Suzuki Jimny (2018-2020) review
Comprehensive changes bring the Suzuki Jimny into the 21st Century. It isn’t perfect, but it’s full to the brim with quirky charm
The Suzuki Jimny remains a niche player in a market dominated by refined and capable crossovers. If you want a fine-handling SUV, this is not the car for you. However, if you’re after an unstoppable small 4x4 with impressive off-road ability, little else comes close. It offers loads of retro charm inside and out, with sharp styling and a durable interior. Limited availability due to high demand means you may have to wait if you want to order one, however.
Despite never selling in huge numbers, there’s an enduring appeal to the Suzuki Jimny that’s matched by few other small SUVs. Whether that comes down to its super-cool retro styling or its unflappable off-road ability is for you to decide – but as market tastes change and people demand more from their cars, does the mini 4x4 still have what it takes?
In a world dominated by pseudo-SUVs and road-biased crossovers, the tough old Jimny stuck out like a sore thumb. But the fourth-generation car is said to be the most technologically advanced Jimny ever – with class-leading off-road ability and vastly improved on-road dynamics.
There’s just one bodystyle to choose from, and while prices haven’t been announced, we do know there will be two trims available at launch. The 100bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine does without a turbo but gets a choice of manual and automatic transmissions. All cars come with ALLGRIP Pro all-wheel drive and a rudimentary ladder-frame chassis.
Entry-level SZ4 cars come with air-conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth, but miss out on the SZ5’s touchscreen infotainment system. The more lavishly equipped cars gain rear privacy glass, climate control, heated seats and sat-nav. Our pick of the range will depend heavily on pricing, but the SZ5 appears to add a number of items many buyers will see as essentials in this part of the market.
It’s hard to pin down direct rivals for the new Suzuki Jimny. While it’s clear the designers have taken inspiration from cars like the Land Rover Defender, Mercedes G-Class and Jeep Wrangler, in reality, it’s pitched alongside more road-biased crossovers like the Renault Captur, Hyundai Kona and Nissan Juke. Arguably its closest competitor is the no-frills Dacia Duster SUV – but that car can’t come close to the Jimny’s retro appeal and desirability.
Within the Suzuki range, the Jimny sits above the jacked-up Ignis supermini, and below the S-Cross and Vitara SUVs. As previously mentioned, however, its off-road ability is unrivalled at this price – both within the Suzuki line-up and elsewhere in the new car market.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingComprehensive changes bring the Suzuki Jimny into the 21st Century. It isn’t perfect, but it’s full to the brim with quirky charm
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Suzuki Jimny is a car designed to excel on rutted tracks and muddy lanes, which compromises handling on the road
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsDespite its small size and lightweight construction, the Jimny’s four-wheel drive system means running costs are relatively high
- 4Interior, design and technologyWith a rugged charm, the Suzuki Jimny’s interior feels built to last rather than in any way luxurious
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceSpace in the back of the latest Suzuki Jimny is acceptable, but the boot is absolutely tiny
- 6Reliability and SafetySuzuki just missed out on a top 10 finish in our latest Driver Power survey, and the Jimny feels built to last