09 April 2012

Jimny, a little love affair

This site is NOT about reviews of stuff. But until my more work-oriented ecological.co.za site goes live, this post can live here. Because the Suzuki Jimny is so damn cool it deserves serious consideration, and when I was researching to buy I struggled to find any reviews from people who'd actually lived with these cars and really used them as working vehicles.

My work involves a substantial amount of fieldwork and site visits in Provincial Nature Reserves. It's a hard life I know, but someone's got to do it. In the 14 months since I bought this car in Feb 2011 I've racked up 28,000 kilometres throughout the Western Cape: a mix of city driving and commuting, lots of tarred highways, gravel roads in various states of repair, and nature reserve tracks ranging from gentle to 20 degree inclines liberally strewn with large rocks and dongas.

Yes, the Jimny looks like a dinky toy. It's downright girly in appearance. Rugged reserve managers and other Land Cruiser types may not take you seriously. The name does not help. Fortunately I'm manly and hirsute enough to pull it off. But can this tiny, cute caricature of a Jeep actually be a serious work vehicle?

All the detailed specifications are available from the Suzuki website here. Of these, four things together really distinguish this car from any other:
  • It's tiny and featherweight- 3.645m long, 1.6m wide and only 1,070kg
  • It's light on fuel with a claimed 7.2L/100km - comparable to a light sedan or hatchback (in South Africa it's only available with a 1,328 cm3 petrol engine)
  • It has a real 4x4 drivetrain, with proper selectable low range
  • It's by far the most affordable 4x4 at R192,900, even including vehicles without low range like the Toyota RAV and Daihatsu Terios.
Yes, it's small
The Jimny is a really unique set of design choices. Lets get the obvious stuff out the way first. This is a two-front door, one rear door car, shorter than most city cars. It's for singles, couples and families with no more than 2 small kids. Like any two-door, getting into the back seat involves sliding the front seat forward, and is a pain. While it is possible to fit two, or even three very short-legged persons in the back seat, for 6 foot tall adults, seat depth and legroom together are not adequate to allow knees to be pointed forward in a normal sitting position even when the front seats are pushed way forward, which would then push the front occupants' knees into the plastic dash. At 6ft1" I need the driver's seat adjusted as far back as possible, and very tall drivers would probably not fit. With only two standard sized adults however, it is perfectly comfortable, and with the rear seats folded forward, provides plenty of packing space.

And it really is frugal.
Manufacturer's claims for fuel consumption tend to range from optimistic to downright fraudulent. In this case however, they aren't too far off the mark for a sensibly driven Jimny. Over 28,000km, I've managed an average of 7.5 litres per 100km, ranging from a delightful 6.9l/100km when doing lots of 80-90k/h driving on dirt, up to 9.1l/100km when tearing along at 140km/h.  That means 400km to a maximum of 500km before the fuel light comes on, requiring a 36l refill, and leaving around 4l or 50km of reserve in the 40l tank. I drive like a granny and have to do very little city and rush hour commuting, so these figures are around the best you could expect, with average users of cars in standard trim reporting 8-8.5l/100km, and some even getting typical consumption as high as 10l/100km.

I haven't noticed any large difference in consumption when engaging 4WD high range on loose gravel or muddy dirt roads, nor if the airconditioning is on. Even 30km of low range on up to 20deg incline didn't dramatically reduce range on a full tank.

It's clear that the Jimny's fuel use responds strongly to driving style, with lowest consumption requiring good practise of gentle acceleration, avoiding heavy braking by anticipating traffic, and staying below 110-120km/h. Likewise, oversize tyres and heavy modifications take their toll. However, even the worst Jimny fuel consumption figures reported are 30% or more lower than virtually any other 4x4, and half of what many big 4x4s use.

