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Jimny 5-door review: Cute and cuddly Suzuki Jimny has grown

The all-new spacious five-door Suzuki Jimny has been given its most radical makeover, and it does not disappoint.

For the first time in its 50-year history, the all-new spacious five-door Suzuki Jimny has been given its most radical makeover. And it does not disappoint, seemingly primed to win over a generation of new fans with extra space and the added adventure it offers. 

Cute and cuddly, this nifty, easy-to-drive beauty packs a mean punch. Reflecting on the launch when the five-door Suzuki Jimny arrived in South Africa late last year, the media were taken on a campsite visit to experience its rugged but refined 21st-century qualities for the launch of this model.

The illuminating excursion via Polokwane to the Tuli Wilderness next to the Limpopo River in neighbouring Botswana showed that this vehicle has plenty in its arsenal to be a serious off-roader. 

This little trooper shined brightly in Botswana, quickly tackling rocky, bumpy, muddy, rough, and rugged terrains. Power was sufficient. Based on the ladder-frame chassis, it had the brute force to absorb the abrasive shocks and tactfully manoeuvre itself around unfavourable conditions. Isn’t no mountainous terrain high enough? It also helps that all five-door models are given Hill Descent Control, Hill Assist, and Brake Assistance as standard.

Ushering in three versions of the more prominent new five-door mover, the new Jimny looks different from its predecessor. But it still retains the brand’s solid and savvy DNA as we know it. 

Impressive: Following a good showing at the Absa Car Consumer Awards in March where it scooped several awards including Best Entry-level Hatch for the compact Suzuki Swift -as well the Budget Hatch category for the Baleno, Suzuki is primed to win over a generation of new fans with the all new Jimny – thanks to its extended unique design.

What’s different is that there are now two rear doors and a small rectangular side window between the back doors and the rear pillar. The new window allowed its creators to retain the look of the three-door model, but one enjoys seeing the light permeate the vehicle more.

Imagine that, in its fifties, there has been a slight growth spurt, too, with the overall length of the five-door Jimny from bumper to bumper going up by 340 mm to 3 820 mm.

The interior sports a clean look with the dashboard and centre console, maximising the driver’s awareness of the car’s angle on wavy surfaces.

The five-door model had ample room. Still, it incorporated the modest 1.5-litre petrol engine multi-point injection, which delivers only 75 kilowatts of power and 130NM through a five-speed manual transmission (available on the GL and GLX models) or a four-speed automatic transmission in the GLX only. 

The reliable and much-loved K15B 1.5 litre petrol engine is fitted to all models in the range. It may not sound much because it isn’t, but it shines brightly on the off-roading course; however, driving on roads feels underpowered and might need a kick.

The Suzuki Jimny has a solid off-road system, including a transfer gearbox with 2H, 4H and 4 Range modes. They have also thrown in a new version of the well-known AllGrip system called AllGrip Pro. This system enhances the capabilities of the four-wheel drive system with electronic assistance, such as selective braking on wheels with no traction that emulates a traditional differential lock. It’s a nice to have, for sure.

You can bet your dwindling rand that safety is one aspect they will not compromise on the Jimny. It has the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), ABS brakes, side-impact beams in all doors and three-point seatbelts for all four seats. Both rear seats are equipped with ISOFIX child-seat anchors. The Jimny in GL specification has two airbags, and the GLX models have six, including front-side airbags and curtain airbags that run the length of the cabin. All models also have standard central locking, a digital immobiliser and rear parking sensors.

But out in the wild, it shows its best side. With an impressive 210mm ground clearance, the Jimny can move over rugged rocks or stroll over sand and mud. Jimny’s ALL Grip 4WD system allows one to handle all terrains easily. In 2WD mode, it delivers smooth, quiet, and fuel-efficient performance, which is ideal for cruising in the city. Fuel-wise, I achieved a frugal 8l/100km.

But offroad is where it excels, thanks in part to Hill Descent Control, which takes the wheel when going downhill, even to the point of applying the brakes when required. All you do is trust in the vehicle and keep your hand on the steering. Pretty nifty.

Clean aesthetics: the interior sports a clean look with the dashboard and centre console.

There are two more outstanding things to talk about. It is wired for sound with an infotainment system, a vibrant touchscreen display, a generous 9″ size in the GLX, and a playful 7″ in the GL. You can connect seamlessly with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Groove is at the heart of this. Another is that there is always a bright assortment of colours. There is a Jimny for every mood, even those with a split personality and dual colour options. You are loved.

When you hear this, Jimny is made for adventure; take it as good gospel. It is no exaggeration. This solid SUV is made for travel and getting to know South Africa better off the many beaten tracks. With Jimny, weekends can be a spur-of-the-moment drive from Buccleuch to Botswana. It’s the right thing to do!

The Suzuki Jimny 5-Door standard has a 4-year / 60 000 km Service Plan and a 5-year / 200 000 km Promotional Warranty (GL and GLX). For the best Suzuki experience, your Suzuki Jimny 5-Door must be serviced once every twelve months or every 15,000 km, whichever comes first.

Pricing for the 5-door Suzuki Jimny model grades:

  • Jimny 5 Door 1.5 GL 5MT (R429 000)
  • Jimny 5 Door 1.5 GLX 5MT (R457 900)
  • Jimny 5 Door 1.5 GLX 4AT (R479 900)

*This article is exclusively written for NOWinSA by motoring contributing writer Prashwin Naidu. © Higher Education Media

Prashirwin Naidu
Prashirwin Naidu
Aspiring scribe, Prashirwin Naidu is a writer focusing on cars and the arts.
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