Suzuki Jimny - Used

Car Review

Suzuki Jimny, 2017, off road
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, side
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, side, mud
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, rear
Suzuki Jimny, 2017, interior

ALTHOUGH there has been a new Suzuki Jimny on the market for over a year, the company has decided to stop importing it to Britain because sales are so small.

That's a great shame because it's actually a very likeable small SUV with amazing off-road ability, cheap running costs and fair on-road manners.

That said, the previous Jimny, which had a very long run from 1998 to 2018, is a great vehicle for a bit of urban fun, and is also one of the best off-roaders on the market.

Like all Suzukis, it's reliable and long lasting, but out on the open road, it's hard for many people to live with because of the tough 4x4 suspension needed to manage rough terrain without damage.

This bounces occupants around unmercifully over anything but the smoothest of black stuff, and becomes very wearing over longer journeys.

Combined with short wheelbase it makes for a very lumpy, choppy, uncomfortable ride much of the time.

There is only one engine option, a little 84bhp, 1,328cc four cylinder petrol and it has more than enough power off-road, when combined with the standard set of proper low ratio gears.

I have taken Jimnys over some horrendous terrain, through deep mud and deeper rivers and up and down impossible-looking slopes. I expected to get stuck on many occasions and need a tow out, but I never did.

This was occasionally with the Rhino Club, which is exclusively for the owners of Jimny and earlier SJ models and it organizes off-road and other events around the country.

On the road, the engine is still driving all four wheels and what with the weight of the heavier drivetrain and a shape rather less aerodynamic than a small barn, performance is not up to much and neither is economy for such a small vehicle.

There is reasonable acceleration up to 50 miles an hour but above that it struggles, and when cruising at 70 miles an hour on the motorway - almost its top speed - economy drops considerably. The government combined figure is 38.7mpg.

Although the road holding is reasonable, with a fair amount of grip, it will not corner safely anywhere near as fast as an equivalent family hatch.

Noise, from the engine, wind and road is also bad at speed, but if you're coming from an older 4x4, it would feel fine.

The shape is, as it's always been, that of an overgrown Tonka toy - but make no mistake - this is not a softie.

The dated interior matches the square exterior looks and there are only four seats, with the rear two right above the rear wheels and still leaving little legroom. The boot is tiny and hardly worth mentioning unless you put the back seats down.

Base models have electric windows and mirrors and two front airbags and mid-range SZ3 adds remote locking, anti-lock brakes, roof rails, heated mirrors and a CD player. Top SZ4 has leather, alloys and aircon.

Pay about £7,450 for a '15 15-reg SZ3, or £9,800 for a '17 17-reg SZ4.

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