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Suzuki Jimny


Suzuki Ignis

Summary

Suzuki Jimny

When Sylvester Stallone started making more Rocky sequels a decade and a half after the shark-jumping Rocky V, nobody was really surprised. I mean, he was yet to match the Police Academy franchise, and it’s hard not to love watching him run up those steps.

But when Suzuki whipped the covers off an all-new Jimny last year, I was shocked and amazed, and stoked.

Somehow, they’d managed to convince the beancounters to allow the development of a ladder chassis and solid axles at both ends combo that’s universally accepted as the perfect formula for a proper off-roader. It represents a double whammy by pairing it with cute-but-tough looks and just the right level of retro touches.

Perhaps it was because they’d save all their pennies during the previous model’s full two-decade lifespan? The other point to remember is that Suzuki was recently crowned the world’s most profitable car manufacturer

Yes, new tiny SUVs are popping up everywhere from all sorts of brands, but most are heavily city focused and don’t even have all-wheel drive, let alone a low-range transfer case, solid axles and off-road clearance that’ll make proper Hummers take notice.

The new Jimny does, which will ultimately limit its appeal among urban baby SUV set, but loyal fans of the past half-century of legendary Suzuki baby off roaders are still rejoicing. The little Zook is back!

Its on-paper charisma is such that it’s the only new car reveal that’s caused the entire CarsGuide editorial team to gather around one monitor to gawk at the initial pics. Forget the mid-engined exotics, Suzuki has trumped them all with a little funbox that you can get for about the price of a new Corolla!

Perhaps it could convert a few CX-3 buyers? The new Jimny finally arrives in Australian showrooms this weekend, but we’ve already put it through its paces in Melbourne to see if it lives up to the hype.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.3L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating4 seats

Suzuki Ignis

You're right, the Suzuki Ignis has been sold in Australia before... between 2000 and 2008, to be exact. Interesting story – the first ever Holden Cruze was a redesigned Ignis, done in just 12 weeks in Melbourne, before it was given to the Yanks as a Chevrolet.

Anyway, I digress... the new generation of Ignis is very similar to the old one in concept and design; it's a lightweight, high-sided, small SUV five-door hatchback powered by a small engine driving the front wheels.

Even though it's by far the lightest, and one of the smallest in the category, the Japanese-built Ignis is classed as a small SUV, and competes against the likes of the bigger Mazda CX-3 and Mitsubishi ASX.

It's sold in two grades - the entry level GL, and the top-spec GLX - with a single 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine spec and the choice of a manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the GL. The GLX is CVT only. Pricing kicks off at a keen $16,990 before on-road costs.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency4.7L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Suzuki Jimny8/10

The new Jimny seems to have everything going for it in its intended function as a nimble off roader, and didn’t disappoint me at all.

I look forward to seeing its true colours as an around-town conveyance, but you simply can't expect it to play the role of city hatchback any better than it does. 

The new Jimny has a loveable character that’s rarely seen in new cars these days, and the fact that it looks simply adorable is a pretty cool bonus.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided. 

Will you be queuing up for a new Jimny? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Suzuki Ignis7/10

With striking looks that appeal to an incredibly wide array of people, honest simplicity, and comfort and functionality to back it up, Suzuki is on a winner with the little Ignis.

Lack of a digital speedo, a shortish warranty and frequent service requirements play against it, but it's still a worthy alternative in the small SUV category.

The Ignis is much more than a sum of its parts, and it's a terrific car for the cut and thrust of urban warfare.

The sweet spot of the range is probably the most expensive one, the GLX. With more flexible seating and better specs, the GLX adds enough to the overall experience to make it worth the extra coin.

Is the Suzuki Ignis hot... or not? Let us know in the comments below.

Design

Suzuki Jimny9/10

Even though it’s an all-new body (hardtop-only for now), the new Jimny somehow manages to look older than the ancient (but still adorable) car it replaces. 

Gone are the subtle curves and flush surfaces, in favour of straight lines and a chiselled overall appearance. The side and rear views are clear nods to the SJ Sierra of the ‘80s and ‘90s, while the nose carries references to all three previous generations. 

All glass bar the windscreen is dead flat, and even the windscreen’s curve is only slight. In 2019!

Unlike every other retro-styled model we can think of (unless you include the ND MX-5), the Jimny manages to retain its diminutive proportions. In fact, it’s 30mm shorter than the model it replaces, but does grow 45mm wider and 20mm taller.

Take note Mini, but the key reason for the Jimny’s discipline is that the 660cc version available in Japan (with shorter bumpers and no wheel arch extensions) is designed to fit within the size-governed Kei class. Thank you Kei class.  For the record, the Australian Jimny’s key dimensions are 3645mm long, 1645mm wide, 1725mm tall, on a wheelbase of just 2250mm.

Unlike every other small SUV in production today, the new Jimny retains a properly rugged ladder chassis with solid axles at either end suspended by coil springs, and a dual range transfer case. It’s the same layout as with the last Jimny, but a new and improved design that’s 1.5 times stronger torsionally than before and exactly what you want for proper off roading, even if it’ll be somewhat compromised around town.

