Currently reading: Suzuki Jimny 5 door review
Beloved baby off-roader is great for cities and gets enhanced practicality – but only in certain markets

When the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny arrived in 2018, it immediately endeared itself. Its boxy character was reminiscent of a baby Mercedes-Benz G-Class and it equally relished the rough stuff.

It had bags of character and attracted leagues of fans. But what it didn’t have was space. Now, for the first time in the Jimny’s history, it’s available as a five-door, with 340mm added to the wheelbase and an extra 126 litres of luggage space.

However, before you get excited and bang down the door of your nearest Suzuki dealership, it still emits too much CO2 to make UK sales viable. This one was tested in South Africa.

Despite that extended wheelbase, it’s the same height and width as the three-door Jimny. It takes up no more space than a Fiat 500 and looks positively tiny in a car park full of other SUVs. The interior is nevertheless spacious enough and coped with a family of four and all their holiday luggage easily, although the back bench has only two seatbelts.

A neat trick is the possibility of folding all the seats down flat to make two beds for camping. The interior surfaces feel solid, the controls are all chunky and there are plenty of places to hold on if the going gets tough.

Back to top

There’s a bit of modern technology, too, in the form of a 9.0in touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although it can be a bit tricky at times to hit the right icon.

That’s partly because the 5-Door uses the same ladder-frame chassis and three-link rigid-axle suspension as the standard Jimny, which means the ride often feels unsettled, even if the longer wheelbase does improve matters slightly.

The naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine has the same meagre 103bhp and 99lb ft of torque to pull along the additional 75kg of weight, which means lots of down-changes and revs up inclines and at motorway speeds. Meanwhile, the steering requires significant effort and the brakes hardly inspire confidence.

None of these flaws detract from the Jimny’s lovable character, though, even if they should. Get off the Tarmac and the Jimny comes into its own, like a baby Jeep Wrangler.

An automatic gearbox is available, but we tested the five-speed manual, which made light work of channelling that small torque output. It’s ideal for use on farm tracks, gravel roads and country lanes, where it feels far more comfortable. On an off-road course, we put its 210mm of ground clearance to the test, as well as its 36deg approach angle and 47deg departure angle.

Back to top

Its diminutive size and light weight had it breeze over most obstacles, while the manual lever to switch between the 4WD system’s high and low ratios was easy to engage.

However, the Jimny doesn’t have any differential locks, which meant it struggled with a particularly deep bit of mud, requiring some outside assistance to escape. Even that seemed like part of the fun, though, which is what the Jimny is about.

It may lack power and be a bit clunky on the road, but it’s full of character, from its purposeful exterior design to its combination of comfort, tech and practical off-roader feel inside. It makes a great urban runabout, being so small, and has genuine off-road capability for weekend adventures, unlike most SUVs.

With the additional space and practicality provided by the longer wheelbase and the extra doors, this is the Jimny we have all been waiting for. How annoying that the need to pay import costs would blow the price out of proportion.

By Mark Smyth

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Deputy 4 March 2024

This legislation is so flawed.  Land Rover / Mercedes sell V8 4x4's pumping out far more CO2 as they also sell the plugin hybrid  or EV's - and it's the portfolio average that matters! Meanwhile a small Jimny that emits far less than that V8 is banned as Suzuki doesn't sell an EV.  Maybe the legislation is biased towards the luxury end Euro owned brands... ? No surely not, that would be morally wrong not to actually help the environment...

streaky 4 March 2024
Why on earth does Suzuki persist with that tired old engine when it has others that would comply with our emissions regulations and allow it to sell here in the UK?
catnip 3 March 2024

Its amazing to see a motoring journalist write that something that takes up no more space than a Fiat 500 can cope with a family of four and all their holiday luggage. Whilst I agree with this, usually its biggest is always best, get the largest, most practical one, something which most people I know seem to believe too. As soon as the first child is on the way, that Grandland or Tiguan replaces the Corsa or Polo on the driveway.