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SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR

Barely ten months after its international unveiling at Auto Expo India, the highly anticipated five-door Suzuki Jimny is finally a reality on local roads. Last month, we headed across the Botswana border with Suzuki to experience the bigger Jimny in its natural habitat.

For over 50 years, the Suzuki Jimny has fascinated its fans and frustrated its frenemies with its indomitable spirit, go-anywhere attitude, and loveable character. From the rudimentary first-generation to the latest, fifth-generation global sales phenomenon, the Jimny has grown exponentially in standing and, at last, also in stature, with two extra doors, more load space, and a heck of a lot of attitude.

To launch the newly expanded Jimny, Suzuki headed off to Botswana, where we had the opportunity to sample the Jimny 5-Door in a variety of conditions, including both on- and off the road (where the three-door Jimny is already an undisputed star).

WHAT’S NEW, ZOOK?

When Suzuki unveiled the Jimny 5-Door at Auto Expo India in January this year, the Japanese automaker clarified that the additional doors wouldn’t compromise the Jimny’s winning formula. 

Instead, by adding 340 mm to its overall length, Suzuki engineers have added loads more versatility, making it possible for up to four passengers to join in the Jimny fun. To achieve this, the Jimny 5-Door is 340 mm longer than its three-door sibling, with more legroom in the rear and a significant bump in load capacity from 85 litres to 211 litres with the rear seats in use, and from 830 litres to 1,113 litres with the rear seats and passenger seat folded down. Incidentally, the folding front seat is unique to the five-door Jimny.

The increased overall length also means a longer wheelbase (by 340 mm to 2,590 mm), which improves the little tyke’s on-road stability without compromising its off-road ability by any significant margin. Approach, breakover, and departure angles are a mere one-, four-, and two-degrees dearer, respectively.

The other vital statistics remained very close to those of the three-door model. This includes a width of 1,645 mm and a height of 1,720 mm. 

All South African versions of the five-door Jimny boast a 50:50 split rear bench, an additional power socket in the luggage compartment, and a height-adjustable multi-functional steering wheel.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…

Suzuki hasn’t fiddled with the Jimny’s interior much, either. As in the three-door model, the Jimny 5-Door has a 7” infotainment screen on the GL model, and a 9” system on the range-topping GLX. For passenger comfort all models have electric windows, while the GLX boasts automatic climate control and the GL a standard air-conditioning system.

On the safety front, all models get Electronic Stability Program (ESP), ABS brakes, side-impact beams in all doors and three-point seatbelts for all four seats. Both rear seats are equipped with ISOFIX child-seat anchors. GL models are fitted with two airbags, while the five-door GLX boasts a range-first six airbags.

DEPENDABLE POWER

Although the longer Jimny is 110 kg heavier than its three-door stablemate, Suzuki has kept its trusty 1.5-litre four-cylinder mill in place, with the GL Jimny available with five-speed manual gearing and the GLX with either manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.

Despite the slight increase in weight, the new Jimny showed almost no change in performance during our near-600 km launch drive across various terrains. Its 75 kW of power and 300 Nm of torque is more than enough to maintain a comfortable 110 km/h on the road between Polokwane and the Platjan border post with Botswana, and to make light work of the sandy off-road conditions that made up most of our journey through the Thule region and back to South Africa via the Pontdrift border post.

Credit must also go to the Jimny’s tried-and-tested AllGrip Pro off-road system, which includes a transfer gearbox with 2H, 4H, and 4L modes. A slight upgrade from the standard AllGrip system fitted to other Jimnys, AllGrip Pro amplifies the capabilities of the four-wheel-drive system with electronic assistance, such as selective braking on wheels with no traction that emulates a traditional differential lock.

All five-door models further have Hill Descent Control, Hill Assist and Brake Assistance as standard.

UNIQUE VISUAL SIGNATURE

The Jimny’s longer rump provides a perfect canvas for a new set of colour options unique to the five-door. Two-tone options include Chiffon Ivory Metallic, Kinetic Yellow, and Sizzling Red Metallic (new) with a pearlescent blue-black roof, while single-colour choices include Celestial Blue Pearl Metallic (new), Arctic White Pearl, Silky Silver Metallic, Bluish Black Pearl, Granite Grey Metallic (new), and Jungle Green.

Five-door Jimny models can also be differentiated from other Jimnys by the addition of metallic grill surrounds.

LAST WORD

Although Suzuki has taken great care to keep the longer Jimny looking, well, just like a Jimny, the extended design is unmistakably unique. South Africa’s love affair with the Jimny will undoubtedly continue to grow, and we won’t be surprised if five-door sales soon outstrip those of the three-door as more South Africans clamber to introduce their families to the joy of Jimny.

SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOORENGINEPOWER 
(kW @ r/min)
TORQUE 
(Nm @ r/min)
TOP SPEED
(km/h)
0-100 KM/H
(seconds)
FUEL 
(l/100 km)
PRICE
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GL AllGrip 5-door manualIn-line 4-cyl; 1,462 cc75 @ 6,000130 @ 4,000155N/A6.3R429,900
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GLX AllGrip 5-door manualIn-line 4-cyl; 1,462 cc75 @ 6,000130 @ 4,000155N/A6.3R457,900
Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GLX AllGrip 5-door autoIn-line 4-cyl; 1,462 cc75 @ 6,000130 @ 4,000140N/A6.3R479,900

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © SUZUKI AUTO SOUTH AFRICA

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