A car for bruising, not for cruising!
By Wayne Gorrett
Someone once muttered something about new tricks and old dogs.
Fortunately for the 4×4 community, Suzuki wasn’t listening
and the little Jimny soldiers on to adventures new.
Make no ageing bones about it, the charming little Suzuki Jimny has greyed gracefully. It has just had its 18th birthday and in celebration, Suzuki UK has introduced the Jimny Adventure – an edition limited to 200 units – and only for the UK market.
Released at £14,949, the Jimny Adventure is a little on the pricey side considering that the common-or-garden variety Jimny starts at £12,499 for the SZ3 model. The Adventure is based on the top-spec and quite well-equipped SZ4 manual model (£13,949), but as you’d expect, the 2016 Suzuki Jimny Adventure deepens the toy box with navigation, Bluetooth, a unique hard spare wheel cover with Adventure logo in Japanese and two-tone ‘quasar grey’ with pearl white metallic paint. Collectively however, I’m not sure if those additions are worth the £1,000 premium.
Other equipment carried over from the SZ4 trim level includes 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, rear privacy glass, and heated seats wrapped in faux leather. On the mechanical front, the Suzuki Jimny Adventure comes with a rudimentary but capable 4×4 system. Drive to the rear wheels when you’re driving around town, drive to all four when lightly venturing off the black stuff and low-ratio all-wheel-drive for more challenging terrain – nothing more, nothing less.
Under the bonnet there’s no change as, like all Jimny models, the Adventure is powered by a four-cylinder 1.3-litre VVT petrol engine. Agreed, it’s a small unit and the Jimny often feels underpowered. But then, you don’t need too much more to have fun in a proper off-road stalwart that weighs just 1,090kg.
The Adventure is available with manual transmission that returns an official 39.8mpg in combined cycle driving and CO2 emissions are 162g/km. The automatic ‘box available on the standard SZ4 model is not offered on this limited edition.
The Jimny has three drivetrain settings, conveniently changed at the push of a button:
* 2WD : For normal on-road use with all engine torque going to the rear wheels.
* 4WD : Apportions equal torque to both front and rear wheels for normal off-road conditions or driving on excessively wet or snowy surfaces.
* 4WD-L : Engages low-ratio gears for maximum, true off-road performance when needed.
Off-road is where the Jimny feels truly at home and its well-engineered infrastructure comes into play. There’s an excellent 190mm of ground clearance that will tackle most landscapes. Short overhangs provide confident angles of approach (34deg), ramp-breakover (31deg) and departure (46deg). Braked towing capacity is an impressive 1,300kg.
The Jimny has garnered an established, tough and capable reputation amongst its 24,000 loyal owners in the UK with many now on their third or even fourth Jimny.
We trundled the Jimny Adventure along several official ‘BOATs’ (Byways Open to All Traffic) around Hampshire and as expected, it performed exceptionally well and its low-ratio ‘box is a gem to use with confidence. Its off-road capability is unquestionable as the dozens of YouTube videos of the Jimny in action around the world, will attest.
On one particular tricky section, the ruts – their depth concealed by water – were discovered to be too deep. The Jimny Adventure promptly beached its front axle on the centre mound. As tempting as it is, the first rule in those situations is DON’T PANIC. There is always a way out.
Simply turn the steering full lock left or right and reverse creep up the sides of the ruts. You are unlikely to lift the car fully out of the ruts as there will be insufficient grip, but some grip will be found to raise the front axle an inch or two off the centre mound. Keep creeping until out of danger. Simples.
Compared with an average modern car, the Jimny’s on-road driving dynamics are well below par. The steering is unnervingly light, is late to react and has too much play at the dead-ahead. In an urban environment the ride is poor and the car feels agitated on even slightly imperfect road surfaces. When you do eventually get up some speed – 62mph arrives in a narcoleptic 14.1 seconds – the ride doesn’t get any better.
Due to the Jimny’s tall, narrow body and short wheelbase, the ride is ‘buoyant’ through dips and over crests, with excessive body lean. Coupled with vague and dull steering, it inhibits confidence to take sweeping corners with any degree of sure-footedness.
However, these are well-documented issues with the Jimny and buyers are usually well aware of its idiosyncratic shortcomings.
It is no secret that a new Jimny IS on the way – probably arriving in 2018. However, it should not be confused with the all-new Suzuki Ignis which will reach our shores in January 2017. The Ignis is a totally different proposition.
In the meantime – and before the current Jimny meets its inevitable demise – should you be in the market for some truly unique automotive personality, skip the supermini and ubiquitous crossover and test drive the limited edition Jimny Adventure.
It may just surprise you. It does me, every time.