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New retro Jimny consolidates Suzuki jeep design over 38 years

New retro Jimny consolidates Suzuki jeep design over 38 years

The first completely redesigned Suzuki Jimny is launched this weekend at the Johannesburg Festival of Motoring in South Africa where the pre-production version is on display.

The new Jimny is available in southern Africa from 01 November 2018. Size-wise it is very close to its predecessor but it now sports a 1500 CC engine, and it includes a myriad of proven design concepts that go as far back as the original LJ10 of 1970.

Announcing the arrival of the all-new Jimny, Suzuki South Africa said earlier this week “the new Jimny fills the very big shoes of its predecessors, which were responsible for creating a new market segment for compact, affordable, capable and – most importantly – fun, off roaders. In fact, this ladder-framed, low-range vehicle made Suzuki so iconic and loved that this is only the fourth all-new model since the LJ10 was launched in 1970.”

Upon first glance, it is immediately noticed that the new Jimny leans heavily on a classic, retro offroad style. It is completely unlike any of the other small offroaders like the Daihatsu, in fact, although considerably smaller, the outer appearance reminds of a Geländewagen.

Suzuki’s engineers went to great lengths to incorporate design elements, both aesthetics and mechanics, that reach back into the little Giant Killer’s genealogy. There are elements from the very first LJ series through the second generation SJ model, to the current well-known Jimny.

However, Suzuki pointed out that the new Jimny adds some unique features of its own like the useful roof gutter or drip rail, convenient for mounting roof rails and other accessories.

Inside the cabin, the designers have also added hints of the new Jimny’s forebears such as exposed painted metal window frames at shoulder height, a speedometer and tachometer in separate square binnacles and the fit-for-purpose dashboard with a cubby hole and storage compartments.

The new model is built on a new ladder-frame chassis with a patented “X” member between the two rigid axles for 1.5 times the torsional rigidity of its predecessor. Both axles remain rigid which is what made the Jimny so dependable in mud and sand. New coil springs and shocks give the Jimny a respectable 210 mm ground clearance.

The wheelbase is unchanged at 2250 mm but both the front and rear track are 40 mm wider, increasing the car’s overall width by 45 mm. Surprisingly, its bumper to bumper length is shorter by 50 mm as a result of the new bumper designs.

The new Jimny sports the K15B 4-cylinder 1500 CC petrol engine pushing out 75 kW at 6000 rpm and 130 Nm torque at 4000 rpm. Suzuki said it is 14% lighter on fuel. Transmission is either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.

All new Jimny models are fitted with a 4×4 system called AllGrip Pro for easy shifting between 4×2 (rear-wheel drive), 4×4 high and 4×4 low range with a true donkey gear lever. This system is supported by both the vehicle stability control (ESP) and a new brake-enabled limited-slip diff.
Approach angle is steeper by two degrees at 37 degrees, it can crest a 28 degree ridge and depart any obstacle at an impressive 49 degrees.

Seating has received detailed attention, now being somewhat longer, lower and with a longer slide for taller drivers. In the front is 30 mm more legroom and in the back 40 mm.

In South Africa, Suzuki has added its 7” SLDA – smartphone linkage display – to the new GLX-specification. This large touch screen is fitted with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Mirror Link to accommodate most smartphones’ in-car features and voice control functions.

Suzuki South Africa will introduce both a GA and GLX specification level. Although final prices have not been set, Suzuki said the GA Manual should sell for around R265,000 while the GLX Automatic is expected around R320,000.


About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.