2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The Japanese manufacturer has had the Jimny in its range for 40 years. Sometimes you ask yourself why, only to find a few good reasons behind the wheel.
By Martin Woldt
The sales figures do not announce any records. The technology is basically yesterday. And compared to competitors like the Lada Niva, it isn't really cheap either. But it still seems to be fun. Suzuki sold almost 7,000 Jimnys in 2009. The flea has been cruising around the small four-wheel drive segment for more than 40 years now. And if you think of Suzuki's aspired alliance with Volkswagen, then it may even have a future as a diesel engine. He lost the diesel in 2009 due to a lack of demand.
Still without ESP
The Jimny has not seen any major technical improvements for 12 years now. ESP, for example, would have long been up to date, especially since the hardware with the 3-channel ABS has long been on board. The high center of gravity, the short wheelbase of 2.25 meters, the flexible chassis, make you a little more cautious than usual when you are preparing to sound out load change reactions with fast steering wheel movements.
The standard all-wheel drive counteracts oversteer somewhat. But the front-wheel drive can also be switched off, even if it is to save fuel.
Fun-resistant in the back seat
In the past 40 years, the Jimny has grown by 40 centimeters to 3.63 meters. That officially made him a four-seater. But you can't really talk about having fun in the back seat. Perhaps more so if it is a convertible variant that is open from the back to the B-pillar. Then the blowing wind makes the tightness around the knees a bit forgotten. The effortless back seat user typically has puberty a long way off and sees the squeezing through at entry more as an adventure than free entry. Fold down the backrest on the lever, pull the seat clamp, then push it forward - that looks pretty antiquated.
Four people with luggage must be able to be modest. Much more than a comb, toothbrush and shaving kit can hardly be accommodated in the 113 liter storage space. That's half the smart level. For two people with the rear seat folded down, the volume can be expanded to 800 liters. But at least the Jimny can hook up to 1.3 tons. After all, weekly shopping is also possible with a trailer.
Despite all the restrictions, the Jimny still stands for driving fun. But what does it actually consist of? That has to do with its good clarity. The high seating position (ground clearance 19 centimeters), the straight pillars and the large, largely rectangular windows leave a noticeable proximity to the surroundings even when the vehicle is closed. The rule is: see and be seen.
In addition, the Jimny is only 1.35 meters wide with the mirrors cut off, making it particularly suitable for parking spaces. Although you have to get used to the dimensions of the spare wheel flange-mounted on the outside of the rear door, you mostly successfully squeeze your way through any urban confinement - also thanks to the turning circle of only 9.8 meters.
Between road and terrain
The Jimny moves even more convincingly in the field. In contrast to some modern pseudo-off-roaders, you can expect a lot off the road. An off-road reduction and the front-wheel drive that can be activated at the push of a button are part of the standard equipment. On his ladder frame, which is suspended from coil springs, you swing pretty much across the field. But that’s just: making progress where others have to pass.
On the other hand, the Jimny doesn't necessarily deliver a driving performance for the masses on normal roads. The steering leaves a lot of play in the central position. Little can be felt of the road contact between the front wheels. The manual five-speed gearshift has only poorly guided shift paths. And the background noise is not an invitation to long overland tours either. The car body rocks uneasily over cobblestones.
The Suzuki is now only available with one engine. One can consider the 1.3 gasoline engine with 63kW / 86 HP as sufficient. In a good 14 seconds it rushes from zero to one hundred and then manages 140 km / h. But it is basically not advisable. Anyone who drives at such high freeway speeds has to be prepared for consumption of over eleven liters. And even in the city you are around 9.3 liters per 100 kilometers. That's quite a lot for a vehicle that weighs only about 1150 kilograms.
Those who strive for the 7.2 liters specified in the standard consumption have to be very cautious. You have to estimate at least 14,600 euros. From 16,700 euros you can drive the Jimny with automatic. Ultimately, it depends on how much the fun is worth to you.