The body has expanded use of zinc coating for rust resistance, and is now mounted to the chassis in eight places. 

The suspension design is still three-link front and rear, but the axle housings have been strengthened.

The front disc brakes retain the classic top-mounted caliper design, but we were surprised to see that drums are the still the order of business at the rear.

Despite this strengthening and swathe of extra features, kerb weight is still just 1075kg for the manual and just 15kg more for the auto. The lightest Mazda CX-3 is a full 118kg heavier, and doesn’t have a second diff, transfer case or ladder chassis. 

Both versions of the Jimny have a GVM of just 1435kg though, so you’ll want to travel light with four passengers aboard. If you all weigh 90kg, you’ll have to be nude with no luggage. 

Other important measures include an extra 10mm of ground clearance to now total 210mm, while other clearance figures are improved to 37 degrees on approach, 28 degrees of ramp-over and a full 49 degrees on departure.

Suzuki doesn’t quote a maximum wading depth, so best stick to the tyre height rule of thumb, which in the standard Jimny’s case is around 200mm.

The interior is just as carefully crafted as the exterior, with little retro details like the gauge font and surround, plus the big Jesus handle for the passenger looking very familiar to anyone who’s lived with an SJ Sierra or Holden Drover (as I have). 

The materials are also scratch and dirt resistant, but still comfortable to the touch and seem like really good quality.


Suzuki Ignis7/10

The exterior design of the Ignis is one of its key selling points. Suzuki can't be accused of having a corporate design language; every one of its cars is completely different to the others.

The 3700mm long Ignis uses a riot of straight lines, a wacky grille and headlight treatment and bulbous wheel arches in combination with minimalist overhangs and a bit of extra ride height to stand out from the crowd.

The GL uses a regular halogen headlight, while the GLX gets overtly styled LED headlights to further set it apart.

Interior photos show a similar theme, with clever use of colours and textures to play down the impact of swathes of hard plastics throughout the cabin.

Body-coloured pieces including the centre console and door handle grips combine with white plastic to lift the interior feel. It looks like someone who loves cars had a hand in designing the Ignis, and that's a great thing.

Practicality

Suzuki Jimny8/10

Also familiar to anyone who’s driven any of the previous three generations will be the driving position. 

The close proximity of the windscreen base, dash and upright steering wheel is pure Zook, and the latter is unfortunately still not reach adjustable although it does tilt.

Based on a quick askaround at the Jimny’s launch, the dimensions in the front are still comfortable for those over six foot (I’m just 172cm or 5”6) in the front. 

The back seat is still really only for occasional use and limited to two positions, but is more comfortable than ever and it's also pretty easy to access via the sliding front seats and the front doors. As with the previous generation, the rear windows are fixed.

There’s two cupholders in the centre console but no bottle holders like we’re accustomed to seeing in the doors. A single USB and 12V power point pass muster up the front, but there’s also a handy second 12V point in the cargo area.

Ultimately, you can only expect to fit so much into such a tiny car. And that's not much behind the back seats when they’re up, with just 85-litres VDA of boot space on offer and the back seat headrests almost touching the tailgate glass. 

Still, that’s enough for a couple of small backpacks, and the 50:50 split-fold expands this to 377-litres VDA (53 litres more than before) to the base of the windows, or a full 830-litres VDA when loaded to the roof. That should be heaps of room for camping gear for the two remaining passengers, but I’d strongly recommend fitting a cargo barrier if you plan to use all the space.

Returning after being absent from the previous generation (which used roof rails) is the full perimeter roof gutter, which is ideal for fitting a roof rack.

One baby Suzuki 4x4 trademark that’s as useful as ever is the full-size spare wheel mounted to the tailgate. It’s always accessible regardless of how much of a load you’re carrying and will allow you to continue on your way at full speed and capability. In the new Jimny’s case, it looks like the designers have been careful to allow a much larger tyre to fit back there if you choose to upgrade to chunkier all-terrain tyres.


Suzuki Ignis7/10

So, how many seats does a Suzuki Ignis have? Five in the GL and four in the GLX.

While its external dimensions are relatively small for the category, the Ignis really opens up on the inside. There is plenty of room for four people aboard thanks to clever packaging and a high roofline, while a fifth passenger can be crammed into the middle of the (60/40 split fold) second row of the GL.

The GLX offers only two second-row seats but adds a clever system that allows the two seats to slide fore and aft separately as well as to recline. Seat comfort is good in both cars, and rear head, toe and knee room is impressive for such a small hatch.

Because there's no centre console bin for the front, there are no vents for the rear, nor are there USB chargers. There is a pair of ISOFIX baby seat mounts, though, and a single USB port up front.

A clear dash readout does miss out on a digital speedo. There are two cup holders side by side in front of the gear shifter, along with a sizeable mobile phone pocket beneath the air con controls. A third cup holder is provided for rear seaters to share, and there are bottle holders in each of the four doors.

