VEHICLES

The first couple of updates on our 2019 Suzuki Jimny have focused on its on-road performance and that makes almost no sense, right. I mean, no-one buys a Jimny worrying about whether it’ll outpoint a Porsche and, I’ve been bashed enough for ‘missing the point’.

So, for this update we managed to escape the office for the day and go exploring out the back of Lithgow. We found tracks we’ve never driven before and that were able to torture not just the Jimny but the Prado we drove across them too. It was hilarious to bounce the Jimny up hills and through holes and ruts that the Prado walked up easily thanks to its long-travel suspension. Due to the terrible drought the country is gripped by, everywhere we went was dry and dusty. Even our usual water crossing was low but still high enough to test out the Jimny’s pathetic 300mm wading depth – indeed it started to feel light…

From the showroom, the Jimny isn’t overly well tyred and they’d be the first thing we’d recommend you swapping out. And a suspension lift wouldn’t go astray either (check out this LINK to watch stock vs modded Jimnys) but that’s another story for another time. See, the primary aim of our trip to the bush was to test out the Jimny’s traction control system.

This was also the first time I had experienced the automatic Jimny properly off-road, and it was clear the gearbox was much happier at low speeds in tougher terrain than at 110km/h on the highway.

To test out the traction control on the Jimny we found a massively rutted track with holes big enough to just about swallow the Jimny. It was the sort of hill that you needed to maintain momentum on, although the road-oriented tyres certainly didn’t help with grip – and after a day in the bush were a little the worse for wear. And it was never going to be a comfortable ride with the Jimny bumping and thumping, slipping and gripping its way up the hill.

Good things, small packages

We have three months with the 2019 Suzuki Jimny to work out whether tiny-tot, retro-looking off-roader can cut it as a daily-driver and weekend warrior.

Long-Term REVIEW: 2019 Suzuki Jimny

What are we testing? 2019 Suzuki Jimny (automatic)

Who’s running it? The whole team

Why are we running it? To find out just how far we can go with a stock Jimny

What it needs to do? It needs to be able to handle the daily commute, weekend work, off-road trips from the mountains to the desert and just about everything in between.

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE
zenith
inspire

The Jimny is an old-school off-roader with a part-time 4X4 system and while technology can improve a four-wheel drive, sometimes it’s hard to go past a simple and reliable part-time system. For a start, there’s no clever centre clutch that’ll constantly lock and then unlock (sometimes when you don’t want it to) and then overheat and disengage without warning (until it cools down). Like most systems you’ll need to be in Neutral to select Low-Range and that automatically disables stability control but not traction control because, remember, they’re not the same thing.

Marketers, don’t you just love them. The Jimny has a badge on the back that says Brake LSD…this is marketing-speak for brake traction control. Nothing more, nothing less. This means that if one wheel begins to spin, whether it’s in the air or it’s just run out of grip, the system will brake that spinning wheel which has the effect of increasing torque on the other wheel with grip.

We’ve found the brake traction control to be a little inconsistent across various Jimnys we’ve tested. Some of them have been smooth and quick to respond, others just haven’t responded at all and some have needed a decent amount of right foot before they’d violently brake. And that’s the camp our long-termer is in. Being driven up our rutted hill with plenty of cross-axle moments, it needed a lot of right-foot before the brake traction control would cut in. And, almost as soon as it would brake it would cut out again, so you needed to make the most of the traction while you had it.

In the end, the Jimny tended to bounce, roll-back, grip and go. With better tyres we’d have been able to drive much slower up the hill than we did. Although, on a steep hill with lots of lumps and bumps you need to maintain momentum as the Jimny doesn’t have a lot of low-down torque to rely on. And it doesn’t have a lot of suspension travel either but its travel is smooth when driven slowly, speed up and it becomes crashy, hence the suggestion above that a suspension lift is a must if you’re planning on regularly taking this thing off-road.