But has it got the off-road credentials?
In short, yes, and then some. Remember me bitching about rear seat space three paragraphs ago? That's because this isn't anything like most serious off-road vehicles. It's not a truck turned into a car. It's more like a super quad-bike with a light body. After living with this car for a while, it's clear that every design decision aims to keep overall mass way down so that lighter engine, suspension and running gear can be used. That shortness translates into the ability to turn on a dime, and incredible entry and exit angles. And hot damn, it works. You can climb into and out of holes that would leave bigger cars with their rears buried in the ground. This little thing runs rings around any other 4x4 I've driven. It's small, narrow and light enough to pick lines that other cars couldn't and zips merrily over soft sand that bogs down heavier vehicles. On steep inclines and really rough tracks, with low range engaged from the button on the dash, the little 1300 engine and excellent power to weight ratio is entirely adequate to keep it crawling over rocks and up impossible inclines all day. It might be bested by bigger cars with larger wheels and a bit more clearance on huge boulders, but I've yet to meet a reserve track where I couldn't get through without even breaking a sweat.

Despite it's cutesy looks, this is no soft-roader without low-range or adequate clearance. I recently accompanied an all wheel drive Volvo XC70 down a rocky track, and breezed through sections where the Volvo was spinning tyres, scraping it's chassis, and having to make several attempts at steep, loose sections despite its powerful diesel engine. If you're more interested in getting into the wild than engaging in constructed 4x4 challenges, the Jimny will get you anywhere you need to go.

Oh, so that means it's not so hot on the tar?
Well... that depends on your expectation. I've pointed out that the Jimny is very short and narrow. It is of course tallish too. Having moved straight from owning a similarly sized and shaped 1986 1600 Daihatsu Feroza, and having driven the older SJ incarnations of the Suzuki, I found the handling phenomenally brilliant in comparison, with decent cornering, fantastic braking even in emergency situations, and far better high-speed road holding. But physics is a bitch. Compared to a lower sedan, or even a wider off-road vehicle, cornering does involve some leaning and is best approached with sensible caution. The ridiculously short 2.25m wheelbase with rear-wheel drive means oversteer is a potential hazard, and something you have to be very aware of, especially on loose gravel roads. Engaging four wheel drive helps in these circumstances, but it's not magic. The Jimny is not as stable as a longer vehicle, and if you don't adjust your driving style accordingly you will come to grief. That said, I've never felt unsafe, and the few times drunken men and horses have appeared out of the dark, I haven't felt even close to losing control, even while swerving and simultaneously emergency braking from over 100km/h. The ABS brakes do their job just as they should.

While the rev-happy Jimny can maintain 140km/h comfortably on the open road, it does wreak havoc with the fuel consumption. I'm not interested in driving much over the speed limit anyway. I've seen enough freshly dead and maimed idiots and their victims in my travels to understand the dangers. Ironically, driving fast actually makes almost no substantial difference to travel time anyway. How many times have you rushed past a slow truck, and had it pass you an hour later when you stop for a 10 minute pee break? My rather belaboured point is that the Jimny is plenty fast enough. Yes, the little engine does sound strained at over 120km/h. Yes, once in a while you might need to change down a gear when going up a steep hill. Yes, a sixth gear would be lovely on the open road, and would probably dramatically drop consumption on long trips. Yes, it would be nice to have a little more power when overtaking long trucks. But honestly it really is fine like it is. I regularly drive 8 hours or more in a day, and the performance isn't something I think about.

In the city however, the Jimny is in its other element. It keeps up with traffic effortlessly and it's got none of the disadvantages of a normal four-wheel drive. Any reservations you might have about the open-road handling will disappear when you have to park in crowded Long Street, or do a quick u-turn across a single lane. The turning circle actually beats nearly all small sedans and hatchbacks, and it's a doddle to park in the smallest space.

It's all about compromise.
When I bought this car, I was utterly baffled as to why the designers didn't add 15cm to the length of the car and allocate that space to back seat legroom, and maybe add small rear doors. Oh, and roll-down rear windows. Did I mention that the back isn't just cramped, it's probably downright claustrophoic? But why should I care, I never go in the back. I now realise that adding any space would have required a cascade of design changes that would make it impossible to have such a small, nimble and fuel efficient package that is also tough, capable off-road and on, and at half the price of any other 4x4.

