Well, I don't know who "they" are, but they obviously weren't talking about the all-new Suzuki Jimny or myself. Ok, sure, it's a car, not exactly an idol, but still. Everyone and his dog knows that I have an unnatural love for the Suzuki Jimny, and as a result, every single leaked image, video and spec sheet of the new one that's been shared on social media has seen my name tagged in it at some point or another. Even if I tried to pretend an all-new version wasn't on the way, I'd have to be living under a rock with Vodacom-like signal in the middle of Tweebuffelsmeteenskootdoodgeskietfontein. So yeah, over the last year I've seen it all, I know a fair amount about the new Jimny, all that was left was to see the retro-styled 4x4 in the metal. Queue the media day at the latest instalment of the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami.
The awesome folk at Suzuki SA extended an invite to a pre-launch reveal of the car at FOM, the first time outside of Asia, and there's not much that would have kept me away. Actually, even if I didn't manage to crack an invite, I may or may not own some wire cutters and I may or may not know a dark corner of Kyalami where the surveillance cameras can't see short people... It wasn't long before the covers were pulled off two brand spanking new Jimnys and Suzuki's Charl Grobler gave a full history of the game-changing 4x4. In 50 years this model has just entered it's 4th generation, unlike some cars that have a new incarnation every 18 months, basically because when you have a perfect recipe from the get-go, there's no need to fix what ain't broke. Charl's intro wasn't too long, but it felt like HOURS, I just wanted touch one of the two models on display. Why? Because over the years there have been a few cars I was looking forward to seeing after following all information from inception to release and when I eventually managed to see them up close, it was more of a case of 'meh' than 'whoa'. This all-new Jimny was 110% WHOA. Seriously, every angle, feature, surface, line and accessory was better than any pics could show. Yeah, you know I'm a little (a lot) biased here, but judging from everyone else's reactions, I wasn't alone.
This all-new Suzuki Jimny is all that and a bag of chips. It's much bigger, yet it's not. This automaker has a talent for making small spaces appear larger than they are, and so while all dimensions have grown a little over the outgoing model, the available space is much better. The retro design of the Jimny is great, and with the way the world is loving old new things, this little 4x4 is going to be an international best-seller, I'll bet anything on that. Like with the new Vitara, the Suzuki designers have incorporated design cues from the previous generations. So that angular design harks back to the very first generation LJ and second generation SJ; the round headlights with seperated round orange indicators come from the first generation LJ10, the side bonnet slits, angular windscreen and steel wheels are taken from the second generation SJ and the clamshell bonnet and upright grille come from the 3rd generation Jimny. There's a few more things too, but will leave that for the launch (fingers and toes crossed for that one).
There will be two versions available in SA, a lower-spec GA and higher-spec GLX, both of which have a full-sized spare wheel, ABS brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, dual front airbags, the AllGrip Pro® 4x4 system with low range and a brake LSD traction control system with limited slip differential. AllGrip Pro® allows the driver to comfortably switch between 4x2 (front-wheel drive), 4x4 high and 4x4 low range via a secondary gear lever. The all-new Jimny gets an all-new powerplant too. It's up in capacity to 1500cc from 1300cc with the new K15B motor in play, and so power is now at 75kW and 130Nm. This engine is 15% lighter than the old one, and with a few other tweaks it uses over 14% less fuel than both the manual and automatic versions of its predecessor. As with outgoing model, there's a choice of a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual transmission, spec-dependant. The GA-spec is aimed at the guys who will be doing serious 4x4, so some of the luxuries have been removed, like the touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels and there's no auto option, among a few other things. Indicative pricing guestimates that by the time it hits showrooms in November, this version will cost around R265 000. The GLX-spec has a chunky leather-covered multi-function steering wheel, electric windows, colour-coded door handles and mirrors, 15-inch alloy wheels, LED projector headlamps, remote keyless access, central locking, front fogs, cruise control and a 50:50 split rear bench with two headrests. For the first time ever in SA, the new Suzuki Jimny features a 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, something I hope will filter to the rest of the Suzuki range. This GLX can be had in manual or auto and should hopefully retail at an estimated R300 000 and R320 000 respectively.
This is usually the part where I say something like "it's expensive, but if you take a close look at everything, it's worth it" because I think I need to help justify a price that should really be lower. In this case though, the all-new 4th generation Suzuki Jimny is a bargain and worth every cent. There's plenty more details to list, especially with interior spec and features, but I'm leaving that for a more in-depth review at a later stage or you'll have no reason to read that upcoming post. While I know you expect some fanboi ramblings from me, I can tell you that others I know are as impressed as I am and they're not die-hard Suzuki fans. To replace the outgoing Jimny, the new version needed to be absolutely brilliant in every way, and that's definitely the case. I'm willing to bet that within 18 months, this little 4x4 will already have cult status and will be sold in more markets than ever before. The all-new Suzuki Jimny is my favourite car ever, and I'm yet to drive it.
The Jimny Heritage Walk
The folk at Suzuki arranged some old models for display at FOM, including that first little LJ model that made the world realise that bigger isn't always better. It's the first time I've seen one in the metal, it's size is just too damn cool, I'd love me one, but they're as rare as an influencer who'll say something bad about a product. The various SJ models are also something I'd love to have in a collection one day, take a look at the small gallery below.