Suzuki's unpretentious 4x4 is lovable in short doses. Did its charm wear thin over six months?

Why we ran it: To see whether the modern-day Jimny is as worthy as its iconic predecessor.

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17 Suzuki jimny 2019 lt static

Life with a Suzuki Jimny: Month 6

Our time with it is up. So is it a characterful 4x4 that excels in town and off road or just flawed, cramped and too old-school? - 3 June 2020

Ah, the Suzuki Jimny. What a refreshing, brilliant yet flawed little car. It has probably been the easiest long-termer to write about in my car hack career – because it’s so characterful and quirky compared with most cars – and probably the one I’d most like to have kept (although it would be great to have the Bentley Continental GT alongside it, too…), despite its flaws.

I was apprehensive when the car first turned up, mostly because I hadn’t driven the latest version and had experienced extreme reactions from colleagues, varying from ‘Oh, that’s so cool!’ to ‘Ah. Unlucky’.

The short journey home from the office didn’t leave me enthralled. The steering feel and direction was hilariously bad, changing gears felt glitchy and the uprightness and ample glass left me feeling vulnerable in terms of safety. And then there was the unrefined four-cylinder naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine.

Objectively, most car buyers want a well-rounded motor and most firms do their very best to cater to this, of course with variance depending on family, lifestyle etc. But the Jimny isn’t an all-rounder, which is why it could never be compared to other compact SUVs of today if it were to be a box-ticking exercise, which it so often is. The charm of the Jimny – and, I admit, it takes a while to grow – is exactly because it is contrary to the principles of many modern-day car creations.

Take the interior, for example. Most off-roaders also try to have a quality, even luxury, interior. The Jimny stays true to its roots by being sturdy and solid but definitely not premium. You’re never going to feel cosseted in it, but the more you drive it, the more you realise the interior is pretty fail-safe. The seats are comfortable and can be heated (a boon for the winter months) and the infotainment system is simple but user-friendly especially with Apple CarPlay in action.

It’s a four-seater, and although I did fit my partner and parents in it for a drive to the pub for Sunday lunch, it’s not to be advised for anything above 15-minute journeys. Editorial director Jim Holder braved a longer drive with his family and found his 12-year-old complaining of sickness after an hour, which isn’t surprising given the lax body control.

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But then it’s not a family car. The majority of owners, says Suzuki and the many readers who have been in touch to praise their respective Jimnys, use only the front two seats. The rear two normally lie flat to create more boot space. There are quite a few previous-generation Jimnys around my neck of the woods and, based on my nosy peering, it certainly seems a rite of passage to house various detritus in the back – much of which appears to have been there for many years.

22 April jimny

With the rear seats in an upright position, there’s a measly 85 litres of space. It’s just about enough room to place a few shopping bags if you position them carefully and can shut the rear door before they fall out. The Jimny’s magic is felt best in three places: in town, the countryside and off road. In town, you first have to adapt to that far from perfect steering I mentioned and get the knack of the gears. Once you’ve nailed that, this Jimny is a delight in places like suburban London, because it has the best visibility of any car I’ve driven in years while also being ridiculously tiny and upright for parking and getting through tight squeezes on busy local roads.

In the country, you’ll need to embrace that questionable body control and realise cornering isn’t really a thing in a Jimny. It does, however, feel like the perfect companion for bumbling around country roads on daily short trips to the farm shop. Indeed, the Jimny is owned mostly by rural types. Last winter, the weather wasn’t extreme enough to truly appreciate its 4x4 abilities, but it’d certainly reassure me to have it if I lived out of town.

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Talking of 4x4 abilities, the Jimny’s are everything you’ve heard and more. I’ve previously waxed lyrical about my day at Tixover quarry but just to reiterate: I’ve never had more fun off-roading than in this Jimny. We tried to get it stuck: we couldn’t. We tried to push its limits on crazy descents: we couldn’t. Just brilliant.

