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Ken Walker with the Suzuki Jimny Sierra (copyright image)

ROAD TEST:   Suzuki Jimny Sierra

by Ken Walker

11th June, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Suzuki

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.

Suzuki Jimny Sierra (copyright image)

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.


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