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Suzuki Jimny: It might be small – but it’s BIG! off-road

  • First all-new Suzuki Jimnys in 20 years
  • First models with dealers in November 2018
  • Prices to start at estimated R265 000
2018 SUZUKI JIMNY: Image: Suzuki SA / Quickpic
2018 SUZUKI JIMNY: Image: Suzuki SA / Quickpic

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Suzuki will have what it calls ”its new giant killer” at the 2018 Johannesburg Festival of Motoring in Johannesburg – the all-new Suzuki Jimny.

”The new Jimny,” the automaker says, ”fills the very big shoes of its predecessors, those responsible for a new market segment for compact, affordable, capable and – most importantly – fun, off roaders.

”In fact this ladder-framed, low-range AWD, vehicle made Suzuki so iconic and loved that this is only the fourth all-new model since the LJ10 was launched in 1970.”

2018 SUZUKI JIMNY: Image: Suzuki SA / Quickpic
2018 SUZUKI JIMNY: Image: Suzuki SA / Quickpic

A ”farewell” model was released in 2016 – only 200 units – for sale only in the UK badged as the  Jimny Adventure Special Edition.

The South African distributor says the coming Jimny ”made waves” when it was officially unveiled in Japan in June 2018, praised for its angular bold styling that, however, continues with the iconic signature elements of each of its predecessors.

Styling elements include:

  • An overall angular design reminiscent of the first LJ and second generation SJ models
  • The round headlights and separate round orange turn indicators of the LJ10, the first generation
  • Bonnet side-slits and an angular front windscreen from the SJ series – the first range to be called Giant Killer by the 4×4 community
  • Steel wheel rims similar to the SJ series on the GA spec level
  • A clamshell bonnet and upright grille like the SJ and previous generation Jimny
  • A moulded rear bumper with lights in the furthermost corners, like the SJ series

The 2018 new Jimny has added unique features of its own, among them a drip-rail right around the roof intended to be functional in rain and off-road conditions and for mounting roof-rails and other accessories.

READ MORE Suzuki features on Carman’s Corner

The cabin has ”hints” of the new Jimny’s forebears, such as exposed, painted, metal window frames at shoulder height, a speedometer and tachometer in separate square binnacles and the fit-for-purpose faciawith a number of storage slots in a three-layer design.

Whatever, Suzuki says the coming Jimny has improved on its predecessor, the 1998-2018 Jimny, in every respect. It rides on a new ladder-frame chassis with a patented “X” member between the two rigid axles for a 50% increase in torsional rigidity over its predecessor.

2018 SUZUKI JIMNY: Image: Suzuki SA / Quickpic
2018 SUZUKI JIMNY: Image: Suzuki SA / Quickpic

”Rigid axles,” Suzuki says, ”are a boon when crossing sand or mud and, with the addition of new coil springs and shock-absorbers, the Jimny now has a 210mm ground clearance, 20mm more than before.

The ladder-frame is made of high-tensile steel and an integrated cabin and chassis system promises more collision protection.

The Jimny’s wheelbase unchanged at 2250mm, but front and rear track is now 40mm wider, the overall vehicle by 45mm. Contrarily, the new jJimny is 50mm shorter than the previous model.


Also new is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, K15B, petrol engine. It replaces the original 1.3 and delivers 75kW at 6000rpm / 130Nm at 4000rpm yet is 15% lighter,  has a higher compression ratio and an overall improvement in fuel efficiency – as much as 14%, Suzuki claims – manual or auto.

Drive goes to the ground through a five-speed manual (or four-speed auto in the GLX spec).

All will, however, have a 4×4 system called AllGrip Pro which, Suzuki says, allows the driver to switch comfortably between 4×2 (rear-wheel drive, earlier incorrectly reported by CC as front-drive), 4×4 high and 4×4 low range with a secondary gear lever.

This system is supported by both the vehicle stability control (ESP) and a new limited-slip differential.


The ESP-system is standard on all models and adjusts its function according to the number of wheels being driven and road conditions. Similarly, the Brake LSD will swtich between 4×4 high and low and will detect slippage to send torque (or brake a spinning wheel) between paired wheels on the same axle.

The Brake LSD and ESP-systems are further enhanced by hill-hold / hill-descent controls.

The Jimny’s approach angle has improved from 35 to 37 degrees, the breakover angle is now 28 degrees instead of 27 and the departure angle has improved from 46 to 49 degrees.

Suzuki says driver’s and passengers’ comfort  has improved and practical storage concepts added – in response to owners feedback. The front seats are 55mm longer and have wider cushion frames.


Lower seat bolsters allow comfortable shoulder movement when the driver / front passenger wish to look around and behind – ”perhaps when working through a tricky obstacle in the bush”.

The front seats can now slide through 240mm to accommodate taller drivers. Front occupants have 30mm more legroom, those in back 40mm more space and a higher hip point.

Suzuki boasts: ”This is easily the roomiest Jimny yet.”

Units for South Africa will have an 18cm smartphone display in GLX models which will accommodate most mobile phones with voice control.

The boot space on units with split rear seats is floored with moulded plastic and tie-downs, a 12V socket (GLX) and multiple utility screw holes under the rear windows and in the load bay. A large removable luggage box is in the ”extras” catalogue.


Wider appeal, Suzuki says, comes with GA and GLX models: both will have a full-sized spare wheel, anti-lock brakes, brake-pressure assistance, electronic stability control, child-seat anchors and two front crash bags.

Also present will be AllGrip Pro 4×4 with low-range transfer and traction control.

GLX (manual or auto) will have a leather-wrapped, multi-function, steering-wheel, power window lifts, colour-coded door releases and reaer-view mirrors, 15” alloy wheel rimss, diode projector headlights, keyless access / central locking and front foulr-weather  lights.

GLX models also have the phone touchscreen and smartphone connectivity with Bluetooth hands-free operation, cruise control and a 50:50 split rear bench seat with two head restraints.


”As with all Suzuki products,” the automaker says, ”the Jimny will be priced to welcome any adventurous family. While not yet confirmed, below are indicative prices which will include a service plan and mechanical warranty.”

Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4×4 GA: R265 000
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4×4 GLX: R300 000
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 4×4 GLX a/t: R320 000

The Jimny will be available from November 1 2018 but can be viewed at the 2018 Johannesburg Festival of Motoring from August 31-September 2 along with a display of previous Jimny, Samurai, SJ and LJ models – one of them a beautiful LJ50 from 1979, an SJ410 and an SJ413.

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