The journey back to London from the quarry couldn’t have been more different. It was dark, raining torrentially and in that period where storms were bad enough to be named every other day. Driving the Jimny on the A1 and M25 in these conditions was nothing short of miserable. I’d already learned that the Jimny wasn’t good above 60mph on a still day but this run was the final straw. From that point on, I avoided motorway driving in the Jimny at all costs.

It’s a small price to pay once you’ve come round to the Jimny’s quirky delights. It also explains why Jimnys are typically low-mileage, long-owned vehicles and often second cars in a household. While they’re certainly niche, they also have a cult following, one that means demand massively outstrips supply, particularly with Suzuki being forced to limit numbers in the UK to meet emissions targets.

If you are inclined to look beyond the obvious choices for a runaround with 4x4 power – and have the luck to get your hands on one – there’s every chance you’d hold onto a Jimny for a very long time.

Second Opinion

You can make the Jimny list to a remarkable degree simply by wiggling in your seat, which tells you how it handles, and it is truly awful on the motorway. But chatting with buyers showed me how broad its appeal is: they included a horticulturalist, mobile hairdresser, forester and an off-roading fan.

Kris Culmer

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Love it:

Infotainment system Infotainment is pretty good anyway, but with Apple CarPlay it behaves as well as one in a far pricier car.

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Mud-slinging fun The most obvious one of all: its off-road abilities. Tempt me with another car this fun in a quarry.

Practical shape Its compact and upright nature is so satisfying: for visibility, for parking and for manoeuvrability.

Distinctive appearance I don’t usually like to stand out with a car but, with absolutely no air of ostentation, it was fun in the Jimny.

Loathe it:

Motorway journeys I know I’m a bore on this one, but when you refuse to use a car on a motorway, you know it’s bad.

Final mileage: 12,370

14 Suzuki jimny 2019 lt rb driving

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Could a conversion make the Jimny even more lovable? - 15 May 2020

New Jimnys are already rare given their limited supply, but if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, you could convert it to a pick-up. It’s perfect really: the ultimate, light off-roader loved by rural dwellers goes one step further and becomes a sturdy farmhand.

Dave Johnson at Shropshire Quads has been converting Jimnys since 2016. He says he started the venture when he got fed up with the reliability of UTVs; previously, he’d sold quad bikes such as Arctic Cats into the agricultural sector.

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It keeps the same 99bhp 1.5-litre powertrain as a standard Jimny, but is 250mm longer at 3730mm and35kg lighter at 1100kg.

Kimny pickup 0220

The conversion kits are imported from Austria and then Johnson works his magic. He does two or three a month, but most still remain the old-gen Jimny. He has done two new Jimnys though, one of which was for the RNLI.

Once the basic conversion is done - which includes a metal rear bulkhead panel fitted with a heated rear window and plastic and roof mouldings bonded to the vehicle - you can pick two specs: a 1in or 3in suspension lift plus other upgrades, costing from £7000 to £8500 + VAT.

Johnson says most farmers go for the 3in lift with uprated springs and shocks as an alternative to a buggy. Tyres are typically 29/10/15 but the biggest are 31/15.5/15 flotation ones, which make the pick-up “look very cool”, says Johnson.

The most unusual use of a Jimny pick-up, according to Johnson? Barra airport in the Outer Hebrides transports luggage from planes which land on the beach to the terminal in one. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Mileage: 12,335

Kimny pickup 0221

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A few improvements one owner would make - 22 April 2020

What changes might one make to a Jimny given the chance? Reader Pami Dhariwal says a little more power would be welcome but isn’t essential (agreed, Pami). He has ordered an anti-slip mat to stop items sliding around in his load-liner (very wise) as he uses the Jimny as a twoseater at all times (who doesn’t?). Finally, he’ll add rear speakers, saying: “The two door speakers seem a little basic for someone of a certain age with hearing issues.” Helpfully, the range-topping SZ5 – like our car – already has the connectors in its wiring loom for such a job.