In short, if you want the fuel consumption and manoeuvrability of a small two-wheel drive, with real usable off-road ability, something has to give. That something is space, and to a lesser extent, power. And while a short, narrow and tall 4x4 will never corner as safely as a sedan, the Jimny actually handles surprisingly well, and ABS braking and passenger and driver side airbags provide additional peace of mind. If like me, you really don't care about 0-100km/h acceleration times as long as you can easily keep up with other traffic, and like travelling light, the Jimny will take you anywhere. It handles ridiculously easily in the rough compared to heavier and larger vehicles where you can hardly see your line over the long bonnet. Although I typically do two to three day trips, I wouldn't hesitate to take mine on serious overland expeditions. I don't really understand why anyone would want to struggle with a 100kg canvas house when a 2kg two-man tent goes up in minutes. Out of Africa is a hassle kids, let it go. But if you can't, and you struggle to fit all your expedition gear inside and on top of your long-wheel base Landy, the Jimny is not for you.

Like any car, the Jimny is a design compromise. Professional motoring journalists unvaryingly value power, acceleration, speed and luxurious comfort. Apparently fuel economy, affordability and and flexibility are only for wimps. Reviewers that actually test the Jimny thoroughly in the rough note with surprise that it's as capable an off-road vehicle as the best. But even those that get that far are usually put off by the small interior, practical finishes, and the fact that the mountain goat handling is less of an asset on the open road. In their never ending macho quests, they miss the point that even the most ardent town dwelling over-lander typically spends 90% of their time in town where a conventional 4x4 is a heavy, thirsty, hard to park and turn nightmare, and engine power is frankly irrelevant. For me, the Jimny has all the right compromises for my lifestyle. It's a pleasure in and around the city, adequate on the open road, and can also get into the back of beyond. Every time the fuel price goes up I have reason to be thankful. But most importantly, as a package, it's more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. Real Jimny drivers passionately love their cars. Over a year on, and I still smile every time I get into mine.

Update Jan 2013 - My thoughts on the new Jimny. 

The new 2013 Jimny model only has cosmetic and minor safety feature changes. Most notably, a ridiculous, blanked-off, utterly non-functional bonnet airscoop that serves no purpose except to possibly slightly reduce aerodynamic efficiency and make the car seem like a bit of a poser, instead of the wolf in hamster's clothing that it really is. Amazingly, the non-MP3-playing CD-frontloader sound system remains unchanged, meaning you still cannot play MP3s or plug in an external player and the tiny, tinny speakers mean that a sound system upgrade is the first thing most people will want to spend money on.

The good news is that all the important good stuff remains exactly the same, and it's still the most competent and efficient real 4x4 you can buy for anywhere near the price.

Update Feb 2016 - Fuel Consumption. 

Approaching 100,000km worth of fuel records gives an average consumption of 7.7l/100km, not bad at all. Since the warranty expired I've been doing my own services, using decent full synthetic oil.


  1. You should send this to Weg/Go...

    Gosh. I guess I'm one of those Landcruiser types. Then again, my linen sheets fit better in my canvas house (which is up in...5 minutes).

    Sweet car.

    1. 5 minutes, really? But it's the bulk too... OK, maybe I'm Stretching for justification, but you get the idea (-:

  2. Well written review! Amazing economy. It is the only 4x4 at that price.
    I score 10.7l/100km - big tyres and steel underwear - much heavier but protected for overlanding. In 4x4 High fuel went up by some 46%. Maybe I should go for driving lessons! :)

    1. Thanks anonyous. My 4H driving is mostly fairly hard gravel surfaced roads at 60-80km/h in 4th or 5th, or for relatively short stretches on quite bad stuff. I'd expect that on softer surfaces it would jump up quite a bit as you say, but then that would raise consumption in 2H too.

  3. I bought mine in Feb '11 too! But I have only done about 17000km. I have to agree with your assessment of the vehicle, I have followed landies up hills were they stopped at the top to get out and help me up only to have their jaws drop when they see I'm right behind them wondering why they stopped.

