But that would be to miss the Jimny’s unique selling point. This is an ultra-, ultra-compact SUV – it is almost identical in length and width to the Volkswagen Up – and one that prides itself on its off-road prowess. On pricing, the Dacia Duster or Fiat Panda 4x4 are the most likely rivals, but for off-roading, it’s an alternative to the far pricier Land Rover Discovery Sport or Jeep Wrangler.
My first experience of a Suzuki Jimny was a memorable one – for all the wrong reasons. I had a fairly well-used example as a hire car in Barbados; well over 50,000 miles on the clock and, as I would find out, all of those miles likely covered on the same set of tyres. The first sense that something was up was when I began turning in to a roundabout at roughly 20mph and experienced the slowest understeer of my life, heading very slowly straight into the central island. Later, I applied the brakes going downhill, only for all the wheels to lock up, sending me sliding perilously towards the bottom.
It won’t be hard, then, for our new Jimny long-term test car to surpass its Bajan equivalent. During its six months with us, it will tackle London’s urban jungle, winter weather and, of course, some off-roading, and we will have plenty of time to contemplate whether or not the quirky Jimny is worth considering as a left-field alternative to more obvious rivals.
Ours is one of few Jimnys on UK roads: only 1200 cars will be sold in a year, just one-tenth the sales of Suzuki’s biggest seller, the Vitara. That number is largely down to supply limitations and it’s the same reason why the most common paint colour is white: not because that’s what buyers have chosen, but because that’s what arrived in the UK. Such is the Jimny’s loyal following that, Suzuki says, many will take it in whatever colour they can get. That’s not a claim many car firms could make.
We have the £650 dual-tone paint, bright blue with a black roof, which is one of the few options available. The most popular options are side body mouldings, a front skid plate and mud flaps, which tells you all you need to know about Jimny buyers.
Indeed, Suzuki reckons many of its new-Jimny customers had the old model, and there are some conquest sales, too. It is invariably purchased by people in rural areas who use the Jimny for leisure plus some winter driving. Given its off-road focus, it’s no surprise that the Jimny is typically a second household car and has low annual mileage.
It’s a simple line-up: one 100bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine and two trim levels, SZ4 and SZ5. We’re running the higher-trim SZ5, which has such a long specification list that it’d be hard to find much more to ask for. It seems especially abundant, I reckon, because the Jimny’s interior is so humble and sturdy that one expects it to be sparsely equipped. Instead, you’ll find heated seats, high-beam assist, DAB, nav, cruise control, Bluetooth, lane departure warning and much more. One missing feature I’m used to is parking sensors, but I quickly realised how absurd sensors would be given how close you are to the back of the car and its boxy nature.