Mileage: 12,330

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Life with a Suzuki Jimmy: Month 5

Like what you see? - 11 March 2020

As I got back into the Jimny after filling up with petrol, a man slowly walked around the circumference of the Jimny, inspecting it closely. I looked at him, enquiringly, and he said: “I just wanted to see which Jimny it was.” The limited if cult-like appeal of the Jimny was confirmed by his niche car: a Dodge Caliber. One thing’s for sure: no other car I’ve driven has ever had this reaction.

Mileage: 12,325

Jimny drinking

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The love story continues, but this is no long-distance romance - 4 March 2020

Tuning companies typically devote their time to high-end cars such as Range Rovers, Lamborghinis and the like. But just once in a while, something cult-like comes along that deserves such attention. You guessed it: the Jimny is that very car.

Walking through Mayfair recently (not reflective of my means…), I spotted a – sorry – pimped version of a Jimny, courtesy of tuner Liberty Walk, typically purveyor of bodykits for cars from Lamborghini and Ferrari.

There’s no point pretending I like tuned versions of models. I don’t. Yet, yet, yet… doesn’t this Liberty Walk Jimny border on super-cool? There are a few firms that offer Jimny modifications, including Jimny Style as well as Liberty Walk. I called up the latter to find out the appetite for these in the UK.

This latest Jimny has long been called a miniature Mercedes-Benz G-Class/G-Wagen, featuring the same boxy proportions on a smaller scale. So much so that Liberty Walk brazenly calls its version the G-Mini.

James Pearman, director of The Performance Company, which is the sole importer of Liberty Walk to the UK, says: “The kit is designed to make it look like a mini G-Wagen. We’ve had so much interest in it that we put it alongside a Lamborghini Aventador on our Autosport International Show stand. It gets as much attention as the supercars.”

Liberty walk jimny

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He adds that it was probably the firm’s most successful kit last year. There are three options to choose from. They range from the most basic, with front bumper, front grille and wide body kit at a cost of £2284 (excluding VAT), to the most extreme Premium kit, with front roof spoiler, rear wing and modified bonnet, priced at £4456 (excluding VAT). The brand also offers a couple of other extras such as air suspension (from £3875) and a Fi exhaust (from £1400).

The kits are a big hit with Suzuki dealers as well, adds Pearman. “Five main dealers have converted their Jimny demonstrator to a Liberty Walk version,” he says.

Meanwhile, our standard Jimny is as popular as ever, eliciting much reaction both from readers and those on the road. Reader Mike Marwick got in touch to praise his Jimny, describing it as a fantastic “urban warrior”.

“The all-round visibility is far superior to most small cars’, speed bumps and potholes are no problem, and no parking space is too small,” says Mike.

Handily, his daughter drives a Fiat Panda 4x4 – the closest rival to the Jimny – and he concedes that the Panda is a better car for her long-distance commute. That’s no surprise, given our motorway experiences in the Jimny.

Mike also fits the typical profile of a Jimny owner: it’s a second car (the first being an Audi Q5) and it does low mileage – around 5000 miles a year, he reckons.

And so back to my Jimny experience. Having been on holiday with no driving for a week, I was thrilled to get back behind the wheel of the Suzuki. I well and truly love it, with the now-standard caveat of so long as it doesn’t involve motorway driving. As it continues to grow on me in urban and rural environments, it continues to grate on me anywhere else – to the extent that I’m mostly borrowing my generous colleagues’ long-term test cars for longer journeys. But that’s okay: we always knew this car was not trying to be the practical allrounder claimed by nearly every other car maker out there.

Love it:

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The positive attention It gets reactions when out and about for all the right reasons.

Loathe it:

It’s still motorways Can I say motorway driving for the third consecutive ‘loathe it’?

Mileage: 12,075

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Life with a Suzuki Jimmy: Month 4

Down with the kids - 26 February 2020

There’s no faster way to confirm the Tonka Toy appeal of the Jimny than to stick it in front of a 10- and 12-year old, who would scarcely have uttered more super-mega-cool superlatives if I’d drawn up in a bright-green Lamborghini. That said, the lax body control and confined conditions left the 12-year-old feeling car sick after just a 60-minute journey.

