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Suzuki Jimny 5-door.

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We’ve reviewed and enjoyed the ‘short’ version before which was released to eager buyers in 2018. The funky-styled nature combined with a highly impressive off-road ability was the attraction, and was evident when you look at the huge amount of sales achieved throughout South Africa.

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However, to some, it lacked practicality regarding storage capacity and access for passengers. Well those justifiable concerns have now been taken care of with the advent of Suzuki’s new 5-door offering. It’s been a long time coming and it already seems to be another sales success across the County, opening more doors for retail outlets and, of course, the customer.

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Look, it’s basically the same concept beside the extended wheelbase from 2,431mm to 2,590mm, which doesn’t sound a lot, equating to the car being 340mm longer, or about the same length as a large melon. But once you get behind the leather-clad wheel it becomes a much more juicy variation.

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 This particular model, in this fetching green alternative (six colours to choose from plus three dual-tone) is the top-of-the-range GLX version with an automatic gearbox, a five-speed manual option also available.  Being motorcyclists we all like engine credentials, so we have a K-Series, 1,462cc, four-cylinder, 16-valve unit producing a claimed 100hp@6,000rpm and 130Nm@4,400rpm. Now that doesn’t sound a lot for a car does it? But in the ‘real’ world it’s ample for what the Jimny is designed to do – generate bucked-loads of fun in a rough, tough and well built manner. 

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Fun it most certainly is. I’ve driven many cars in the past including exotic over-priced ‘chest inflators’, but Jimnys tend to make you feel more full of glee. I’d agree though that the 3-door is 'cuter' with its ‘stubby’ stance nevertheless the new 5-door still has a ‘cute’ factor but not as much, aimed more towards the family man/woman I’d say, after all it’s still the same height and width (1,645mm) as the 3-door. Most importantly the new 5-door has the desired 126 litres more storage space and extended legroom for the passengers. It also has a cool trick up its lengthened body. If you lay down all the seats, including the front, you can sleep two people inside, or indulge in frantic erotic interaction, the choice is yours.

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Steamy windows aside, the most noticeable difference I could feel on the road over the 3-door is, predictably, improved stability, where it’ll cruise happily all day long in the 120/130km/h zone. It does have cruise control as well if you’re feeling a bit lazy and your foot is tired. When driving up hills on the road the automatic transmission can ‘hunt’ for the correct gear though, which isn’t a surprise at our 1500m high altitude (Jo’burg), which saps around 18% of the power from a normally aspirated engine. Still, this didn’t really bother me too much as the comfort levels from the seats and the quality of the components inside the car seemed to make me forget the auto gearbox doing its thing. The stereo was good as well, which is very important in a car, right? There’s an impressive large 9-inch screen as well to link to your phone (wireless), so you can answer your phone, listen to music, be distracted, connect to GPS, etc…

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When you decide to venture off-road in the Jimny 5-door though, everything changes. It’s quite simply the most fun you can have for the price, being a genuine 4x4 with its impressive Suzuki All Grip drive system. The gearbox has (for both manual and auto) 2-wheel drive for road use, 4-wheel drive for off-road, plus low range 4-wheel drive, ideal for pulling your partner out of the local bush bar/pub, and a rear view camera to see you doing so. There’s also traction control, hill hold control, and hill decent control, so don’t inadvertently roll into an angry buffalo.

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We took the Jimny 5-door to our favourite off-road training centre (www.adasa.co.za) which is well worth a visit if you’d like to explore the off-road attributes of your Jimny. Everything from steep hills to deep trenches to waterholes, it's all there for your enjoyment, and we loved it. If we perhaps had some massive heavy 4x4 car/truck there most people wouldn’t care for a drive, the Jimny on the other hand is certainly not like that. It only weighs in at 1,545kg (gross weight), which partly explains its gazelle-like agility. The two people with me on that day all wanted to have a go through various obstacles and all came away with a smile bigger than a granny with new dentures. Simply put, it’s a 4x4 off-road car that isn’t intimidating, is easy to drive, easy to select 4x4 gears, has 210mm ground clearance, and literally goes anywhere you point it. To be honest saying it’s good off-road is an understatement of note and any motorcyclist, who likes riding off-road, would enjoy this car in this exciting environment for sure.

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After many hours of fooling around and laughing like hyenas who'd found, and inhaled, a bottle of laughing gas (nitrous oxide to you) we sadly had to return home, but everyone in the Jimny wanted to go back and do it all over again, myself included. Even the next day we ventured out once more looking for any interesting dirt lanes taking us into the hills and beyond – sounds like a film quote? It deserves to be in a film this Jimny, a true elfin-sized adventure car of note, that’s now even bigger than ever. If you want one, which you should, this top-of-the-range GLX model here is R480,000 +/- with a five-year 200,000km warranty and four-year service plan, but they start from R429,000 depending on the spec and gearbox choice. The roof rack and accessories pictured are certified Suzuki extras though, of which there are many options to ‘decorate’ your car and choose from.

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So there we go, a tremendous fun- filled adventure car of note, for all the reasons listed above, and maybe enough reasons for you to have one in your garage – I most certainly would!

Words: Bill Hunter    19/04/24

Images: Tiny Ant.

Visit www.suzukiauto.co.za to book a highly recommended test drive and for more technical information.

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