Suzuki Jimny 1.3-litre SZ4
On the road price: £13,295
Price plus extras: £13,725
THE Suzuki Jimny is often over-looked in the 4x4 market but it is more than capable of standing up to the worst conditions possible.
If you’re not convinced, speak to the team who will be taking on the ‘Ultimate Challenge’ later this month. They will be using a fleet of Suzuki Jimny’s to travel 28,000 miles through 16 countries, two continents and across two oceans.
Why did they opt for the Jimny?
It’s because this Suzuki has durability and also to prove that such a gruelling journey could be undertaken in affordable compact off-roaders.
Remember the Top Gear Bolivia special from 2009 where the presenters used budget 4x4s to negotiate 1,000 miles through rainforests?
The Suzuki Jimny made light work of the route and was described by the presenters as a very capable off-roader.
In this Top Gear special, the Jimny was only knocked into second place by the Range Rover because of a difference in comfort levels.
I’m a big fan of the Jimny and was pleased to see continued investment by Suzuki in revising the model again — this year marks the 43rd anniversary of the company’s first compact SUV.
The 2013 model of the Jimny has received a number of exterior and interior design updates to help modernise appearance while maintaining the long established tough and capable reputation Jimny has among its 20,000 loyal owners in the UK.
Design revisions include a new front bumper and grille design, new design bonnet shape incorporating central air intake as well as repositioning of the front fog lamps.
The new front bumper design has resulted in a slight increase in overall length of 30mm to 3,675mm — although the Jimny easily remains the most compact SUV on sale in the UK.
For the interior, a new seat fabric trim has been adopted for the SZ3; both SZ3 and SZ4 models have new design front and rear headrests as well as ISOFIX child seat mountings fitted as standard to the rear seats.
The all-alloy 16-valve 1.3-litre engine benefits from variable valve timing, ensuring lively performance, and strong fuel economy.
Maximum output is 85PS, with 81lbft of torque delivered at 4,100rpm; a flat torque curve means near maximum torque is delivered from as low as 2,500 rpm, giving Jimny the kind of flexible driving character and pulling power that are integral to a successful SUV.
Some 4x4s make driving a difficult task — especially if you are not used to having two gear sticks as is still common with many 4x4s.
The Jimny takes saloon simplicity and combines it with off-road capability. Switching between two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive is just a button push away and can be selected on the move while travelling in a straight line at speeds of up to 62mph.
The Jimny is fundamentally designed to cope with off-road conditions with 190mm ground clearance, approach and departure angles of 34° and 46° respectively, and a ramp angle of 31°.
The Jimny isn’t afraid of some rough and tumble but that doesn’t mean it has a rugged and utilitarian appearance.
Standard equipment in the top-of-the-range SZ4 Jimny includes air conditioning, electronic and heated door mirrors, CD-player and ample synthetic leather upholstery.
But all is not quite perfect. The Jimny has a couple of issues which may annoy some drivers — firstly, performance is slow with a 0-62mph time of 14.1 seconds and secondly, the ride can be a little jerky until the vehicle has warmed to normal running temperature.
In defence, it’s unlikely you will be buying a Jimny for fast motorway driving and it’s unlikely you will be buying a Jimny for short trips to the supermarket.
There are plenty of other models on the market if it’s speed and luxury you are seeking. But if it’s proven 4x4 power and capability you are after at an affordable price then the Jimny is your answer.
I would buy a Jimny for my daily commute as I travel around 45 miles a day on a route where the average speed is only 50mph and its one which is treacherous with a multitude of snow, flood water or mud on a frequent basis.
If this sounds similar to your commute and you want the added benefit of a vehicle which can offer you 1,300kg towing capabilities, 39.8mpg fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of 162g/km — the Jimny is your vehicle too.