Mileage: 12,010

Jim in a jimny

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Would the little 4x4 cope with a sludgy quarry in January? That’s an easy one - 12 February 2020

The Jimny has become an easy, comfortable companion for urban and rural journeys over the past few months, but until now we haven’t really tested its promised forte: off-road prowess.

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Jimnys, past and present, have long been known for their 4x4 capability, led by light weight. In the case of our Jimny, it is around 1135kg on the scales; for comparison, a new Defender 90 weighs 2300kg.

My only off-roading in the Jimny had been some brief, tentative drives across muddy fields. So on a dreary Monday in January, I headed to the wilds of Lincolnshire – Tixover Quarry, to be precise – to see if the Jimny lived up to expectations. Alongside it was our Ford Ranger Raptor long-termer.

How far can the Jimny be pushed? Very far, it turns out. Facing a couple of steep inclines, on which 4x4 veteran Prior doubted the Jimny could cope, we were both surprised and thrilled that the Jimny gobbled them up with no trouble at all. Coming back down one of those steep inclines, I engaged hill descent – the ultimate test of trust. My foot hovered nervously above the brake pedal but, again, the Jimny did the job with no assistance.

We tried to get the Jimny properly stuck for the purposes of the video. The closest we got was when it failed to climb a tricky hill on a bend, but it wasn’t truly stuck, as it ably rolled back down. Jimny 1, quarry nil.

I’ve been off road quite a few times over the years, typically in Land Rovers on carefully planned routes. Perhaps the joy here was the gung-ho approach of making up routes as we went or the charm of being in a rough and ready car that is significantly cheaper and less polished than any modern Land Rover.

The benefits of light weight and short overhangs counter the lack of a locking diff or the fairly high-revving, naturally aspirated four-pot engine, which isn’t what you’d be likely to choose for an off-road machine. But without the extra weight to propel, our Jimny skipped over the terrain effortlessly.

For car enthusiasts, driving is more than just getting from A to B. But in a world where track days are pricey endeavours, I’d argue that you can’t have much more fun than by approaching the limits of a Jimny in a quarry.

Love it:

Eats tough terrain Hard to find more fun off road than in this mountain goat.

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Loathe it:

Can’t digest motorways Storm Brendan + the A1, M1, M25 = not a happy Jimny.

Mileage: 11,682

Suzuki jimny 2020 long term review   off roading 6

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Small, until you see what came before - 5 February 2020

On a recent trip to a multi-storey, I happened to park next to a previous-generation Jimny. Given the tiny proportions of our long-termer, it was interesting to find the new car (at least from the rear) noticeably bigger and more boxy than its predecessor. The old Jimny has the retro-cool factor, but the styling of the new model easily wins for me. I do miss the rhino badge, though.

Mileage: 11,325

Jimny meets jimny

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Life with a Suzuki Jimny: Month 3

City slicker heads to the countryside, laden with precious cargo - 15th January 2020

Living with the Jimny in London has been a breeze, most notably because of its dinky size and brilliant visibility. But a trip to my parents’ home during the holidays gave me the perfect opportunity to spend some time in the Jimny in its natural habitat – the countryside.

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As soon as I hit the familiar, rural roads of Bedfordshire where I grew up, the Jimny felt a suitable companion: petite for tight country lanes, elevated for big puddles and with no need for high speeds, which we know aren’t the Jimny’s forte.

When I was growing up in a tiny Bedfordshire village and winter came around, every night there’d be a slight uncertainty as to whether we’d be able to get anywhere in the morning. Being at the bottom of a valley, there’s a hill in every direction, but not enough people living there to warrant road-gritting. Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of cars in ditches and only just escaped patches of stealthy black ice myself.

