By BRENWIN NAIDU
IT is not all about size, as I learned after watching one of those famous Top Gear adventures. On this occasion, the trio were faced with the task of trekking across treacherous jungle terrain in some aged off-road mobiles. Jeremy Clarkson, known for his love of things with “power” opted for a tired-looking Range Rover, and Richard Hammond chose a Toyota Land Cruiser – two of the big names in the bundu-bashing fraternity.
But James May, usually the most sensible, cautious one of the lot – hence his nickname “Captain Slow” – went for an old, dainty Suzuki. I anticipated that this would make for entertaining television – that he would fail miserably in conquering the intense obstacles along the great trek. But I was wrong. In his little Suzuki, he managed to traverse the intense beaten track with the same ease as his co-hosts, in their larger machines.
An adventure like this must have certainly given Suzuki’s small off-roaders an extra heap of credibility. South African viewers of the programme might have been particularly convinced – since there’s a strong culture of off-road driving for recreational purposes here. The Suzuki Jimny would seem to appeal to those who want an off-road tool that isn’t as large and cumbersome, or as expensive as those typical 4×4 offerings from the likes of Land Rover and Toyota.
The Jimny, in my opinion, is a cute-looking car. It isn’t as bold as its bigger sister, the Vitara, but its compact dimensions and boxy shape make it likable nontheless. It’s got all the aesthetic kit you would want, to convey the image that you’re a serious off-roader to your fellow road users: roof rails, fog-lamps and a spare wheel on the rear.
Under the bonnet is a 1.3-litre engine, producing 63-kilowatts and 110 Newton-metres of torque. This is paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. The Jimny isn’t much of a heavy-weight, tipping the scales with a kerb mass of 1 070 kilograms. According to the press release It will manage the 0-100 km/h dash in 14,1 seconds.
Inside, one gets air-conditioning, power steering, central locking and electric windows. There are also cupholders for front and rear passengers. In terms of safety, the Jimny is equipped with front airbags and ABS.
One can consider the Suzuki Jimny to be an exclusive offering – there are not many micro off-roaders on the market. Back in the day, there were products like the RAV4 – but that’s evolved into something more premium. Products like the Daihatsu Terios or Chery Tiggo could be more suited to beinng stacked against the Jimny.