But, driven carefully and on the same line, the Jimny can be driven anywhere a bigger vehicle can and often it’ll go places a bigger vehicle can’t. And that’s simply because it’s smaller and lighter. It’s easy to place on tracks and visibility right around the vehicle is excellent, meaning you can adjust the thing mid-track so easily.

2019 Suzuki Jimny Specifications
PRICE $25,490+ORCs (auto - as tested)
WARRANTY Five-years, unlimited kilometres
SAFETY 3-star ANCAP rating
ENGINE 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
POWER 75kW at 6000rpm
TORQUE 130Nm at 4000rpm
TRANSMISSION Four-speed automatic
DRIVE Part-time 4X4 with low range
DIMENSIONS 3645mm long (incl spare), 3480mm long (exc spare), 1645mm high, 1720mm wide (incl mirrors), 2250mm wheelbase
TURNING CIRCLE 9.8m
GROUND CLEARANCE 210mm claimed; 200mm (measured to bottom of diff pumpkin but control arms are lower at a measured 190mm)
ANGLES 37-degrees approach, 28-degrees rampover, 49 degrees departure
WADING DEPTH 300mm
MAX BRAKED TOWING 1300kg
MAX TOW BALL MASS 75kg
FUEL TANK 40 litres
THIRST 6.9L/100km claimed combined (automatic)

One thing that’s a letdown with the Jimny is its wading depth of just 300mm. That’s not very high at all. Indeed, in our river crossing pictured hereabouts we were at the absolute limit. The section of river we drove was around the 300-320mm mark for about 25-30m and in the deeper section the Jimny actually started to feel light…

The Suzuki Jimny brings a smile to my face off-road. While it may prove to cause serious back problems going forward, the joy it brings me climbing mountains, navigating water crossings, or even just skipping across gravel roads outweigh it… for now.

VEHICLES

What are we testing? 2019 Suzuki Jimny (automatic)

Who’s running it? The whole team

Why are we running it? To find out just how far we can go with a stock Jimny

What it needs to do? It needs to be able to handle the daily commute, weekend work, off-road trips from the mountains to the desert and just about everything in between.

The first couple of updates on our 2019 Suzuki Jimny have focused on its on-road performance and that makes almost no sense, right. I mean, no-one buys a Jimny worrying about whether it’ll outpoint a Porsche and, I’ve been bashed enough for ‘missing the point’.

So, for this update we managed to escape the office for the day and go exploring out the back of Lithgow. We found tracks we’ve never driven before and that were able to torture not just the Jimny but the Prado we drove across them too. It was hilarious to bounce the Jimny up hills and through holes and ruts that the Prado walked up easily thanks to its long-travel suspension. Due to the terrible drought the country is gripped by, everywhere we went was dry and dusty. Even our usual water crossing was low but still high enough to test out the Jimny’s pathetic 300mm wading depth – indeed it started to feel light…

From the showroom, the Jimny isn’t overly well tyred and they’d be the first thing we’d recommend you swapping out. And a suspension lift wouldn’t go astray either (check out this LINK to watch stock vs modded Jimnys) but that’s another story for another time. See, the primary aim of our trip to the bush was to test out the Jimny’s traction control system.

This was also the first time I had experienced the automatic Jimny properly off-road, and it was clear the gearbox was much happier at low speeds in tougher terrain than at 110km/h on the highway.

To test out the traction control on the Jimny we found a massively rutted track with holes big enough to just about swallow the Jimny. It was the sort of hill that you needed to maintain momentum on, although the road-oriented tyres certainly didn’t help with grip – and after a day in the bush were a little the worse for wear. And it was never going to be a comfortable ride with the Jimny bumping and thumping, slipping and gripping its way up the hill.

Long-Term REVIEW: 2019 Suzuki Jimny

Good things, small packages

We have three months with the 2019 Suzuki Jimny to work out whether tiny-tot, retro-looking off-roader can cut it as a daily-driver and weekend warrior.

