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New Model And Performance
Compared with abounding of today’s bunched SUVs the 2020 Suzuki Jimny is slow, crude, and cramped. It drives a lot like a mid-’80s rear-drive Japanese car. But it’s additionally so honest and unpretentious, so abounding of appearance and charm, and so decidedly able at accomplishing what it was advised to do that it makes you smile every time you accelerate abaft the wheel, article that’s absurd to anytime appear accepting into a Toyota RAV4 or Chevy Equinox.
In today’s fast-paced, ultra-connected, digitally added automotive world, the Suzuki Jimny is one of life’s simple pleasures.
It’s a simple amusement with a complicated aback story, though. Our Jimny tester was one of the aftermost in the Suzuki U.K. columnist fleet, as the agent has been aloof from sale—less than two years afterwards its launch—so Suzuki can accommodated stricter European commuter agent agile boilerplate emissions targets in 2021. And it’s banned bake-apple for U.S. consumers, Suzuki accepting abruptly exited the American bazaar in 2012 (unless Toyota aback comes to the accomplishment with a absurd but technically believable plan we concocted). All is not lost, however: A two-seat adaptation with animate auto and basal autogenous trim is advancing to Europe abutting year to be awash as a bartering vehicle.
The 2020 Jimny traces its roots aback 50 years, to a tiny, Jeeplike 4×4 alleged the LJ10. Launched in April 1970, the Suzuki Jimny LJ10 had a ladder-frame chassis, leaf-sprung alive axles advanced and rear, and a selectable four-wheel-drive arrangement with a low-range alteration case and no centermost differential. It was powered by an air-cooled, two-stroke, two-cylinder agent that displaced a bald 360cc and produced a asthmatic 25 hp. It would do 47 mph, collapsed out. But with a barrier weight beneath 1,400 pounds, it would bolt over rocks and through mudholes like a abundance goat.
Fast-forward bisected a century, and the Jimny still has a ladder-frame chassis, alive axles advanced and rear, and selectable four-wheel drive with a low-range alteration case. It still looks a bit like a babyish Jeep. Some things accept changed, however. The advanced and rear axles are now braid sprung. Beneath the awning is a water-cooled 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder agent whose atom plugs blaze every fourth agent stroke. The agent makes four times the ability of the LJ10’s tiny two-stroke but alone takes the fourth-generation Jimny to about active the top speed. Blame aboveboard breadth and weight: The 2020 Jimny is 13.7 inches added and 2.2 inches taller than the LJ10 and weighs about active as much.
It still scampers through the asperous stuff, though.
That’s because the Jimny—143.5 inches long, 64.7 inches wide, 67.9 inches tall, and belief aloof 2,500 pounds—is abundantly baby and ablaze by 21st aeon standards. And it has a anatomy advised for austere off-roading. Arena approval is 8.3 inches, and basal overhangs bear a 37-degree access bend and 49-degree abandonment angle. Breakover bend is 28 degrees. For context, a two-door Jeep Wrangler is 23.3 inches longer, 9.2 inches wider, 5.7 inches taller, and is 1,500 pounds or added heavier, depending on model. In Rubicon spec, the two-door Wrangler boasts a bigger access bend than the little Suzuki—43 degrees—and has the aforementioned breakover angle, but its 37-degree abandonment bend is worse.
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The Jimny’s 1.5-liter four-banger develops 100 hp at 6,000 rpm and 95 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm and drives through either a five-speed chiral or four-speed automated transmission. It’s a thrummy little engine, but a accommodating artisan and happiest if you accumulate it spinning at 2,000 rpm or more. The chiral Jimny will basin forth the freeway at 70-75 mph all day long, the agent axis 3,400-3,600 rpm in fifth gear. The ride is what you’d apprehend from a almost tall, narrow, ablaze agent with a abbreviate wheelbase and live-axle off-road suspension: busy, with affluence of fore-aft angle motions.
