Driving

Suzuki Jimny review

Suzuki Jimny front
Review continues below...
10 May 2015 22:00 | Last updated: 28 Sep 2018 16:18

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Suzuki Jimny 4x4 performance

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 turbo. With the standard five-speed manual gearbox, acceleration is pretty leisurely and top speed is just 90mph. A four-speed automatic is available, but that’s likely to make the Jimny even slower.

Still, this little engine is more than adequate off road, with a low-range gearbox allowing the Jimny to crawl slowly up and down steep inclines with ease.

Suzuki Jimny 4x4 ride

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. On smoother, undulating surfaces, the Jimny, although soft, allows too much body movement, leading to your head being thrown around somewhat.

Venture off road and the Jimny is 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.

Suzuki Jimny side

Suzuki Jimny 4x4 handling

If you’ve got used to small SUVs driving much like a regular hatchback, the Jimny will come as something of a shock. The chunky tyres don’t have much grip, so you’ll be squealing around roundabouts at surprisingly low speeds. Even before you get to this point, many will already be lifting off the accelerator pedal due to the dramatic body lean.

And while it’s easy enough to place the Jimny on the road, you’ll find you have to turn the steering wheel a long way before it actually starts changing direction. Once you’re cornering, you’ll find there’s no sense of connection to the front tyres.

This does have its advantages, though. Off road, there’s no kickback as you drive over rutted terrain and the Jimny’s short length means it has an exceedingly tight turning circle. There may be no true locking differentials, but the traction control is able to brake spinning wheels to keep you moving. Put simply, the more off road you go, the more the Jimny makes sense.

Suzuki Jimny 4x4 refinement

The 1.5-litre petrol engine needs working hard before it’ll deliver its modest power reserves, generating a fair bit of noise. Not only is it loud, but the engine also sounds strained, especially as you approach the upper reaches of the rev range.

Not helping matters is a five-speed gearbox with short ratios, meaning the engine is loud at motorway speeds. The gearshift itself is fairly precise but has an awfully long throw, so snappy shifts are off the cards.

Throw plenty of road and wind noise into the mix and you’ve got a car that will have you reaching for the volume control on the stereo to drown it out. A relaxed cruiser it is not.

open the gallery8 Images