Knowing I was coming home for Christmas in the Jimny eradicated any of those concerns. This one particular hill, on which I’ve seen many a car abandoned, was no contest for the lightweight, sprightly Jimny in four-wheel-drive mode. My parents’ house doesn’t require getting away from Tarmac but, with plenty of mud-laden fields (I very nearly lost a walking boot on a local hike), I briefly took the Jimny offroad and it coped as well as I expected. A proper off-road test, with 4x4 aficionado Matt Prior, will be on the way in the coming weeks.

Doing short journeys on Bedfordshire roads, the Jimny is the perfect runaround. Its ruggedness and no-frills approach mean I’m happy taking it anywhere, and the muddier it gets the better. Its shortcomings compared with the average new car today – such as ride comfort and stability at high speeds – also become less relevant for this sort of living. You’re rarely in the car for more than 20 minutes at a time and your average speed is probably 35mph or 40mph.

And, Suzuki reckons, this is precisely how most Jimnys are used. It says they are “invariably purchased by our customers in rural areas who use them for leisure with some winter use, too”, adding that Jimnys are most likely to be a second car that covers low annual mileage.

Based on those previous-generation Jimnys I’ve spotted, that’s correct. They tend to look rough and ready, and consistently have their back seats down, with a few seemingly permanent fixtures in the back such as old blankets, bags full of junk and more. Not that I’ve been snooping in the rear of Jimnys…

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Suzuki jimny long term review   muddy field

As for the interior itself, it is only ever going to win prizes for durability, but there are a few other areas worthy of note. I’ve mentioned the heated seats before: I’ll admit I’m shamelessly won over by some warmth in winter but, nonetheless, it’s a welcome feature – although I’ve also found the seats comfortable over longer journeys.

The infotainment system is a bit 2005 but still better than some Japanese makers’. Switch to Apple CarPlay, though, and it becomes an incredibly good set-up, exceeding what I’d expect of the Jimny.

Last but not least, its practicality in terms of carrying lots of luggage – in this case, many, many Christmas presents – is brilliant. The rear soon filled up but the boxy design let me use every nook and cranny, and the rear door made loading and unloading quick and easy, too.

Love it:

Driving slowly No-effort low-speed motoring – perfect for both muddy rural roads and busy towns.

Loathe it:

Driving quickly Going above 65mph on the motorway as you pass a lorry…

Mileage: 10,936

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Suzuki jimny long term review   boot filled

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Built for all weathers - 2nd January 2020

Winter weather wins: a small but practical advantage of the Jimny is how easily I can reach across to clear the frozen windscreen. In other cars, I often can’t get to the middle; it’s a different story in the upright, dinky Jimny. The heated seats, standard in our range-topping SZ5, continue to be my most used feature as we hit regular freezing temperatures.

Mileage: 9104

Suzuki jimny long term review   frosted windscreen

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Life with a Suzuki Jimny: Month 2

Charm will get you a long way – although it’s probably better not to go a long way - 27th November 2019

Some cars are objectively terrible yet you can’t help loving them: think the previous-generation Land Rover Defender or Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. For the past couple of months, I’ve been living with another boxy off-roader – albeit far smaller – that, I’m convinced, falls into the same category.

Where to start? Not on the motorway, that’s for sure. If you’re happy to amble along the nation’s motorways in the slow lane, presuming there is no rain or high winds, then you’ll be fine in the Jimny. But find yourself doing 70mph in the fast lane as a gust of wind passes across the M25 and you’ll be gripping the steering wheel for dear life.

By being hugely capable off road, the Jimny is compromised on it, and nowhere is that more true than on the motorway.

Having done quite a few motorway journeys in the Jimny, I borrowed editor Tisshaw’s Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography for a weekend, amused at how two SUVs couldn’t be more different. Of course, the Velar was infinitely more comfortable, yet it didn’t have the charm of our little Jimny. Plus, the Suzuki has never returned as little as 9.9mpg in town… But, let’s remember, Jimny owners are typically rural dwellers who do low on-road mileage. Chances are a fair number of Jimnys have never even made it to a motorway. If all you’re doing is commuting up and down the M1, you wouldn’t buy a Jimny. It’s that simple.

