Suzuki five-door Jimny offers space and adventure for the off-roader

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Suzuki five-door Jimny offers space and adventure for the off-roader

Prashirwin Naidu

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 did not disappoint, seemingly looking primed to win over generations of new fans with the extra space and added adventure it offers. 

Jimny arrived in South Africa recently with media taken on a campsite visit to experience its rugged but refined 21st-century qualities.

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 considered a serious off-roader. 

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. 

What's different is 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.

After breakfast at the Fusion Boutique Hotel, the first drive began in convoy from Polokwane to the Platjan border control post in Botswana. 

There was ample room in the five-door model. Still, it incorporated the modest 1.5-litre petrol engine multi-point injection that delivers only 75 kilowatts of power and 130N 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 a little tinny, especially at high speeds. The vehicle was partially to a left-and-ride buffet when trucks passed. 

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.

I was surprised at its performance when off-roading. It quickly tackled 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. Ain’t no moAin'tnous terrain high enough? It also helps that all five-door models are given Hill Descent Control, Hill Assist and Brake Assistance as standard.

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 is where it shows its best side. Boasting an impressive 210mm ground clearance, the Jimny can move over rugged rocks or stroll over sand and mud effortlessly. Jimny's ALLJimny'sO 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. 

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. 

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 t"e 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 there is never a dull assortment of colours. A Jimny for every mood, even for 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 one province to another. 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.

 Prices 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)

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