Suzuki Jimny 1.3 SZ4

Suzuki Jimny, 2017, off road
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, side
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, side, mud
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, rear
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, interior
Suzuki Jimny Adventure, 2016, front

SUZUKI'S Jimny arrived way back in 1998 and I remember driving it on the UK launch at Scotland's Gleneagles hotel.

Back then the Jimny surprised all of us motoring hacks with its off-road ability and all these years later it still does.

It may look like a toy but it is a genuine mud-plugger with push button selectable four-wheel-drive combined with high and low gear ratios.

Its light weight and agility more than make up for its modest power and the result is astonishing performance on tough terrain. It will tackle almost anything and was ideal for the recent blizzard conditions.

You can have a laugh as other motorists in expensive German saloons struggle in the wintry weather - simply nip past them and drive up hills as they try to get some traction.

Small and quirky looking the Jimny has a very loyal following and although it is now in its third generation it hasn't really changed all that much.

An all-new model will arrive at some point in 2019 and Suzuki will be hoping it is just as successful as the current Jimny has racked-up global sales of nearly three million. I am told the new model will retain the same neat dimensions and ability but will feature all the latest technology fitted to the firm's other models.

All Jimny models are powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine which produces 85ps and takes a sedate 14.1 seconds to reach 62mph. It goes on to a top speed of 87mph and has no difficulty in keeping up with motorway traffic. The five-speed gearbox allows it to achieve 39.8mpg on the combined cycle and you will get more on longer runs.

The cabin may be showing its age but there is room for four adults and when you open the rear-hinged door you have access to 324 litres of luggage space. The spare wheel sits on the rump but does not obscure your vision.

I sampled the top SZ4 model and it comes with alloys, rear privacy glass, roof rails and a body-coloured hard spare wheel cover, air-conditioning and leather as well as powered windows and mirrors.

The driving position is excellent and provides all-round visibility and all the instruments and controls are clear and easy to read and use. My only gripe was the lack of Bluetooth and the tiny fiddly buttons on thesound system.

One thing the Jimny does not lack is character. It may not be a sprinter off the mark or the most refined in its class but it is the only one with true off-road ability.

The Jimny has a very loyal following in the UK and sells just over a 1,000 units each year without Suzuki bothering to promote it. Many owners are on their third or fourth models and that says something about this little car's charm.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Jimny 1.3 SZ4

Price:£14,748

Mechanical:85ps, 1,328cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:87mph

0-62mph:14.1 seconds

Combined MPG:39.8

Insurance Group:15

C02 emissions:162g/km

Bik rating:29%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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