high range, and a transfer case for 4WD low range. It’s a simple push and pull design, and works well. Select Neutral, slide the somewhat notchy lever back for 4WD High, press down and slide for 4WD Low, and that’s it.On The Outside It’s:
Two cubes joined together. One small one, and one larger. That’s the engine bay and the cabin. It is a three door, with the rear door swinging out to a full ninety degree fold from a driver’s side hinge pairing and holds the spare wheel hidden under a black plastic case. The styling cues are plentiful with nods towards history coming from the twin slots embossed into the sheetmetal at the base of the A pillar. Round headlights (with new LED inserts) and separate indicators, combination rear lamps, and a five slot grille complete the history lesson.Paintwork is a choice of six with the test machine clad in a Chiffon Ivory Metallic. Other colours are Kinetic Yellow, Brisk Blue Metallic, Jungle Green, Medium grey, and Superior White, with a Bluish-Black Pearl roof, with the ceiling itself having longitudinal strakes. Black polyurethane wheel arches sit over a broad space between the body and the 195/80/15 rubber.It’s not the biggest thing on the road, with a total length of 3,645mm and that’s the front to the wheel cover. It stands 1,720mm high and is 1,645mm wide. There is plenty of all round vision through the broad glasshouse, and the front screen has a pair of simple looking wipers. The washer jets are powerful but waste water because of the power, with the fluid bouncing off the screen.The grille itself is the same black material as the arch covers and the front bumper, which houses standard globe lit driving lights, doesn’t stand that far out from the grille itself. The short overhangs allow an approach angle of 37 degrees, departure of 49 degrees, and the breakover angle is 28 degrees.The body itself is built on a ladder chassis that incorporates a structure strengthening “x” member, plus an extra pair of cross members to ensure a stiff body. Adding to the strength is a rear axle housing that is bigger than the previous model, adding up to 30% extra rigidity.

On The Inside Is:
A cabin that has largely black overtones. The cloth seats are black, the dash is black, the floor is black, most of the door trim is black. There is a splash of body colour in the doors and around the rear seats, a light grey material covers the upper section of the cabin. The dash itself is old school and not necessarily all in a good way.The good is Suzuki’s elegant seven inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satnav and Bluetooth connectivity. The aircon vents at either end of the dash are the simple push and twirl for direction style, but the centre ones are a rectangular style and don’t feel as if they flow air terribly well.The centre stack holds dials for the aircon controls and it’s a twist for the fan speed and temperature. The design has push buttons for the mode (air flow direction), fresh or recirculating, A/C on and an off tab. The size of the dials makes the information screen in the centre dial hard to read clearly.

The dials sit over four tabs for the power windows, Hill Descent Control, and traction control on/off selector. Underneath them is a 12V socket and USB port. On the passenger side is a grip handle, whilst the driver gets red back-lit analogue dials bracketing a monochrome information screen. The leather bound tiller holds cruise control and audio controls.There are plastic sheets on the back of the folding rear seats which allow wet or dirty items to be placed in the 377L cargo area. That’s a whopping 53L larger than the previous Jimny. The packaging overall is better than before, with the seat hip points increased by 40mm. The seat frames themselves have increased by 70mm in width, and there is a sense of sitting high up in the Jimny for a sense of control and the all round vision.

The plastics themselves look old school but Suzuki says that they’ve been engineered to allow bare or gloved hands to operate the tabs and switches, and the vertical lines of the cabin provide a visual reference point when off-roading.

Info for the driver is from a monochrome screen between two somewhat archaic looking red dials, housed inside a cubical block of plastic. It’s a retro look, yes, but it goes too far in the history lesson.

What About Safety?
It’s been rated by Australia’s car safety body, ANCAP, as three stars. Part of that was to do with its Autonomous Emergency Braking system, with ANCAP scoring it down believing it’s not as effective as it should be. The biggest low point was in respect to pedestrian safety. It does have six airbags, Hill Descent Control, Hill Hold Control, and flashing emergency stop signals. Lane Departure Alert and Driver Waeving Alert are also standard.

On The Road It’s:
Lacking in urge, has a spongy ride (which was partly due to 28PSI in the tyres), has vague steering, and soft brakes. The torque is enough for something resembling acceleration but by no means can the word rapid be included. Bearing in mind the size of the engine versus the Jimny auto’s weight, it should feel more lively. And then factor in the transfer case for low range, and a need for more torque suddenly becomes apparent. There’s enough in the Suzuki parts bin to make this a possibility.

The chassis and suspension don’t feel as well sorted as expected. Even with the tyres bumped to 34PSI it was crabby, squirrelly, in its handling. There was more than expected body roll, squeals from the tyres even in gentle cornering, and no real feeling of the steering being connected to the front. Push on understeer was easily achieved at low (20, 30 km/h). The brakes lack bite and the pedal has perhaps not enough feedback.Off road it’s a different animal. That soft ride tightens up, eating dirt for breakfast, and on AWT’s favoured test track, showed the manners expected. It flattens most of the gravel and rock surfaces with a less intrusive body roll, and ploughed through the deeper puddles in the test track with a mostly confident attitude. The narrow rubber was prone to tramlining though, tugging the tiller left and right with ease.There is one particular section that can be a nuisance for larger off-roaders due to overhangs reducing approach and departure. In 4WD Low, the Jimny was judiciously entered into the dip, and simply crawled out at the other end without a blink. Hill Descent Control was engaged for some downhill testing and although perhaps descending a little too quickly it did at least engage.And The Warranty Is:
Three years or 100,000 kilometres. Have your Suzuki serviced on a capped price program every six months at a dealership over five years and Suzuki offers a five year warranty or 140,000 kilometre warranty.

At The End Of The Drive.
The 2019 Suzuki Jimny is a curious mix of wannabe and nothing to prove. Sure, there’s that safety rating but part of that is due to the exterior design, meaning the pedestrian impact safety rating is down. It’s painfully soft and wafty on tarmac, but has enough goods to delight on gravel and rock and mud. It’s a “proper” four wheel drive thanks to the transfer case but really needs a dose of torque. It’s a car, frankly, that will appeal to those under thirty or to those that wish to relive their late ’80s youth. Neither is a bad thing. Here is where you can find out more.

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