FIRST DRIVE | 2018 Suzuki Jimny

It adds an extra dimension to the Jimny’s trail-tackling prowess, along with the ground clearance being raised to 210mm for even better approach and departure angles.

Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control are standard fare on the Jimny, which as before is built on a rigid ladder-frame chassis (now with 1.5 times more torsional rigidity) and employs rigid front and rear axles with coil spring suspension for maximum wheel articulation in offroad driving.

The AllGrip Pro part-time 4×4 system allows the driver to switch between rear-wheel drive and 4×4 high and low range, old-school style with a second gear lever.

The launch drive included some rough gravel roads in the Sappi forests and the little Jimny scampered through the bumpy stuff like a mountain goat. Its undersides stayed safely out of harm’s way with the approach angle improved from 35° to 37°, the breakover angle from 27° to 28°, and the departure angle from 46° to 49°.

It felt very sturdy on those rippled roads too, with minimal body flexing. The ride quality was surprisingly compliant and not overtly choppy for such a short wheelbase.

There’s more thrust under the bonnet with the engine size growing from 1.3l to 1.5l. The 75kW and 130Nm won’t get you anywhere in a hurry but it’s a welcome improvement especially in open-road cruising. In five-speed manual or four-speed automatic guises it cruises without the engine screaming.

The slightly larger new engine is lighter and more economical than its forerunner, leading to a claimed 14% fuel consumption improvement.

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