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

The Jimny is an old-school off-roader with a part-time 4X4 system and while technology can improve a four-wheel drive, sometimes it’s hard to go past a simple and reliable part-time system. For a start, there’s no clever centre clutch that’ll constantly lock and then unlock (sometimes when you don’t want it to) and then overheat and disengage without warning (until it cools down). Like most systems you’ll need to be in Neutral to select Low-Range and that automatically disables stability control but not traction control because, remember, they’re not the same thing.

Marketers, don’t you just love them. The Jimny has a badge on the back that says Brake LSD…this is marketing-speak for brake traction control. Nothing more, nothing less. This means that if one wheel begins to spin, whether it’s in the air or it’s just run out of grip, the system will brake that spinning wheel which has the effect of increasing torque on the other wheel with grip.

We’ve found the brake traction control to be a little inconsistent across various Jimnys we’ve tested. Some of them have been smooth and quick to respond, others just haven’t responded at all and some have needed a decent amount of right foot before they’d violently brake. And that’s the camp our long-termer is in. Being driven up our rutted hill with plenty of cross-axle moments, it needed a lot of right-foot before the brake traction control would cut in. And, almost as soon as it would brake it would cut out again, so you needed to make the most of the traction while you had it.

In the end, the Jimny tended to bounce, roll-back, grip and go. With better tyres we’d have been able to drive much slower up the hill than we did. Although, on a steep hill with lots of lumps and bumps you need to maintain momentum as the Jimny doesn’t have a lot of low-down torque to rely on. And it doesn’t have a lot of suspension travel either but its travel is smooth when driven slowly, speed up and it becomes crashy, hence the suggestion above that a suspension lift is a must if you’re planning on regularly taking this thing off-road.

But, driven carefully and on the same line, the Jimny can be driven anywhere a bigger vehicle can and often it’ll go places a bigger vehicle can’t. And that’s simply because it’s smaller and lighter. It’s easy to place on tracks and visibility right around the vehicle is excellent, meaning you can adjust the thing mid-track so easily.

2019 Suzuki Jimny Specifications
PRICE $25,490+ORCs (auto - as tested)
WARRANTY Five-years, unlimited kilometres
SAFETY 3-star ANCAP rating
ENGINE 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
POWER 75kW at 6000rpm
TORQUE 130Nm at 4000rpm
TRANSMISSION Four-speed automatic
DRIVE Part-time 4X4 with low range
DIMENSIONS 3645mm long (incl spare), 3480mm long (exc spare), 1645mm high, 1720mm wide (incl mirrors), 2250mm wheelbase
TURNING CIRCLE 9.8m
GROUND CLEARANCE 210mm claimed; 200mm (measured to bottom of diff pumpkin but control arms are lower at a measured 190mm)
ANGLES 37-degrees approach, 28-degrees rampover, 49 degrees departure
WADING DEPTH 300mm
MAX BRAKED TOWING 1300kg
MAX TOW BALL MASS 75kg
FUEL TANK 40 litres
THIRST 6.9L/100km claimed combined (automatic)

One thing that’s a letdown with the Jimny is its wading depth of just 300mm. That’s not very high at all. Indeed, in our river crossing pictured hereabouts we were at the absolute limit. The section of river we drove was around the 300-320mm mark for about 25-30m and in the deeper section the Jimny actually started to feel light…

The Suzuki Jimny brings a smile to my face off-road. While it may prove to cause serious back problems going forward, the joy it brings me climbing mountains, navigating water crossings, or even just skipping across gravel roads outweigh it… for now.

Contact us

Drop us a line, let us know if you've found any bugs, want to write a story for us, or even just say G'day.
Please enter your name
Please enter a correct e-mail address
Please enter a comment
Thank you! Your message has been sent.
Something went wrong while submitting the form. Try again.

Share this article

Forward this page by e-mail or share it directly on social media.

Search this issue

Enter text in the search field below
Minimal length to search is 3 characters

Welcome to Unsealed 4X4

Are you hungry for the latest in 4X4 news, reviews and travel?

At Unsealed 4X4, we’ll give you up-to-date 4X4 news, reviews and how-to's to keep you in fine form.

Fullscreen