ROAD TEST: Suzuki Jimny Sierra
by Ken Walker
11th June, 2009
Road Tests >
Cute? Yes, it is definitely big on the cute factor and,
certainly, there is more to the Suzuki Jimny Sierra than meets the eye. We put the smallest 4x4 vehicle
in the Suzuki fleet through its pace in places that would balk some motorists. For instance, the fabled
Stockton Beach renown for sand dunes and a famous ship wreck.
Small, but large enough to carry four adult passengers at an acceptable comfort level, the diminutive
Jimny can cruise along freeways at the posted speed limits reasonably well with only an occasional down
shift of the 5 speed manual gearbox. The ride can be a little harsh and somewhat bumpy, but you have to
expect that in any vehicle with a wheelbase of just 2,250 mm and a GVM 1,420 kg. But what is sometimes a
handicap can be an advantage if you want to go beach fishing, camping at out of the way places or a
drive in the bush. In fact, you can even tow a small camper trailer up to 1,100 kg provided it is fitted
with brakes or 350 kg for an unbraked trailer. The tow ball down weight is restricted to 75 kgs. This low
capacity is, naturally, due to the size of the towing vehicle.
The Jimny is a true 4 x 4 package; it has a transfer case for high and low range, a 5 speed manual
gearbox (a 4 speed automatic transmission is an optional extra) and with a track width of 1,355 mm at
the front, 1,365 mm rear, this is a vehicle that can squeeze in almost anywhere.
We took the ‘mighty mouse’ of the 4 x 4 world onto Stockton Beach, letting the tyre pressure down to
about 12 lbs (on the old scale) and then engaged 4 wheel high range. Using high range on the sand
eliminates wheel spin and cuts out the roaring engine syndrome as would be caused by using low 5th
gear. Reducing air pressure in the tyres increases the footprint and the vehicle does not sink into the
sand and therefore reduces the environmental damage. The diminutive little “Zook” took to the sand like
a duck to water and cruised through the dunes in 3rd gear at about 30 km/h. The beach speed limit is
40 km/h. I like to enjoy the ride and I lneed to be aware of drop-overs as they can be quite nasty. A
lot of vehicles have been damaged whilst on Stockton Beach due to inattentive drivers. While cruising
along, above the high water mark, we happened upon afisherman in a white Jimny. Waves (no pun intended)
were exchanged in the sense of true camaraderie.
Motive power is supplied by a 1.3 litre engine with 4 valves per cylinder producing 62.5 kW at 6,000
rpm and maximum torque of 110 Nm arrives at 4,100 rpm. With such a small capacity engine little wonder
the fuel consumption figures quoted by Suzuki are 7.3 l/100 km (in accordance with ADR81/01). Fuel tank
capacity is 40 litres.
With a recommended price not including dealer and statutory charges of $19,990 (without options), this
is good value as it is a true 4 x 4 vehicle and very capable off road. Standard equipment includes air
conditioning, AM/FM radio and CD player, power windows, electrically adjustable external mirrors, central
door locking and keyless entry. The selection of 4WD is by a push button selector and vacuum engaged free
wheeling front hubs, which work well. Alloy wheel rims are also fitted as standard equipment, (there are
5 of them) running 205/70R15 all terrain tyres. A 4.9 metre minimum turning circle is provided with a ball
and nut steering box. Suspension is almost independent with a coil spring on each corner of the vehicle
and 3 link rigid arms. Stopping the ‘Zook’ is done by front disc brakes and rear drums and is very
efficient. Of course, ABS is standard. And having a wheel on each corner provides good approach/departure
angles for difficult terrain.
There is a lot to like about the Suzuki Jimny, there are some who look and laugh at it in supermarket
car parks, but off-road that attitude disappears where the Jimny is more at home. SRS airbags are fitted
for the front seat occupants and lap/sash belts are mounted for all seating positions. For added comfort
the windows are tinted. There are 4 cup holders, 2 in the centre console and 1 in each of the moulded
armrests in the rear. Suzuki has not, at least in the Jimny, fitted an ashtray or lighter but there is a
power socket for running 12v appliances.
Our Suzuki Jimny road test proves this 4x4 is a great little package, with a lot of fun on offer.