Other downsides? It’s incredibly noisy in every way, be it on the motorway or elsewhere. It’s all relative, of course, because we lucky hacks have experienced lots of cars. The more time I spend in the Jimny, and the higher up the radio volume goes, the less I get irritated by the noise. Plus, speaking hands free over Bluetooth in the car is surprisingly good. You’d expect it to sound as if you were in a swimming pool, yet it doesn’t.

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9 Suzuki jimny 2019 lt infotainment

Inside, the plastics and fittings are cheap and not awfully comfortable. The lack of a proper boot has been troublesome on occasion, mostly because there’s nowhere to hide valuables in the car. But when you get used to these details, there’s something charmingly robust about the Jimny’s basicness.

So what about the upsides? Well, really, it’s just a brilliant, fun car. I’ll admit I was sceptical when I was first behind the wheel, given the absence of refinement or any driving dynamics, but it has quickly grown on me. I pride myself on carefully judging my wheel inputs to ensure the car ends up where I want it, it’s entertaining at low speeds and changing through the gears (which you’ll do a lot – again, it’s geared for off-road, low-speed driving) makes you feel like a rally driver, or an overzealous extra from The Fast & Furious.

The thrill of parking or even getting past idiot drivers badly positioned on the road has not yet waned. So petite is this car that there has not been a single space I’ve hesitated to park in.

Then there’s its appearance. I can’t say whether it’s universally liked, but it certainly stands out. The joy is that it does so for being the opposite of pretentious – and, after a few months of running a Bentley Continental GT this year, it’s refreshing for a car to get attention for a different reason.

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And for all the criticisms of its cheap interior and inferior driving capabilities, every time I get in the Jimny I’m happy to be there (unless a motorway’s involved!). As we go into the colder months, the next test is how much more appealing it becomes on icy roads with its four-wheel drive capabilities.

Love it:

Fun-seeking spirit There’s a sense of go-anywhere adventure in this quirky, tough and tiny off-roader, even if I’ve been mostly bumbling around town…

Loathe it:

Lack of hidden storage There’s no out-of-sight cubbyhole. The glovebox is small so would only hold things like a phone or purse rather than a bag.

Mileage: 8425

21 Suzuki jimny 2019 lt fountain

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Life with a Suzuki Jimny: Month 1

A splash of colour - 20th November 2019

You’ll probably be most familiar with the ‘Kinetic Yellow’ Jimny, as seen in most of the official photography. I was glad, for variety’s sake, that our test car was another bright colour: Brisk Blue. White is the most popular in the UK but the coolest on sale, I reckon, is Chiffon Ivory, a utilitarian beige. Best of all, though, is one not offered in the UK: Army Green. What better shade for a mini tank?

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Mileage: 7999

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Don’t expect much stowage - 6th November 2019

My partner, carrying wellies and walking boots, opened the boot door of the Jimny while I watched, amused. “Where’s the boot?” he asked, exasperated. He has a point. The Jimny has 85 litres of luggage space, less than half of a Renault Twingo’s. Still, the rear seats can be made more upright for a bit more space or reclined completely.

Mileage: 7992

12 Suzuki jimny 2019 lt boot

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It’s got the look - 30th October 2019

Every time I look at our Jimny, I love just how small it is, while not being a city car. Nowhere is it more satisfying than when parking in town. In tight car-park spaces – where my previous long-termer, a Mini Cooper S, would be touching the white line on one side – I step out of the Jimny and find more than half a metre of breathing space. It’s a similar story when parallel parking on my road.

Mileage: 7583

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Welcoming the Jimny to the fleet - 23rd October 2019

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We’d been waiting a long time for the fourth-generation Jimny. Such was the anticipation for this 4x4 underdog that, for a couple of years, as each major (and relevant) motor show approached, we asked Suzuki: “Will we see the new Jimny there?” Finally, in the summer of 2018, a mere 20 years after the release of its predecessor, the new model was revealed. And it was as endearingly boxy, funky and compact as we’d hoped.

