2019 Suzuki Jimny - reader test team review

The only baby off-roader on sale has finally been renewed after 20 years. Has Suzuki done it right?...

Suzuki Jimny reader test
Suzuki Jimny reader test

Britons were first offered Suzuki's baby 4x4 back in 1979, in the form of the LJ 80. This was the perfect farmer’s runabout, with a ladder-frame chassis, simple, long-travel suspension, manually selectable four-wheel drive and a 41bhp 0.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine.   

In the intervening four decades and two model generations, staggeringly little has been changed. The 2019 Jimny uses that same basic formula, albeit in modernised form, and its power now comes from a 1.5-litre unit making 100bhp. The similarity in styling between the two cars is also uncanny, and while the new one is half a metre longer and a quarter of a tonne heavier, it’s still a city car-sized featherweight.

Still, some modern features have been added, most prominently a touchscreen infotainment system, active safety aids and heated seats.

Is Suzuki right to keep its winning team? We held the first public preview of the Jimny to see.

Andy Luchesa Age 52 Job Police officer Drives Suzuki SJ

Jimny reader test

“I’ve owned an old Jimny, as well as examples of its predecessors, the LJ and SJ, for off-road trialing.

“This new car looks amazing; it’s less soft and more purposeful.

“It is tiny, but I’m 6ft 4in tall and still have plenty of space in the front. The driving position is fine, and the seats are more comfortable than before, better supporting your shoulders, sides and back. It’s just a shame that the steering wheel doesn’t
adjust for reach as well as height.

“Thanks to the mechanical upgrades, I’m sure this car will be even more capable off road – the improved approach, breakover and departure angles are a great start – even if Suzuki has made it slightly more road-biased.

“The amount of standard equipment has really improved. It comes with everything the modern driver would want, most obviously the infotainment system – which seems pretty responsive and easy to use and supports smartphone mirroring.

“The build quality seems top notch, right down to the clunk the doors make when they shut.

“And the Jimny is essentially a small box that has big windows with narrow pillars, so all-round visibility for the driver is great.”

Rated 5 out of 5

Next: Three more readers give their verdict >

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