Suzuki Jimny: Pint-size fun in large doses

Suzuki Jimny: Pint-size fun in large doses

Okay, it’s not Vitara-levels of fun because the Jimny is a totally different vehicle. It looks like a miniaturized truck because that’s exactly what it is.

It looks cute on the outside and tugs at some of your heartstrings with its finely packaged exterior, which will remind some of the Matchbox toys you had as a kid.

Deep down inside though, it can get a little rough, uncouth even, but whether you like it or not, it’s infectious energetic drive is what will make you love it even more. We take a closer look at the Suzuki Jimny GL M/T 4x4 All Grip Pro.

Exterior

It’s the boxy retro look, in that diminutive size, that has people ogling. The exterior dimensions are just perfect, and add to that so much eye candy on the sheet metal.

Suzuki Jimny GL MT 4x4 All Grip Pro side 850 x 420

What immediately stands out is the almost vertical windshield that holds up the short flat roof. Some will argue that the design isn’t aerodynamically sound, but my counter is, you’re not really breaking speed records with a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine.

The color is called, I kid you not, Jungle Green. That totally makes it look so at home in off-road scenarios, especially if suited up with just the right accessories like a mean bull bar, bigger all-terrain tires, a roof rack — you get the picture.

It comes with a flat grille with a five-slat design looks utterly utilitarian and even sports-like with plain round housings for the circular halogen multi-reflector headlamps and turn signal lights.

Like most of the exterior elements, the front bumper looks simple but robust, with fog lamps on each side and a large air intake in the middle.

Suzuki Jimny GL MT 4x4 All Grip Pro rear quarter 850 x 420

Because of the height, windows are very wide. For highlights, you’ll find a pinch stretching from the top of the front fender all the way to the rear, a very short character line running along the bottom of the door, and macho plastic cladding that adds plenty of texture to the sides.

The black spare wheel casing is mounted on the rear door, which swings to the right to open. Right on top, in the middle is a third brake light while taillights are mounted on each end of the rectangular rear bumper.

Upgrading to bigger tires shouldn’t be a problem with large wheel wells that right now only sport 195/80 R15. I recommend that you upsize, but more on that later.

This entry-level trim comes with a remote on the key fob to lock/unlock the doors and key-in ignition.

Interior

What you see outside translates as well to the cabin. Almost all surfaces — from the dashboard to the door panels — are black and made of hard plastic to firm up its tough truck image.

Suzuki Jimny GL MT 4x4 All Grip Pro cargo 850 x 420

Completing the retro image are old-fashioned knobs and switches, plus a taller-than-usual stick shifter with a traditional boot cover. FYI, don’t get disconcerted if you can’t find the power window controls by the door. They’re located right below the aircon controls at the bottom of the center stack.

At the top is a nine-inch touchscreen display mounted over rather small aircon vents. Bluetooth connection is available, as well as a USB and AUX-in port.

Most all cabin elements are secured by rivets which are visible on the frame of the instrument panel, the handle bar atop the glove box, and even the door handles.

The high ceiling gives it an impression of space in the cabin even though it really only accommodates two people. As a three-door unit, the second row is barely there and even though it comes with a bench seat. Only children will be comfortable with that small amount of legroom.

Suzuki Jimny GL MT 4x4 All Grip Pro cargo 850 x 420

Engine

Output of 100hp and 130Nm of torque go to its two-wheel drive format or its All Grip Pro 4x4 system (four-wheel drive) via a five-speed manual transmission.

It’s not much, but you don’t need a lot to get this truck going. Zipping in and out of traffic was easy and the pull can excitedly haul its 1.090-ton body along without feeling inadequate.

There’s some engine clatter which makes it sound like a diesel, but it’s not and you’ll really need to throttle up to feel the power, especially if you want to overtake.

With a manual gearbox, power delivery is immediate, but I had to go easy from first to second as the clutch engages pretty early. A simple adjustment would fix this easily. It moved through the rest of the gears without a hitch.

Steering is light, albeit truck-like because it uses a recirculating ball and not a typical rack-and-pinion system found in modern sedans and crossovers. Why you ask? That’s because the former is stronger and more durable, and well suited for off-road drives.

The drawback is, despite its size, recovering from a turn coming out of a parallel parking slot for example will require a few extra strokes of the steering wheel.

Ride and handling

Handling wasn’t very sharp, but I suspect the slim 195s and the wet roads during that week of the test drive more than anything else. Wider tires should improve it some.

Comfort isn’t very high, as expected, because of the 3-link rigid axles with coil springs front and rear suspensions, something commonly found in trucks and off-road units.

Suzuki Jimny GL MT 4x4 All Grip Pro cargo 850 x 420

I felt cracks and crevices on the road, but poorly formed speed bumps are the worst since driving over them excites all axles and shakes up even loose items and fixtures in the cabin.

Verdict

Turned off because of the part where comfort is low? Then you’re missing the point of owning a truck. That stiffness ensures you don’t bottom out when driving over rocks or when carrying a heavy payload.

And that’s actually the fun part about trucks, the way they articulate surface conditions via chassis feedback so that you’ll be able to adjust driving style accordingly.

The combo of agility and size feels so empowering behind the wheel, which is where you get all the energy and desire to keep the drive going.

While it’s not designed to take on too many, people or cargo, the Suzuki Jimny GL M/T 4x4 All Grip Pro is guaranteed to deliver pint-sized fun in large doses. You get all that for only P975,000.

Photos by Eric Tipan

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