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Fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny arrives

This week, a new Suzuki Jimny, the fourth generation of a small 4 X 4 mini vehicle that could, in its makers words, take on rough roads and go to places that cars couldn’t go. The first generation born in 1970 was cute, a miniature Jeep to look at, that’s slowly evolved over the last 48 years. The previous generation model launched in 1998 was well outdated by last year, and just 119 found buyers. The new Suzuki Jimny arrived with much fanfare – I drove it at the Melbourne 4 x 4 training and proving ground – extremely rough with steep inclines and river crossings and it handled it well. Visually, toy like, a three-door flat-roof box that feels rugged on a ladder frame chassis – powered by a 1.5-litre 75kW engine – with five speed manual $23,990, four-speed automatic $25,990 and the one to own. With a part- time 4WD system and a low range transfer case together with great ground clearance and a good approach angle it makes short work of rough terrain, although at times its short wheelbase produces a harsh and jolty ride. And herein lies a problem as I see it for Jimny – today there’s some very capable small 4 x 4’s with far more comfort and safety. Sure it’s got numerous electronic driving aids however this week ANCAP, Australia’s independent authority on vehicle safety gave the Jimny a disappointing three star rating suggesting there were some fundamental structural weaknesses found during testing. Disappointing to say the least. I’m David Berthon.

 

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