Credit: Suzuki QLD

2019 Suzuki Jimny Launch Review

The J-Wagon is finally here!

If I asked you what car would be launching in 2019 with over 100 pre-orders in Queensland, and hundreds more around the rest of the country for a new car launch, what would you say? Porsche? Ferrari? No, not even close. Volkswagen? Wrong again. Though you might start thinking of other brands like Toyota? Sure, they did reveal the long overdue A90 Supra recently. Even though I don’t doubt that it will attract quite a few pre-orders, you’d be guessing wrong in this instance again.

The answer is the new 2019 Suzuki Jimny, a three-door proper 4WD with a tiny little 4-cylinder engine with a retro-inspired design. Only in the top-spec GLX trim at launch, the Jimny asks an RRP of $23,990 for the 5-speed manual and $25,990 for the 4-speed auto all excluding on-road costs. A toned down GL model is expected to launch at a later date, bringing more details along with it.

A 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic looks ancient when on paper, and that’s because it is. The mode selector is no longer a switch but has returned as a floor mounted shifter. The Jimny doesn’t make a huge attempt at pretending it’s not a 4WD first and a road car second. Sure, the revs sit high at 100km/h, but the ratios allowed the ladder frame to crawl its way through the test drive loop with ease. I’ve participated in film shoots at the same piece of 4WD track with more serious vehicles, and expensive AWD SUV’s where they had a harder time at climbing the inclines than the Jimny.

Approach angles are better in all respects when compared to the previous generation Jimny. The approach, ramp breakover and departure angles are 37, 28, and 49 degrees respectively. Throw in a reduction in weight bringing the kerb weight to 1,110kg, and you’ll have a hard time finding a place where it can’t go.

The largest leaps and bounds for the Jimny is the safety and tech features. There’s no ignoring the 3 Star ANCAP rating awarded, but considering the previous Jimny was sold with the bare minimum for safety and tech, most buyers will be willing to forgive the safety rating.

It’s worth noting a 3 Star ANCAP rated vehicle in previous years cannot be directly compared to a 2019 ANCAP rating due to ever-changing requirements (that’s an article for a different time…), but a higher safety rating would absolutely be welcomed, don’t get me wrong.

Standard safety features found on the 2019 Jimny include Dual Sensor Brake Support (DSBS), ESP, ABS, Lane Departure Warning, Weaving Alert, six airbags, rear camera and 2 ISOFIX anchors for the rear seats. Hill hold control also makes its way to both the manual and auto for the first time, and hill descent control helps is there for the trick downhill tracks. Oh, and did we mention cruise control?

Infotainment is handled by the familiar 7inch touch screen head unit found in other Suzuki models and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality as standard (unlike others including BMW and Ferrari). If you do not want to use your Apple or Android with the Jimny, you can always use the included navigation system to get around, and Bluetooth streaming or CD player if you like it old school.

A full review of the road experience will come once we get some more time with the Jimny, but initial impressions meet the hype and expectations which were set before the launch. The exterior design puts a fresh spin on the historic Jimny styling by bringing back styling cues from each generation.  The boxy nature looks great, almost a little comical when sitting next to the average SUV, with exception to the Jungle Green option, it’ll be almost impossible to lose anywhere.  

Credit: Suzuki QLD
Engine
1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power
75kW
Torque
130Nm
Luggage Space
59L (377L with rear seats folded)
RRP
$23,990 (5-Speed Manual) $25,990 (4-Speed Auto)

On the inside, the square edges are continued but softened by the soft multifunction steering wheel. It’s awfully practical for its size, but don’t expect your two rear passengers to be comfortable on a long journey if they’re over 165cm tall. I suspect most owners will leave the plastic backed rear seats folded flat to maximise rear boot space for weekend getaways or the weekly grocery shopping trip.

Visibility for the driver benefits from the square body shape, with no awkward angles to look past and the hood giving an accurate idea of where the car is placed. Ideal for those tight car spaces or narrow tracks offroad.

The 75kW/130Nm engine manages to not feel like a sloth, but don’t expect rapid acceleration on the road. In our short off-road expedition, the Jimny felt at home, and there’s no denying why the Jimny name is just as respected as the Landcruiser and Defender in the dirt. In the full review, we will be looking forward to spending more time exploring its capabilities in stock form.

If the Jimny is going to be your daily driver, you’re probably already knowing that it won’t be as comfortable as a small SUV, or as quick as a hatch. However, the driving experience is better than most diesel 4WD Ute vehicles currently available on the market. The manual is forgiving, acceleration is acceptable, and road noise isn’t as big of an issue as I was expecting. Road noise is noticeable but no different to a 4WD Ute.

Servicing is consistent with the rest of the Suzuki model line-up, with the 10,000km/6month schedule. The Suzuki QLD team at the launch did show a slide highlighting that even with a more frequent schedule compared to other brands, the Jimny is still a cheaper vehicle to service over five years, and highlighting that their capped price servicing program does include consumables such as oil and filters. Servicing the Jimny through their dealer network, Suzuki QLD also extends your warranty to 5 years/100,000km.

The new Suzuki Jimny is a vehicle I have been waiting for this car to arrive since the first photos surfaced online last year. Nothing else directly competes with the Jimny. The Jeep Wrangler is larger and more expensive, and other SUV’s aren’t a true 4WD with low range gears. The safety rating is disappointing, but if comments online mean anything, it appears those who are in the market won’t be put off. Styling is an absolute winner, and the Kinetic Yellow hero colour is what sold me the instant I saw it.

Can the name J-Wagon take off? I’m 50/50 on that one. I’m so glad to see a manufacturer stick with a niche product that doesn’t try to be something it’s not while showing it has some real personality to back it. The pricing is right, and the hype is there and at this point in time I think it’s perfectly justified. I’m looking forward to having one in the driveway soon.

Performance and Driving Experience9
Practicality for its Class10
Safety Tech and Features6
Price9.5
The Good:
Proves Jimny name is still a legendary compact 4WD
Strong price point
Great design
The Not So Good:
ANCAP Safety Rating
Two-tone paint option is expensive ($1250)
Revs high at highway speeds
8.6
out of 10
Recap:
The pricing is right, and the hype is there and at this point in time I think it’s perfectly justified for the 2019 Suzuki Jimny.
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