That’s the charm of the Jimny, isn’t it? It has never tried to be anything it’s not. It doesn’t claim to be – nor is it – a car for every scenario. And when you consider the flurry of compact SUVs available today, that’s a good thing. Few are as small as the Jimny, yet almost all are better rounded for an average day of driving.

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.

3 Suzuki jimny 2019 lt hero rear

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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 Suzuki 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.

All those comforts are in demand: 80% of buyers are opting for the SZ5 over the lesser SZ4, despite being £2500 more. Our car costs £18,499 plus that £650 dual-tone paint. The 1.5-litre petrol unit is paired to a five-speed manual ’box, although an auto option makes up a fifth of SZ5 sales. Top speed is – deep breath – 90mph, and although there’s no official 0-60mph time, Autocar road testers recorded 11.9sec.

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Early thoughts? There’s no denying it’s rough and ready, but the more I drive it, the more I’m charmed. So far, it’s mostly been used for short, suburban trips, although a brief stint on the M3 proved what I already know: stay in the inside lane at 60mph. I’ve also had one, fleeting chance of employing 4WD on a field, which gave me a thrilling glimpse of its off-road potential – something you’ll be hearing plenty more about over the next few months.

Second Opinion

I loved the Suzuki Jimny on its European launch last year, with one caveat: that it’s a true niche off-roader and anyone using it as a city runabout will find an unrefined engine, floaty handling, annoying gearchange and unrefined interior. Given Rachel’s daily commute, I wish her good luck. That said, I’ve already hassled her to give me the keys for a spell so I can be charmed all over again.

James Attwood

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Suzuki Jimny 1.5 Allgrip SZ5 specification

Prices: List price new £18,499 List price now £19,249 Price as tested £19,149 Dealer value now £15,975 Private value now £14,850 Trade value now £13,959 (part exchange)

Options:dual-tone paint £650

Fuel consumption and range: Claimed economy 42mpg Fuel tank 40 litres Test average 37.8mpg Test best 41.2mpg Test worst 33.5mpg Real-world range 333 miles

Tech highlights: 0-62mph 11.9sec Top speed 90mph Engine 4 cyls, 1462cc, petrol Max power 100bhp at 6000rpm Max torque 95lb ft at 4000rpm Transmission 5-spd manual Boot capacity 85 litres Wheels 15in, alloy Tyres 205/70 R15 Kerb weight 1135kg

Service and running costs: Contract hire rate £264.83 CO2 178g/km Service costs None Other costs None Fuel costs £861.48 Running costs inc fuel £861.48 Cost per mile 15 pence Depreciation £3274 Cost per mile inc dep’n 72 pence Faults None

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Nickktod 10 June 2020

Land Rover should build one of these...

Defender Sport? Defender Freelander? Defender 70? Hard and soft top options, £25k start price courtesy of nice low CO2 emissions from a non hybrid version of the Ingenium 3 cylinder 1.5 motor and a low kerb weight (If you think the Defender 90/110 is expensive that's because each one potentially earns JLR a huge CO2 fine...)

LP in Brighton 10 June 2020

Buy one now - at £19250 it's a bargain!

If you can get one, that is. There are quite a few on a well known used car website (and Suzuki's own used car network) with prices ranging from £22k to £30k for just registered cars.  Good news for Suzuki, since the impact seems to have had a positive effect on Ignis used prices... 

LP in Brighton 12 March 2020

Great car but can you actually buy one?

For those wanting a relatively affordable small, light affordable 4WD this Suzuki is unique. 

But it would be interesting to know what is the current waiting list - and will the Jimny remain on sale next year when the WLTP CO2 penalties kick in? 

If the car is not on sale, this long term test is of somewhat limited value. 

keeforelli 12 March 2020

It’s no longer available to buy

LP, the Jimny has been removed from UK lists for 2020 so i understand only orders already received are being delivered this year; before then the waiting list extended well over a year, and used prices are higher than new even now

pablovski123 5 April 2020

It is

It is available, with reduced options - only SZ5 - it's all about balancing overall Suzuki CO2 figures, that's all.