    It is a bit too cute though, but I have actually left a few minor battle wounds just to give some cred. ;)

  4. Well this one is getting an unprecedented number of pageviews.

    To the person who arrived here via the Google search term "Is the Jimny a girl's car?", let's just say, 'Do you need your car to represent your masculinity on your behalf?'. I note that in the elite suburbs of Cape Town the biggest 4x4s are driven primarily by soccer moms. I don't think a big, aggressive-looking 4x4 says anything about your toughness anymore. To me, and how can I put this delicately, it does often say something about your need for visible symbols of status, and disregard for the planet and other road users.

    Comments on this article via Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/4x4/comments/s5vsi/jimny_an_unlikely_love_affair/ - thanks to http://www.reddit.com/user/lukefwjross for posting the link there):

    [–]sdrawkcab_emanresu 3 points 1 day ago
    Awwww now I miss my jimny :(

    [–]breakingbadnot 3 points 13 hours ago
    Living in a third world country, working in the car business and as a wheeling aficionado, a I can fully recomend this car. I´ve not yet found a car that can out perform the Jimny in any wheeling adventure... Not my Nissan Patrol, not my friends´ Toyota 4 runner, ... much less those hevy, clumsy Jeeps or any other car... And its sooo cheap!

    [–]lukefwjross[S] 1 point 10 hours ago
    I'm in Australia and I just cant go past the off road performance, reliability and cost. First time I took it out with with two Hilux's and it really showed it's stuff when it got too narrow for the Toyota's and in the mud. I Have only had it for a few months, but I am in love with it.

    [–]Mousi 2 points 11 hours ago
    As a huge fan of small, light 4x4s, I concur. I really want one of these, I've only had Grand Vitaras.

  5. couple more from Reddit:
    [–]jpatricks1 2 points 1 month ago
    My only minor gripe - I wish it had usable rear seats
    [–]lukefwjross[S] 1 point 1 month ago
    Agreed, I pulled mine out, there is just no point to having them. I use it as storage now and find its just right.

  6. and from http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php?t=111344

    13-04-12, 01:00 PM


    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: Brackenfell
    Age: 38
    Posts: 32

    Great review, Donovan - thanks for sharing.

    13-04-12, 05:14 PM
    Donovan K

    Join Date: Feb 2011
    Location: Cape Town
    Age: 41
    Posts: 4

    It's a pleasure, and thank you. I'm getting a few hundred page views a day, mostly via Reddit.com, so it seems there were quite a few people interested.

    If anyone feels it could be more accurate, or is missing any crucial points, feel free to comment and I'll update accordingly.

    14-04-12, 06:31 AM


    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: Oranjemund Namibia
    Age: 51
    Posts: 422

    Hi Donovan - really great article. You really should get it published, it needs to be read by people like me who have big 4x4's and think that you cannot be a true overlander without a big 4x4.

    I would love to own a Jimny, it would force me to get rid of all those camping 'necessities' that I have bought over the years! I think that owning a Jimny must force you to get back to the pure and simple pleasure of camping without lugging along all the cr1p that the rest of us do... My eldest son can drive now, maybe I should get rid of the fortuner and buy two Jimny's - cheaper than 1 x Fortuner...
    Kimball R. Pitcher

    Head - 2007 Toyota Fortuner, OME, extra tank, roof rack, bent running boards
    Heart - SFA hilux dcab

    14-04-12, 07:35 AM


    Join Date: Sep 2011
    Location: Johannesburg
    Age: 27
    Posts: 32

    Hi Donovan

    I bought my Jimny last year September. So far I have racked up mostly JHB city miles, traveling on the M1 and Sandton areas. Have done a long distance trip to the western cape as well.

    Next trip is in two weeks where I will be going on a fishing holiday to the Skeleton Coast park in Namibia.

    I absolutely love my Jimny! It is an amazing car. For me and my wife it is perfect. There is plenty of space for all my toys. Bikes on the roof or fishing rods and tackle boxes or big hiking bags and gear. The little giant takes me wherever I want to go!

    My stress levels here in JHB traffic has also been strangly (but wonderfully) reduced. I traded in my Opel Corsa 1.8i Club bakkie in for the Jimny. There has not been a second that I have regreted it. The Jimny gently forced my to slow down - not in speed but in haste. I take it easier on the roads now which is way more relaxed. Weirdly I find myself in less tricky spots where other motorist with more powerfull vehicles tends to get themselves into situations that may end up in a crash.

