Suzuki Jimny 2019 Hardtop Review
Your car should make you smile.
The Suzuki Jimny is flawed in many ways, but is also a little SUV you just can’t help but smile in when you drive it. It looks like a shrunken Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, has serious off-road chops and is affordable enough to appeal to a broad audience of adventure seekers.
Is the Suzuki Jimny right for me?
If you’re looking for a compact SUV to navigate the urban jungle then the Jimny is probably not the ideal pick. It’s aimed at those who really intend on getting its wheels muddy on a regular basis.
It has a proper body-on-frame chassis and selectable four-wheel drive with low ratio transfer case to make it a pint-sized rival to the likes of the Toyota LandCruiser.
If that sounds like what you’re after, don’t think too long as Suzuki Australia has limited supply for 2019, just 1100 examples are headed down under.
What does the 2019 Suzuki Jimny cost?
Suzuki hasn’t just kept the mechanical bits simple, it’s also offering a straightforward range - just a single model. It’s priced at $23,990 (plus on-road costs) for the five-speed manual and if you want the four-speed automatic you’ll need to fork over an extra $2000.
What is the Suzuki Jimny's interior like?
Funky and functional. Suzuki has been on a roll in recent years, introducing a new range of models featuring fresh design and new technology - including a new infotainment system.
The Jimny has that same 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen but it gets old-school round instrument dials, fitted inside square housings.
It’s a basic SUV, with Suzuki expecting it to have a hard-working life, so the plastics are hard and look cheap. The cloth trimmed seats are the same, finished in plain dark fabric that feels like it will survive the rough and tumble of off-road adventuring.
How much space does the Suzuki Jimny Hardtop have?
The Jimny only measures 3.6m in total length but Suzuki has tried to make the most of the interior space.
Room up front is good, with enough room for two adults to feel comfortable, rather than tinned sardines. Small item storage space is limited, however, with a cramped glovebox and some cup holders/trays between the front seats. There’s a narrow shelf ahead of the passenger (behind a grab handle that will come in handy when you get really off the beaten track) but it’s not particularly practical for keeping things secure.
Technically the Jimny is a four-seater, but the rear seat space double as the boot. Stow the seats and there’s a claimed 377-litres of luggage space, but pop the rear seats up and you’d be lucky to wedge a suit carrier in what’s left of the boot.
Ironically, there’s actually pretty good space for four if you do you want to use the seats - as long as they don’t bring anything.
What's the Suzuki Jimny''s tech like?
The infotainment system is good. It includes support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus navigation is standard. So for a younger audience that values their connectivity the Jimny has appeal. Although depending on how far you choose to go off-road you may eventually lose the signal from your phone company.
How reliable is the 2019 Suzuki Jimny?
It’s hard to give long-term verdict given this is an all-new Jimny. But the build quality is impressive, with the little machine feeling solid and well bolted together. We had two examples of the new Jimny through our garage (a manual and automatic) and neither had any issues that would give us cause for concern.
Of course, if you drive it as intended - across rocks, through mud and down rivers - that could be a different story.
How safe is the Suzuki Jimny?
It gets a comprehensive safety package that includes front, side and curtain airbags, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning. You also get a reversing camera as standard, although it’s mounted quite low in the rear so it can distort the view slightly.
What is the Suzuki Jimny's warranty like?
Suzuki’s standard warranty covers the first three-years/100,000km. However, if you service at an eligible Suzuki dealer you can extend that to five-years/140,000km of coverage.
What are the on-going costs for the Suzuki Jimny Hardtop?
That catch for that extended warranty is the Jimny needs servicing every six-months/10,000km, which is shorter than industry average. While a minor check up costs $175, the major visits will set up back between $269 and $499.
Using our typical three-year/60,000km distance you’ll be up for $1428 in servicing costs, which is pricey for what is such an affordable car up-front.
Is the 2019 Suzuki Jimny value for money?
The single-specification includes the 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, climate control, cruise control and 15-inch alloy wheels.
What's under the Suzuki Jimny's bonnet?
A little car only needs a little engine, in the Jimny it’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit making a 75kW of power and 130Nm of torque. While those outputs are modest it’s worth noting the Jimny only weighs 1075kg (with manual ‘box), so it doesn’t need lots of grunt.
Having said that, you’ll have to really work hard to get a speeding ticket in the Jimny. On the open road 80km/h is its natural comfort zone, and you need to really push it to get behind that.
It gets noisy on the freeway too, thanks to the five-speed transmission. At 80km/h it’s revving at 2500rpm and more than 4000rpm at 110km/h, at which point the lack of sound deadening in the cabin becomes clearly apparent. In other words, you won’t want to drive on the freeway for long, or if you do you’ll want to bring ear plugs.
Having said all that, at lower speeds the Jimny feels quite peppy. The five-speed manual is the better choice for those who want to get the best out of the engine, the four-speed auto really labours at times.
Wind up the engine and shuffle through the gears quickly and the Jimny feels like a nice urban runabout.
How much fuel does the Suzuki Jimny Hardtop use?
Small engine and light overall weight means a strong fuel economy claim of just 6.4-litres per 100km for the manual and 6.9L/100km for the automatic.
What's it like to drive the Suzuki Jimny?
We’re already given the Jimny a serious off-road test, so for now we’ll focus on its on-road performance.
Of course the trade-off for good rock-climbing ability is its dynamic prowess. The Jimny suspension is extremely soft, so much so that just climbing aboard means the whole car bounces; in fact you can rock the car using one hand.
While that’s great for soaking up the big bumps when you are off-road, and speed bumps, it means the Jimny lacks composure in your typical daily road conditions.
Tip the little brick into a corner and the body leans dramatically and Bridgestone Dueler tyres quickly run out of grip and start squealing.
The steering is light, which makes it easy to navigate obstacles both off- and on-road, but it’s also slow to react which dulls the handling further.
How does the 2019 Suzuki Jimny compare to the competition?
There isn’t a lot in the way of direct competition for the Jimny. Most compact SUVs these days are clearly biased towards on-road driving, and are often little more than high-riding hatchbacks. The likes of the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona and Nissan Qashqai are a better option if you intend on spending most of your time driving on sealed roads.
But if you are looking for some more adventure in your life then the Subaru XV and Jeep Compass offer a good compromise between extra off-road ability and day-to-day comfort.
Its handling is a bit sloppy at times, the engine rough and noisy and in practical terms it’s really a two-seater. But you can forgive the Jimny a lot of its sins thanks to its off-road abilities, value and ability to put a smile on your face whenever you drive it.
Stephen has been interested in cars as long as he can remember. Speed is in the blood as his great-grandfather was a motor racing pioneer in Australia, establishing several land speed and racing records. Based in Sydney, professionally he has been writing about everything on four-wheels since 2001…