Bee’s, with their tiny wings and large bulbous bodies, are natures way of proving that virtually anything is possible. They fly when they shouldn’t visiting 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip and to me in many ways, the Suzuki Jimny is the same. It’s a tiny bean can of a vehicle that when it comes to off-road capabilities and being outright adored, what it achieves is a real head-scratcher, that is until you drive it yourself.
At 3.65m long, 1.65m wide and 1.72m tall the Jimny is not exactly what you’d call large. Plus when you think that I personally add not far off 10% of its overall weight (apparently as I do with many vehicles) its overall footprint starts to come into perspective. But, it’s this size plus half a century of on and off-road experience that makes this compact SUV so darned desirable.
When it comes to design, with its ‘Retro styling’ the 2019 Jimny has more drawn on its 50-year heritage rather than going back to the drawing board, however, Suzuki has definitely sharpened the team’s pencils. Its ‘child like’ box shape remains but it’s had a refreshed facelift, enhanced wheel arches and restyled shoes. It has a modern appeal while staying true to its roots – the Jimny cult are sure to be pleased.
The interior has been upgraded too. Dials are clearer and a few more of them, the 7-inch display screen takes centre stage on the dashboard and the Jimny now comes with safety features such as ESC and 6 airbags to ensure you and yours stay in one piece. No reverse camera though, but great visibility and compact size mean that doesn’t really warrant one. On the subject of size, as I said before, this is one mighty small (or is that small and mighty) SUV. It takes you and three others (provided you’re not too precious about personal space) and unless you fold down the rear seats, the (ahem) trunk space is rather limited.
The seatbacks and floors have been resin coated for easy cleaning, something that I feel you’ll undoubtedly require as this 4th generation Suzuki simply oozes the Kiwi ‘can do’/’go anywhere’ attitude. With its tried and true ladder frame backbone, 3-link coil suspension, All-Grip Pro, LSD traction, low range 2 & 4WD gearbox, large approach and departure angles plus hill hold and descent functions this is a ‘can’, that can.
Under the bonnet is a 1.5L engine that offers up 75kW and 130Nm, (Manual or AT gearbox), it’s a powertrain that’s not going to impress at the lights but will get you where you want you go, whether on tarmac or in a boggy field.
I spent a week with this little beauty and despite our initial handshake consisting of me banging my elbow on the doorframe as I got in, this compact SUV doesn’t feel claustrophobic – it’s more like you feel at one with it.
Around town, it attracts attention from all and sundry and in particular, other Jimny owners who will ask you no end of questions while telling you about their own experiences. It will park anywhere and squeeze down the tiniest of lanes. Its vast turning circle will have you preferring (or requiring) 3-point turns but this just adds to the Jimny’s character. But it’s when you decide to go off-road that it really comes into its own. Even with my weight in it, the Jimny barely make a dent in the terrain, this, in turn, means that its ability to go where it shouldn’t is unfathomable and delightful. Hills, muddy fields, sandy pits, tick, tick, tick – incredible.
The Suzuki Jimny is your pal that you can take anywhere and fit in, your trusted, faithful Labrador that never fails to put a smile on your face and just like the indispensable and ‘impossible’ Bee – the Jimny will surprise you at every expansive U-turn, it’s the can that can!