    If something were to happen to my Jimny (heaven forbid) - I WILL buy another one!!!
    Herman Lourens

    2011 Suzuki Jimny

    14-04-12, 11:02 AM

    Frans E

    Join Date: Jul 2011
    Location: Pietersburg(Polokwane)
    Age: 30
    Posts: 127

    Hi, great review. I was also interested in the Jimny. Sadly/happily the family has grown and it is just to small for 5 people. It is however a fantastic vehicle.

  7. Nice article! Very thoughtful. I just bought a used 2008 Jimny with 190,000km on the clock! But it still runs just fine! Only had it for a few weeks so i'm chomping at the bit to get it off-road this weekend and see how it goes.

    I'm already in love with it after just cruising around town with my girlfriend. While it is more like a coupe it's nice to know that I can legally get 4 people in the car if need be.

    If it dies i'd buy another one too!

  8. Hi,

    Just to add to the praise, kudos on a wonderful review.

    My biggest concern is the comfort, for both long and short distances, not necessarily in terms of how bumpy the ride is - though that would be helpful - but rather the seating comfort.

    I'm used to my large VW caddy bakkie seats, which have been quite fine. Do you know how they might compare?

    Also, I'm not particularly large, in fact I'm 70kg and quite short. So the seats don't need to be mahusive, I just just don't want to feel like I'm on the edge my seat. This seems to happen a lot with the smaller cars.

    Any comments would be helpful. Thanks!


    1. Hi F.J.

      I'm 6.1 and 90kg, and I find the front seats perfectly comfortable with the possible exception that if you rest your right knee to the right, the hard plastic is a bit painful. I regularly do 5-8 hours driving in a day, covering highway and off-road, and I enjoy the driving position.

      The ride is different from bigger cars, not just a bit more bouncy over bumps, but with more susceptibility to corner lean and side winds. That's the price for low weight and manouverability, and doesn't bother me. But then I've graduated from an assortment of ancient cars including a '96 Hilux 4x4 and a Daihatsu Feroza, so my newish Jimny still feels like the height of luxury to me. It's now another 6 months since I wrote this post, I just passed 40,000km and I still feel like it's by far the best choice for me.

      Don't know where you are, but my local dealer was happy to bring the car to my house and let me do a 25km test drive including highway. Make them earn their sale!

  9. Hi Donovan,
    I'm a professional 4x4 (SAQA Qualified) Trainer amongst other things and have been involved with offroad vehicles all my life. I've owned a number of landys (love them but can't afford the high maintenance costs) and other 4x4's. I currently own a Mazda B2600i 4x4 s/c pickup which is awesome offroad. It also has a tsunami-like thirst which has also made me think about what I'm pumping into our atmosphere. My head led me to a test drive of a Jimny last saturday and now my heart has taken over. It is a serious 4x4 machine with perfectly adequate on-road performance for sensible driving. It is based on the original design concept of the World War 2 MB2 Jeep and still shares the same chassis dimensions. It is the real deal and I believe it will take me anywhere I want to go in the bush responsibly, lightly and with great enjoyment. With careful planning and a bit of modification (always keeping power to weight ratio and c of g in mind) it will accomodate all we need in the bush. All I have to do now is get the tin together. I think it will raise many an eyebrow on the 4x4 training courses!
    Nice article, well done.

    1. Hey Craig. Thanks for the comment. The Jimny has it's limitations of course, but as a pro driver I'm pretty sure you'll find lots of situations where it's actually better than bigger 4x4s. It's certainly a lot less work to drive offroad in lots of places, especially tight corners, steep entries and exits and soft sand. You'll enjoy the better visibility over the short bonnet too. Mine's still completely standard and regularly goes places that I'm told are strictly Landcruiser territory. Sure I don't bat along over huge rocks, but even cruisers fall apart if you do too much of that.

  10. THIS is a review!

    thank you sir!!

