Let's not beat around the bush here, if you're on this blog, you've probably seen my content here or on my social media feeds before. That also means you're aware of my unhealthy obsession with Suzuki, in particular, the third generation Jimny. I first saw one of these things in 2008 when they were introduced to SA, and at that time it was already a long-running model. Once I'd actually sampled the little 4x4 that I first laughed at, it immediately moved up to the top of my Want List, which confused many people because at the time I was editor at a performance motoring magazine and things were all about being lower, wider, bigger and faster. When I left the magazine I started getting press cars for review, and these included all manner of vehicles that would make anyone happy, but I still always wanted a Jimny. Trust me to want a car with the longest model production run of all time (ok, that might not be true, but it felt like it). That first model I saw in 2008 started life in 1998, and it ran all the way until 2018 when this 4th generation entered the scene.
The 4th generation is this square lump of awesome you see before you. The amount of time this thing took to hit the market makes sense now, I reckon the men in white coats and the bean counters all worked together on this one, continually improving things, changing things, upgrading things - all the while biding their time. I think someone at Suzuki has their pulse on what the worldwide car buying public wants, seemingly knowing that retro styling would be the next big thing in this world of slanty, aerodynamic replicas of each other. Teaser pics of the all-new Jimny started doing the rounds a couple of years back already, and while every motoring site that posted pics claimed they were leaked, I think it was all strategic. The retro styling was pretty much all we could see, and that left industry experts all giving opinions on what the little 4x4 would have inside, underneath and powering it. I think the Suzuki engineers and designers kept tabs on a lot of this to make sure what they were doing would be what people wanted. Looking at the end product, everyone involved deserves a bonus.
The retro styling, the available colours, and all the right changes in all the right places have ensured the all-new Suzuki Jimny an instant cult status. Seriously, if you want one now in SA, you'll be put on a waiting list. Yes, that's right, a waiting list for a Jimny! It's also not a short wait, if you want to get your ass in the seat of a new Jimny, you have a 12-month long wait ahead of you. While that's not necessarily a great thing for Suzuki SA who have to try and calm impatient wannabe owners, I think it's absolutely awesome! I've already heard stories of people selling their spots on the waiting list to enthusiasts who are willing to fork out money to get theirs sooner. That's a problem that usually plagues limited edition high performance models and supercars. Like I said - instant cult classic. This little 4x4 appeals to so many people, in the many different circles I run in, there's at least a handful of people who want one. A client of mine has a collection of super impressive cars, including a Track Pack GT-R as well as the holy grail of JDM cars - a 1970 GC10 Hakosuka - and he's keen to get his hands on one.
Now I'm not going to get into all the technical details and changes and improvements, for that information I'll direct you to the initial launch impressions over here. What I am going to tell you is that the all-new Suzuki Jimny is brilliant, just fukken brilliant. Sure, there will be those that want it to have more power and more speed, but those are the people who don't really get what Jimny is all about. That said, the motor is bigger so there is a bit more power on tap than before. While I haven't looked at the nitty-gritty specs, I'm positive the gear ratios are different as is the power delivery, which in real world terms means the Jimny is much easier to drive. I took a 2017 model to Cape Town, and while I loved it because I was headed to an awesome destination in a car that I'll bite someone in the face for, it took a bit of work, it was tiring. You do have to pay constant attention to the gear you're in, the revs and the speed. Still, while the little 4x4 isn't fast, I never held up traffic and even managed plenty overtaking manoeuvres. That's not the same in the all-new Jimny though. It's an easier drive, like you're in a normal compact car. The steering is easier, the feel of the car on the road is better, the power delivery is better, the comfort is better - everything is better. That's just on the tarmac, if you start talking about going off road, then there's not much that comes close to what this 4x4 can manage in stock form, the new technologies employed make it untouchable . Of course, if you want more out of a Jimny, there's already so many aftermarket parts out there to beef the thing up into zombie apocalypse spec. This is thanks to the Jimny being the most popular vehicle at the recent Tokyo Auto Salon.
Many people know I get press cars, and when I get something different or special, a few get hold of me so they can have a closer look. After the launch and I posted pics, I had upwards of 50 people begging me to show them the car when the review week popped up. At every place I visited, every shopping centre I stopped at, someone wanted a closer look at the Jimny. I've never been in a car with this much interest from the public. At 4-way stops, robots, and in traffic I had so many hoots & waves and thumbs ups chucked at me you would swear I won the lotto. Lucky I'm not (that) paranoid.
With Suzuki, the Swift has always been the bread & butter model, selling great in all the markets it's available in, but I think the new Jimny will be adding some pretty damn tasty jam to that sandwich. It's never going to outsell the Swift, but it's going to hold its own for sure. Not only is it brilliant at what it does, it can out 4x4 just about any offroader you can think of, but it also has no competitors. That's right, this little 4x4 is in a class of it's own. Even if there was something in this class, you're looking at playing catch up to a company that's had a Jimny on the road since the first generation LJ10 in 1970. The practicality of the Jimny is brilliant, the single drawback being boot space, but if you leave passengers out of it, the rear seats fold down to free up enough space for serious holiday baggage. The all new Suzuki Jimny moves to the top of my want list, relegating the outgoing model to second place. I wouldn't even be picky about a colour for one, I'd take whatever is available because they're all that good, I actually couldn't choose a colour for myself anyway. With two trim levels and the option of automatic, there's a model for everyone, even freelance journalists like myself. The range-topping Jimny 1.5i GLX AT comes in just shy of R320 000, with the entry-level Jimny 1.5i GA MT just on the R265 000 mark.
If you want a second hand 2018/9 Jimny, be prepared to wait for a very, very long time. If you think having a new model out means you can pick up the outgoing model for cheap - think again. From what I'm seeing on the World Wide Web, most Jimny owners aren't selling to get this new model, they're simply adding the new one to the garage.
That's pretty damn cool.
Why did I shoot the Jimny in an urban setting? Basically, because I can. Mainly because every review out there sees the 4x4 in action off road, and I'm a fan of doing things another way.
Author: Chris Wall
A slightly tattooed motoring fanatic, photography nut and avid collector of knowledge. Use the search bar to navigate through the archives.