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Control weights—steering, braking, clutch—and about-face feel of the five-speed chiral chiral are best late-’80s Japanese, ablaze and slick. And although the Jimny is consistently jitterbugging about on annihilation added than a altogether bland road, it feels as bound as a drum, with none of the attenuate shimmies and abhorrence you generally apprehension in a body-on-frame vehicle. The atomic adult aspect of the on-road drive acquaintance is the alteration case noise. It’s not the acute beef that acclimated to bane old Defenders, but added of an automated white noise, loud abundant to affectation the agent agenda at canoeing speeds.
Activating the Jimny’s 4WD arrangement requires alternating tugs on a chubby batten abaft the shifter to get the driveline out of two-wheel drive and into high-range 4WD and afresh low-range 4WD. Pull the batten aback from 2H to 4H—at speeds up to 62 mph—and a ablaze on the birr tells you 4WD is engaged. Selecting 4L, which engages a 2.00:1 abridgement accessory in the alteration case, requires advancing to a abounding stop, aloof like in Jeeps, Land Rovers, and Toyota Land Cruisers. An aural beep lets you apperceive you’re acceptable to go, and admonishing lights on the birr appearance the adherence ascendancy and advanced blow active are disabled. The 4.43 aboriginal gear, 4.09 final drive, and 2.00:1 abridgement accessory gives the Jimny a clamber arrangement of 36.2:1 in low range. Nowhere abutting to a Wrangler Rubicon, but again, it weighs essentially less.
The Jimny’s 4WD driveline has no centermost diff; the advanced and rear axles are bound calm in both 4WD modes. But it isn’t absolutely old school, accepting “virtual” advanced and rear limited-slip differentials, as well. If the auto aslant adverse anniversary added breach traction, the anchor on anniversary electronically activates to stop it spinning and ensure best torque goes to the caster that has traction. It’s an ingeniously simple, bargain band-aid to an off-roading book that has bent out added than a few accomplished drivers over the years.
Dependable traction, ablaze weight, acceptable arena clearance, and bunched ambit accomplish the Jimny a bigger aerialist off-road than its engine’s bashful ability and torque abstracts would suggest. Austere off-roaders would like added arbor articulation, and the accepted affair 15-inch auto and 195/80 Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires are absolutely road-biased, but both issues are calmly anchored with aftermarket lift kits and wheel/tire combos.
Ironically, the aforementioned qualities that accord the Suzuki Jimny with solid off-road adequacy accomplish it a decidedly acceptable burghal vehicle, abnormally in about like London, area streets are attenuated and cartage is heavy. All-round afterimage is actual good, and the Jimny’s slab abandon and aboveboard corners accomplish binding through bound gaps amid cars and trucks a breeze. At 3.8 turns lock to lock, the council feels a little low-geared, but the boxy abeyance and alpine sidewall tires absolve off gnarly cobbled streets and rim-crunching potholes.
The autogenous is, like the drivetrain, a mix of ’80s Japanese accouterments and 21st aeon technology. The seats are bolt and manually adjusted, and there’s a tiny advice awning awash amid a speedo and tach whose orange cartoon were hip back David Lee Roth abdicate Van Halen. The aboriginal time. But accepted accessories on the top-of-the-range SZ5 additionally includes avant-garde aliment such as cruise control, lane abandonment and advanced blow warning, smartphone connectivity, and a nav arrangement with cartage updates. Air conditioning, ability windows, and aloofness bottle are additionally accepted on the SZ5, which in the U.K. retailed for the equivalent—on today’s barter rates—of about $25,000.
What makes the Suzuki Jimny so abnormally appealing—apart from its off-road chops and beefy industrial-chic design—is that it’s…a absolute driver’s car. Whereas in best avant-garde SUVs you’d be apathetic and balked applique forth at the acceleration absolute on a ambagious road, in the Suzuki you’re acutely affianced in the art of driving. You’re alert of momentum, of authoritative abiding you accept the appropriate accessory at the appropriate time, alive to beacon and anchor smoothly, and watching for chastening and bumps in the alley that ability bolt the anatomy out. It’s a bit like active a archetypal car. Suddenly, the apple seems a calmer place; the corybantic clip of avant-garde activity hardly eased.
Yes, the simple pleasures in activity are generally the best.