  11. liz campbell edinburgh scotand.30 January, 2013 12:55

    Hi there I bought my jimny in Sept 2006 and i love it she is begginning to show her age now as i had to replace the engine in august last year and apart from brakes,wheel bushes and tyres i have had no majour issues, although since i ghanghed the engine it has overhet a couple orf times and my machanic has replaced all hoses and had it checked but it still does it, i know I WILL HAVE TO THINK IN GETTING new one soon but 2 years ago when we had severe snow and brought motorways to a stand still for 24 hours with people stuck in there cars my jimny sailed through it all never once let me down my husband was amazed at it as he had ford focus and paid a lot more than mine and it lay broke down in snow for 3 days and i had to rescue him from snow so much for his ford focus c,max eah ,oh if any one knows what could be wrong or they have had problems with overheating could you please e.mail me at ritaboyd2558@btinternet.com as im really baffled with this thank you

    1. Thanks Liz. Having driven an assortment of ancient vehicles, I've had similar issues a few times.
      Assuming your system isn't losing coolant and the radiator and hoses are all sound, next step is to test thermostat to ensure it is opening once the car warms up - a stuck thermostat will cause overheating, but I'd be surprised if the mechanic hasn't checked that already. A quick test is to let the car warm up and then feel the top hose going from the radiator to the engine - if it is much cooler than the radiator itself then you probably need to replace the thermostat and fire your incompetent mechanic.

      Otherwise, weird, undiagnosed overheating problems are often caused by an intermittent head gasket leak - especially likely if the engine ever previously badly overheated for any reason (e.g. a cooling system leak) and the head is a bit warped. It can be incredibly hard to diagnose though as a pressure test might not show leakage until the engine is really hot.

  12. Nice! makes me feel proud to be a FUTURE jimny owner!

  13. Carlos Ostaicoechea17 June, 2013 03:03

    Great review! I just bought my Jimny a few weeks ago and already bought the 2" lift Pro Comp suspension kit. I love to travel and the performance of this little beast in the desert is awesome!
    Greeting from Peru!

  14. Hi there, this is a fab review, and with your permission, will share it on our Facebook page and on our website for others to read.
    Megan MacDonald
    Ass Marketing and PR Manager
    Suzuki Auto South Africa

  15. Seriously Megan....
    You should look into changing your title, from "Ass Marketing Manager" to something else..

  16. Greetings from New Zealand. My ex-pat South African wife and I bought a 2013 Sierra two weeks ago and are loving it! I have to say it's a fantastic vehicle and just what we were looking for. One question I hope you might be able to answer, how hard is it to replace the factory speakers? If it involves removing the door panels then we will get our dealer to do it... Many Thanks and your review of this great little 4WD is fantastic. :-)

    1. Hi

      I have not actually done it yet, but my speakers are in boxes in the footwell - very easy to access. Problem is if you want bigger speakers, and you will, the factory encosure will likely be too small and require another plan. There are also speaker voids in the rear, but these are a lot harder to get to. There are lots of guides online, sorry I don't have any links handy.

    2. Thanks so much for your response. I've found a guide for the rears and there is no way we are pulling our brand new car apart to that level! lol. I've also found another for the fronts that suggest it is just a small panel in the footwell that needs removing. The existing 4" speakers are just shocking! I plan to call our dealer tomorrow and see what they charge to upgrade before I decide what we do about it. :-)

  17. Thank you for the informative review. I am about to trade in my boxter s for a new jimny. I previously drove a targa. 17 years of johannesburg status, performance driving are being swapped for a new era at the coast. To ease the transition I'm having vanity plates and eyelashes fitted. Yes. Really. :-)

    The test drive was scary. It felt like i was going to topple over and there is zero acceleration never mind speed. However, it's cute and zippy and I'm looking forward to ramping pavements and negotiating speedhumps without crunching my sump.

    Wave if you spot my poodles and i at the beach :-)

    1. Tiger, I have no words, Porsche to Jimny, with eyelashes nogal... May you be as chilled as your new drive will require. At least you'll still be able to blast past Land Rovers.

