Suzuki Jimny

The Essentials

  • Price from £11,995
  • What Car? says: 1 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 39.8mpg
  • What is it? A relic from a bygone era, but the Jimny is at least cheap and good off road

Great

  • Handles off-roading well
  • Cheap to buy
  • There's a decent driving position

Gripes

  • Driving on the road is as bumpy as driving off it
  • People in the backseat will need to travel with their legs in the boot
  • Expensive to run
  • Drive

    Has yet to exactly understand what roads are, and how to behave while on them. But good off them

  • Inside

    Claustrophobia-inducing interior, but dials and buttons are well placed and visibility is good

  • Safety

    You would have expected better safety features than this on a new car 10 years ago

  • Reliability

    Not very much to go wrong

  • Space

    We've looked hard, but we've not spotted much

  • Standard and extras

    Nothing unfair about these considering the price

  • What's it like to drive?

    Unfortunately, the Suzuki Jimny's ride will make you think you've gone off the road when you're still on it. The body roll is nausea-inducing, and the barrage of noise at high speeds will drown out any semblance of a conversation with your passenger. However, if you live in a place without roads then the Jimny will get you through the rough stuff. But changing cars after leaving the muck would be a sensible move.
    Updated over the years, the Jimny's 1.3-litre petrol engine now gives 84bhp, but it's still slow. The manual version takes over 14 seconds to reach 60mph and the auto more than 17 seconds; top speed is just 87mph (84mph auto). Mind you, given the Jimny's top-heavy feel and poor grip, you wouldn't want to go any faster.

  • What's it like inside?

    Perhaps surprisingly, given that the driver's seat has no height adjustment and you can't move the steering wheel, the driving position isn't all that bad. However, drivers over six feet tall may find legroom a bit tight. The simple dash has the necessary information clearly displayed, while all of the controls are easy to reach
    There's reasonable head- and legroom in the front, although the narrow cabin means the front passengers are practically rubbing shoulders. Those in the rear get a poor deal, too: legroom is tight and the seat bases are too thin. The short overhangs - which help the Jimny off-road mean there is next to no boot space - although the rear seats split and fold to boost load capacity.

  • How reliable is it?

    Having a separate chassis means the Jimny has been constructed with serious off-road use in mind. It can cope with this with no problem, while the engine and transmission should give no trouble. There aren't many electronic gadgets to go wrong, either.
    Safety is pretty appalling by modern standards, though. There are front airbags only, and no traction or stability control - crucial aids in a small but tall, high-riding vehicle with a high centre of gravity. The Jimny hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but with such limited safety equipment it won't protect you well if you crash it.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Jimny is pretty cheap to buy, so if you're after an occasional off-roader it's worth considering. If you're looking for everyday road transport, though, look elsewhere.