I once saw a fascinating programme on television explaining why aeroplanes are not great at manoeuvring around the runways on their wheels, or taxiing as it is referred to.
And the answer is so simple really: because they were built to fly.
After driving the new Suzuki Jimny on a stretch of tar between Nelspruit and Hazyview during it’s local launch last week, I couldn’t help but think back to that programme’s explanation when we finally hit the gravel tracks in the Lowveld’s endless pine plantations the next morning.
Don’t get me wrong.
Not for one second am I insinuating the Jimny is as limited as a Boeing on a tar road.
After all, in how many planes have you been that crashed while taxiing before take off?
New @Suzuki_ZA Jimny shows its off-road capability.
It has a ground clearance of 210 mm, which is 20 mm more than the previous model. pic.twitter.com/3oTqiL9r5X
— TheCitizen_Motoring (@ThecitizenM) November 5, 2018
Where a plane is designed for flying with the addition of wheels to get you to the designated runway and airborne eventually, a Jimny is created to play rough in the mud up a mountain – with the same wheels also perfectly capable of getting you to your destination which will in all likelihood be a stretch of tar variable in length.
Yes, for the same price as the Jimny you can get to your playground more comfortably and much quicker, but you won’t find anything more capable and fun to handle any surface or obstacle.
It is simply a fearless little elephant when the going gets tough.
After some decent overnight rains, the Jimny made light work in low range and first gear up a steep incline over slippery rocks, all this while hardly breaking a sweat at just over 1 000rpm with enough momentum not even calling the Hill Hold Control into action.
It tackled the descents with equal enthusiasm with the Hill Descent Control making the frighteningly steep drop almost ridiculously easy.
With a turning circle of a mere 4.9m, the Jimny took to the tight inclined hairpins like a duck to water and glided over gravel and sand at higher speeds with ease.
The backbone of its capabilities is the ladder frame chassis. In the new model, Suzuki’s engineers have added a patented cross member, the Suzuki X-member, between the two rigid axles, while the off-road abilities are further enhanced by rigid axle suspension system, a mechanical fourwheel drive system enhanced by Suzuki’s proprietary Brake Limited Slip Differential and increased approach, departure and breakover angles assisted by a ground clearance of 220mm – up 20mm.
The previous 1.3-litre engine has been replaced with a new 1.5 litre petrol engine, which produces 75kW at 6 000rpm and 130 Nm at 4 000rpm, with a choice of fivespeed manual or four-speed automatic in the GLX model.
While the fourth-generation Jimny didn’t get any bigger from it’s predecessor, it is wider and uses the space inside to make the driver and passengers more comfortable.
The front occupants’ legroom has been increased by 30mm, the back occupants’ by 40mm and the front seats sliding range is measured at 240mm.
The front seats have been redesigned to fold completely flat with the rear bench to allow someone to sleep inside the cabin and on the passenger side, this flat-folding seat and foldable rear bench allow for a completely flat loading surface to accommodate longer equipment.
While the engine, offroad features and safety remains the same across all models, the GLX models come fitted with a few more luxuries with the seven-inch infrared-touch screen with Android Auto, Apple Carplay and MirrorLink integration a crown jewel in the cabin.
The new Jimny replaces the push-button selection between 2H, 4H and 4L with a shift lever that is directly connected to the transfer gear and can switch on the fly at speeds of up to 100 km/h.
And just like a real pilot whose journey only begins when he lowers the flaps to get his plane airborne, a new Jimny owner’s journey will only begin when he shifts the drive lever from 2H.
But with an estimated sixmonth waiting list, you might have to wait slightly longer to get your hands on the new Jimny.
- Retro modern and very sensible styling.
- Very impressive off-road capabilities.
- Automatic gearbox can be very annoying on the open road.
- Lack of central locking in GA model.
Although this little beaut is built to go off the beaten track, expect to see quite a few around the suburbs.
- 1.5i GA MT R264 900
- 1.5i GLX MT R299 900
- 1.5i GLX AT R319 900
The GLX model is standard with a four-year/60 000km service plan and the GA model with a two-year/30 000 km service plan.
All models are sold with a fiveyear/200 000km mechanical warranty.