    2. Jip, Landys don't have speedometers, the have almanacs....

  18. I was going to add that the dealer cringed when i asked to test a jimmy :-) but i thought it might be a girly step too far

    Kisses from the beach xxx

  19. Just taken delivery of my jimny. Eyelashes as promised. If you let me know how to upload a pic here i will post one.


    1. Sorry, don't think you can upload pics directly in comments (this is a blogspot site), but you could put it on any photo site (Flickr) or social media (Twitter or Facebook with public sharing enabled) and post the link here.

  20. Brilliant! I love my little Steenbok! i take so much pleasure in showing up the big expensive computer riddled 4x4's out on the tracks! it has its shortcommings, but definitely outweighed by the rest

    On a side note, there are guys out there like Rock-Crawler Offroad who offer a 1.8l conversion for about 20k (if memory serves). Great guys, brilliant service and friendly.

  21. Klipspringer more like! Love my Jimny, I've just had to replace the exhaust manifold due to a misdirected jet of cold water while it was still hot... The replacement banana branch has changed the wee beastie into a little mamba! Great fun! 94000km's in 22 months and loving it! Craig Martens, African Outlines 4x4 Academy

  22. This last comment is just so funny...

    Great review on what is going to soon replace my Nissan XTrail !

  23. Antony Mintram11 March, 2015 08:07

    Hi Donovan,

    After doing some review searches on Google about the jimny and seeing several shocking ones, I decided to dig deeper and found that all the bad reviews are because they are expecting all the same aspects that you might receive from a hot hatch. I was very relieved to come across your review on the 4x4 website. After having a good all round look at the car and being rather impressed the the build quality we will take delivery of our new toy on Friday. We found the ned to get a 4x4 as we do a fair amount of scuba diving and are heading to Mozambique several times this year and our polo tdi and corsa bakkie just can't quite take that kind of punishment.

    I am very keen to install a small turbo and intercooler for no other reason that we have a camping trailer which we like to take with us to the pilansburg and I hear that the small engined suzuki will then end up being overtaken by guys on bicycles and old ladies with zimmer frames. Have you heard of anyone doing a conversion like this? I will post a ride build and review once I have completed the job and taken it off road.

    1. Wow. OK!? I'd seriously urge you to drive it a while before you rip into it. You might find, like most Jimny drivers, that you relax into the "lousy" performance. And by lousy I mean 110km/h with a 300kg trailer, not zimmer frame speed. I'd guess that even if (big if) you can get the mod reliable, you'd destroy the little transfer case etc etc. This is not a Land Rover with mostly truck parts, all components are clearly carefully matched to size, weight and power delivery. Seriously, just drive it a bit. But if you go for it let us know how it goes and I'll happily link.

  24. Took delivery of my Jimny on Friday :-)
    Oh, it now comes with a Blue Tooth hands free phone radio, with USB port.
    Four speakers, can't wait to do a long trip.......

    1. Sorry, two speakers, in the footwell.
      I put 300 km on the clock, some local driving, and Cape Town, Hermanus, and back.
      Pleasantly surprised going up Sir Lowrys, and back from Hermanus.
      This beastie can really do with a sixth gear....
      Oh, the tank is now one block under halve !

  25. Another cudo for the Little Klipspringer, Did the African ivory trail early this year with my mate in his Defender90. we encountered a thick mudd patch after a river crossing. The landy got bogged down. 3.5hours of digging, carting rocks to shove under the tyres and cutting trees (invader wattles) to do the same we got the fat tub of lard out :)
    My mate now on the other end of the mud patch waited with tow rope in hand only to have his jaw hit the floor when i skipped through the mud with no hassle what so ever :)
    Oh the joys :)

    Jimny ON!

    1. Yes, one of the great joys of driving a Jimny is taking people by surprise. I recently pottered through sections of Goegap Nature Reserve outside Springbok where the "real" 4x4s chickened out and turned around.

  26. Awesome, I don't know why they are surprised though? Ignorance i guess? it was specifically and purposely built to be a great off-roader.

  27. Well, I've had my Jimny for a year now, and glb's review is spot on.
    I fitted roof bars, nudge bar, and tow bar.
    Oh, and replaced the tinny speakers with R170 units from Cash Converters. Huge difference.
    Not a moment of regret so far.