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Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GLX auto: review/off-road test


Have you had a burning desire to join a cult recently? Well, look no further than the Suzuki Jimny, because it has garnered cult status, and owning one grants you automatic life membership to the Jimny cult. We’ll explain the finer aspects of the cult’s secret handshake in a follow up article. Before I digress to a point of no return, if we reflect back on the first generation LJ10, then the SJ30 and finally the current JB33, it is clear why the Jimny enjoys such a strong customer following. After spending four days in the Clanwilliam area putting the Suzuki Jimny through its paces, we can safely say that it performed admirably. And, unlike other 4×4 offerings, it’s priced within reach of a wider audience. We had the use of a SnoMaster SMDZ-LS50 fridge freezer for our trip and it performed admirably, keeping our food and drink icy cold during the trip. Yes, the Jimny is compact, but it’s chunky and has full low-range off-road capability and functionality. And, don’t forget there are numerous accessories you can fit to enhance the look and increase the capabilities of your Jimny such as rugged underbody protection for those tough off-road trips.



The boxy shape of the Jimny is a stroke of genius in my opinion, a clever deviation for the sleek flowing lines of its more expensive competitors. The robust shape of the Jimny simply adds to its appeal, giving it a firm stance and a chunky “let’s go off-road” feel.  Visibility for driver and passenger is great, offering excellent vision from the cabin. Try fitting an overlanding kit for added ride height and improved performance by clicking here.



I had my doubts that the driver seating would offer enough space and comfort in such a small 4×4, but I was pleasantly surprised. I like to drive with my arms just short of being fully extended, with my seat quite far back and this was easily achieved in the Jimny. Do you remember the claustrophobic old Nissan 1400 bakkie where your knee would get wedged between the steering wheel and the driver’s door? Well the Jimny’s driver and passenger positions are cavernous by comparison. This is good news and makes driving on and off-road much more pleasurable. Tough front bumper kits, rear bumper kits and slimline bumpers are also available for the Jimny. Click here to view the various aftermarket accessory options



There were two of us on this trip, and my gut feel is that the Jimny is really a two person vehicle. Yes, it can take four, but the rear passenger seating offers limited space and the resultant comfort is compromised. But, when the 50/50 rear split seats are folded flat, the Jimny has ample packing space for two. We loaded duffle bags, camera bags, a SnoMaster SMDZ-LS50 fridge freezer  boxes and lots of other trip necessities with ease in the rear with the seats folded. With the rear seats in their upright position, there is limited boot space. The rear door houses the spare wheel, offering easy access when changing a flat tyre and it also adds to the robust look of this compact 4×4. If you’re going off-road and are facing water hazards, don’t forget to fit a robust snorkel.



After driving the Jimny on a round trip of approximately 800km I can safely say that it does what is required off-road and is comfortable on the road. The four speed auto gearbox can be high revving, particularly when using the cruise control as the vehicle gear down to maintain constant speed. The auto gearbox offers smooth changes between gears and the overdrive button can be used for gearing down while overtaking to great effect. During the trip the Jimny ran at about 2200rpm at 80km/h and just above 3000rpm at 100km/h.

The Jimny has a 4 cylinder multi-point injection 16 valve motor that offers 75 kW of power and 130 Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The 1.5 engine delivers good torque over a wide range of revs. The GLX comes standard with alloy rims and tyres that are 195/80/15. In the off-road department, the Jimny has a departure angle of 49˚, a break-over angle of 28˚, an approach angle of 37˚ and ground clearance of 210mm. There are numerous accessory options available for the Jimny to improve its look and its off-road ability. Click here to find the accessory match for your vehicle.

Safety features include dual front airbags, seat belt pretensioners, Isofix child restraint mounts at the rear, side impact beams, ABS, stability control, hill descent control and brake assist. The interior offers a 12v socket, a USB port, a multi-function steering wheel with audio, phone and cruise control functions. It has a tilt adjust steering column, central locking, electric windows, touch-screen infotainment system, power steering and air conditioning. The Jimny is available in a variety of colour options.


The Jimny impressed both off-road and on road offering excellent driver and passenger comfort. The vehicle is well built with a solid square form offering great off-road ability. The Jimny is built on a ladder chassis and is a true 4×4 with transfer case and low range capabilities. We certainly enjoyed the Jimny and if the comfort we experienced during our trip is anything to go by, we can’t wait to test the Jimny 5 LWB door which is going to be a game changer in the compact 4×4 market. Our off-road adventure took us to Marcuskraal 4×4 near Citrusdal where we put the vehicle through its paces and had some icy cold cooldrinks from the SnoMaster fridge to quench our thirst as it was 42 degrees! The Jimny handled all we could throw at it with ease including the incredibly soft sand that can be found in certain sections of the Marcuskraal 4×4 track.


The Jimny has a shift lever that allows you to switch between 2H and 4H up to speeds of 100 km/h. It also incorporates a (LSD) Limited Slip Diff and electronic stability control which redistributes torque to the wheels with most traction when out on the 4×4 trails. The (HDC) Hill Descent Control maintains a descent speed of 10 km/h in 4WD high range and 5 km/h in 4WD low range. There are quite a few accessories such as roof racks, luggage boxes, suspension upgrades, boot liners, front grille replacements, wind deflectors and tow bars that can be added to the Jimny to accentuate its look.


The Jimny has a 4 year/60 000 km service plan and a 5 year/200 000 km mechanical warranty.

It’s a great compact 4×4 offering, with real off-road capability. Yes, it might lack the space of its bigger and thirstier competitors, but it’s a lot cheaper and a whole lot of fun.