Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
There’s only one choice of engine in the Jimny: a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit that makes its 100bhp and 95lb ft of torque without the help of a turbocharger. With the standard five-speed manual gearbox, acceleration is less than leisurely and top speed is just 90mph. The gearbox has a very wide gate and long throw, so trying to find first, or second, or third, is an act of aiming and hoping for the best.
An automatic unit is available, but there are only four gears, so you need plenty of revs to get it to do anything, and it doesn’t change up until over 4000rpm. There’s no denying getting to motorway speeds is a real struggle, but once you’re there it sits relatively happily, even if it doesn’t sound like it.
Suspension and ride comfort
Although the Jimny has squidgy suspension, its simple live axles struggle with potholes, expansion joints and other sharp bumps, sending a jolt through your seat. While it doesn’t do too badly on smooth, straight roads, the Jimny still allows too much body movement, bouncing considerably over any undulations. It feels like you’re riding a small bucking bronco.
Venture off road and the Jimny is much more impressive. Crawling along using the low-range gearbox, it can flex over large obstacles while keeping all four wheels on the ground and the body remarkably level. Yes, it crashes over considerable obstacles, but in something as small and bouncy as this, what do you expect?