Suzuki Jimny 1.5 SZ5: Oh Happy Day

The original Jimny has been with us on these shores since 1998 and in that time, its quirky and utilitarian shape has become an accepted part of the UK’s motoring culture. In fact when MotorMartin tested one a couple of years ago it ended up being our car of the year, so impressed we were with its clever packaging and awesome off road ability. So the big question is whether or not this completely revised and restyled version is as good if not better than its predecessor.

Styling wise there is really no comparison as the all new Jimny looks absolutely fantastic in the flesh, combining the previous models compact dimensions with a go anywhere silhouette that is both unique and yet still instantly recognisable as a Jimny. With practical touches, including bumpers with optimal cutaways offering superb ground clearance at the wheel as well as ensuring more grip when climbing over obstacles and not forgetting moulded black guards surrounding each wheel arch, protecting the body from stone chips and scratches, Suzuki have created a handsome, go anywhere 4X4 which not only looks great but can use it’s diminutive dimensions and light weight to tread where others fear to. There’s also front fog lamps, LED headlights with washers and high beam assist, 15″ alloy wheels, Body colour door handles and rear privacy glass to complete the exterior. Excellent work.

Step inside and it’s clear that Suzuki’s engineers didn’t stop with the exterior as the interior is also packed full of practical features and technologies designed to get you where you want to go, on road or off, with comfort and style featuring in equal measures. Including features the old Jimny could only dream about, the Suzuki has a ride-in assist grip for your better half, a scratch/stain-resistant instrument panel, air conditioning, intuitively designed controls, vertically adjustable steering wheel and a permanently illuminated meter cluster and that’s before discussing the feature packed smartphone linked advanced touchscreen which lets you easily control the audio and navigation systems and is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™. In fact, even the briefest glimpse around the interior will confirm how much Suzuki’s Jimny has improved over previous models with the switchgear and buttons in particular having a delightfully chunky and hard wearing appearance and feel to them. A Job well done Suzuki.

But all of the style and technology in the world add up to zero if the Jimny doesn’t drive as well as it lineage and fans demand. Fortunately, the cabin, despite its diminutive dimensions, is perfectly comfortable for all but the tallest out there, with more than enough adjustability in the seat and steering to set yourself up for a day in the saddle. The driving position is certainly more ‘old school’ than most with the steering wheel close and passengers closer but this really does just add to the charm and character of this compact off roader. There’s excellent visibility from your seat up front with a view across the flat and square bonnet which lets you keep the front corners in view, giving excellent visibility on uneven terrain and allows you the typically SUV higher driving position that we all know and love.

Setting off is as simple as slotting the slick 5-speed manual gearbox into first whilst appreciating the light clutch under foot and the Suzuki pulls away without drama giving you your first chance to appreciate the new 1.5L, 4 cylinder engine under the bonnet. Producing 99.6 bhp at 6000 rpm and 95 Ib/ft torque at 4000 rpm, this is an engine that suits the Jimny down to the ground as it produces more than enough power for reasonably rapid progress on the road whilst retaining enough low down shove for tackling those, shall we say, less conventional routes away from the tarmac. CO2 emissions (WLTP) of 178 g/km and combined efficiency figures of 35.8 mpg mean that, despite the less than aerodynamic front end, the Jimny will be kind to your pocket when visiting the pumps and allow for travelling further afield as and when the mood takes you.

For such a compact SUV the Suzuki enjoys being hustled along your favourite A and B roads in a manner that delights and surprises in equal measures. Pushing on in the Jimny is fun, the engine letting you know how hard it’s working by filling the cabin with the delicious sounds of a normally aspirated four cylinder power-plant being used as nature intended, whilst the suspension allows for body role to be kept relatively in check as long as liberties are not being taken, this is an SUV after all.

Clever technology abounds in this all new iteration of the Jimny, with its dual sensor brake support, high beam assist, weaving alert, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition all included and simple to use. And that’s before you consider the Suzuki’s best trick ever, styling and technology that offers a genuine off-road capability.

Suzuki have enhanced and improved their venerable off-reader with each new model, with this latest iteration being no different in that respect, indeed, Suzuki are rather proud of the fact that the Jimny can adapt to tricky conditions with the merest shift of the transfer lever engaging their ALLGRIP Pro 4WD technologies. In fact, when the going gets tough there’s even three selectable driving modes to choose from. Switch to 4L mode for maximum torque control and traction. 4H mode lets you enjoy traction at higher speeds, for snowy and flatter off-road terrains. And the 2H mode lets you switch to a smoother, quieter and more fuel-efficient ride for paved roads.

What Suzuki have delivered is one of the coolest looking cars of the last few years. A genuinely unique offering in an increasingly monotonous market sector and one that will stand out amongst it’s peers for many years to come. The angular exterior and cleverly packaged interior remind you of Jimnys through the ages yet point forward towards an even more exciting future for this evergreen SUV, for which we should all be grateful. The Jimny is achingly cool to look at, able to travel near or far economically and in relative comfort, packed with the necessary technology and features demanded of cars today and offers up genuinely fantastic off-road capability for amateur adventurers to exploit to their hearts content.

I absolutely love it.

As will you.

Where will you go?

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