Since its inception in 1971, Suzuki’s philosophy behind the fan favourite Jimny has been to build a compact, lightweight and affordable off-road vehicle with true 4×4 capabilities. The 2018 redesign delivers this brief on trend, with an attention to detail that sees almost every aspect of the vehicle refined and improved.
The exterior styling finds the right mix of classic and contemporary. Striking angles pay direct homage to the original LJ and SJ Series, as do the upturned front fenders, round headlamps, round orange indicators and clamshell bonnet. This Jimny is ready for serious Instagram attention, and deservedly so – it looks great.
The good looks have practical application too. The upright design of the roof pillars enable it to carry more weight – solid enough for a rack or even rooftop tent, and the angled front and rear bumpers increase the approach and departure angles in rocky off-road conditions.
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But what’s under the hood?
Both the auto and manual come standard with the complete AllGrip Pro system (4×2, 4×4 and 4×4 low range) and the helpful Hill hold and Hill descent controls, which when put to the test by this reviewer in serious and slippery conditions, delivered perfectly. The two specification levels, GA and GLX, and two transmission options – five-speed manual and four-speed automatic – have the same mechanical pedigree and are both equally ready for serious off-roading.
A new, more powerful 1.5ℓ engine provides much better fuel efficiency both on and off road than it’s 1.3ℓ predecessor. Suzuki also emphasise the addition of a patented cross member, the Suzuki X-member between the two rigid axles, that provide a new level of strength for the ladder frame chassis.
We quite liked the new Jimny and added to our December Country Kit.
Tell us about the bells and whistles
The exterior’s blend of practical and retro is echoed in the interior design. It’s deceptively simple, unexpectedly spacious and all versions come standard with air con and power steering but the GLX models get climate control, electric windows and mirrors, Auto LED projector headlamps, remote central locking, cruise control and a quite remarkable and intuitive 7” infrared-touch screen and smartphone linkage display audio. My iPhone connected seamlessly with Apple Carplay and the audio and messaging application icons were mirrored on the large centre display for easy use. The system has a USB connector, SD-card slot and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and the most important features can be controlled by buttons on the leather-covered steering wheel.
Practical interior utility is not compromised either. The front seats have been redesigned to fold completely flat which will allow any intrepid explorers who forget the tent to sleep inside the cabin. Surfboards and similar adventure gear will slide in easily along a completely flat loading surface when the seats are folded down on the passenger side too.
The 2018 Jimny is robust and there are some new safety features: impact-absorbing zones in the bumper, wipers, cowl, bonnet and fenders; additional side-impact bars and two front airbags; ISOFIX child seat anchors, a high mounted brake light and an emergency pedal release system.
And the bottom line?
The GLX model is standard with a 4-year/60 000km service plan and is priced at R319 900 for the auto and R299 900 for the manual. The GA model comes with a 2-year/30 000km service plan and costs R264 900. All models are sold with a 5-year/200 000km mechanical warranty for a limited time only. There is also a 6-year/unlimited kilometres body corrosion warranty and a 3-year/unlimited kilometres roadside assistance.
For more information, visit suzukiauto.co.za
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Words Stephen Smith
I’m a journalist by trade but a tinkerer by nature. I potter about doing this and that, making up for my lack of skills with enthusiasm and a knack for research. In a perfect world I would spend my days doing a bit of everything, and nothing in particular – some woodwork perhaps, a little leatherwork, tending to my bees (Two Skinny Guys Honey Co.), concocting home-made bee-sting remedy… That sort of thing.
My actual job is mostly editing magazines, writing articles and planning articles, taking photos and copywriting for a few clients. I’m the Motoring and DIY editor for SA Country Life, and a freelance contributor to a number of national publications.
But my time to shine is as the dad to Gray and husband to Curls (Emily) – that is where joy can be found.