It's worth mentioning its extra ground clearance – it sits 180mm above the ground – plus wide door apertures and minimal overhangs front and rear. It's easy to hop in and out of and an absolute pleasure to park.

Price and features

Suzuki Jimny9/10

The surprises continue with the specs and pricing, with arguably every modern must-have you wouldn’t expect it to have on the list. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Check. Auto emergency braking? Check. It’s even got climate control air conditioning, GPS navigation system, a reversing camera and ISOFIX child seat mounts so your babies can be mounted securely during adventures.

There’s only one trim level for the Australian Jimny range, and other highlights include a multimedia screen that measures a useful seven inches, leather steering wheel, LED headlights with auto high beams, tinted windows,15-inch alloy wheels and the requisite keyless entry, Bluetooth, cruise control and power front side windows and mirrors. It’s worth noting that the sound system only has two speakers though.

Suzuki has kept Australian pricing under wraps until just now, and we’re pleased to tell you the manual version arrives with an RRP of $23,990 (before on-road costs), and the automatic version rounds off the price list for the usual $2000 more at $25,990.

Yes, these are $3000 more than the previous model when it bowed out last year, but the new one is a two-decade newer design and packs so many comforts and conveniences it missed out on before. 

One less than ideal surprise though is the $500 surcharge for any colour other than white. This is despite all Jimny colours aside from the blue and beige being non-metallic, but not that hard to justify if you’re after the Kinetic Yellow hero colour. Other options include Brisk Blue Metallic, Chiffon Ivory Metallic (beige), Jungle Green, and Medium Grey.
 
The yellow, blue and beige are also available with the roof coated in Bluish Black Pearl for a net option price of $1250.

If you’re teetering on giving in to temptation, Suzuki tells us Australian Jimny allocation will be limited to just 1100 units in 2019, 320 of which were already pre-ordered before launch. Suzuki Australia boss Michael Pochota warns that he can imagine a waiting list of up to a year in the near future, similar to what’s already the case in several overseas markets.


Suzuki Ignis7/10

So, how much is a Suzuki Ignis? The GL and GLX are pretty closely related, running the same 1.2-litre, 66kW four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels.

Pricing-wise, the GL kicks the range off at $16,990 plus on-road costs in six-speed manual form, while another $1000 scores you a CVT.

The GLX only comes in CVT guise, and at a price of $19,990 RRP before on-roads.

While the vibrant colour palette of the Ignis is one of its strong points, the price also goes up accordingly. Metallic colours like orange, grey, blue and red are $500 extra, while adding a black roof will set you back $500.

If you want to mix things up with a bit of colour, optional internal pieces will set you back $630.

Specs are pretty basic in the GL, with 15-inch steel wheels, halogen lights, electric windows and mirrors, an analog-dial air conditioning system and a small tablet-style touchscreen multimedia system the highlights of a pretty short list.

Lights and wipers are manual, for example, and there are few other toys like digital radio or even a CD player. The standard speakers are fine, and the GLX gains a pair of tweeters over the four standard items.

The multimedia system is a good one, though, offering Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, sat nav, Bluetooth streaming and phone connectivity and radio functions. A single USB port and 12V socket are also included.

The GLX adds automatic headlights, digital-style air con (but not dual zone climate control), 16-inch alloy rims and upgraded seats throughout, along with LED headlights. It gets nothing fancy like park assist or a sunroof.

Engine & trans

Suzuki Jimny8/10

The new Jimny’s drivetrain specifications may seem a bit ‘meh’ at first sight, with no turbo or more than five ratios in the manual and four in the auto

But when you’re delicately teetering between rock ledges, simple controls are best. 

The K15B 1.5-litre petrol engine is a new design with twin cams and variable valve timing, and is effectively a 1.5-litre non-turbo version of the 1.4 motor we currently see in the S-Cross and Swift Sport

Engine specs and size are a step up from the 1.3-litre M13A engine from the model prior, and outputs are improved by 12.5kW (yep) and 20Nm to now total 75kW and 130Nm. The former is reached at 6000rpm, while the latter is at a reasonable for a non-turbo 4000rpm.

The five-speed manual gearbox is a rare sight these days, but when the going gets rough, it’s really convenient to simply find reverse on the diagonally opposite gate tio first, without having to lift or push the stick like you do with most six-speeders. We didn’t get to try the Jimny at highway speeds though, so it may not be perfect for all circumstances. 

Likewise with the torque converter four-speed automatic transmission, which is even rarer than a five-speed manual in 2019. It could prove a compromise on the highway. 

The new Jimny retains selectable 4x4, but the new system has been branded ALLGRIP PRO. You can now shift between 2H (4x2), 4H (4x4) and 4L (4x4 low range) with just the transfer case lever, eliminating the dash buttons used to engage the front differential in the past. 

ALLGRIP PRO includes a brake-based traction control system which can direct power to each corner as needed.


Suzuki Ignis8/10

The Ignis ships with a naturally aspirated 1.2 litre engine with specifications of 66kW of power at a high 6000rpm and 120Nm of torque at 4400rpm, matched to a six-speed manual or a CVT driving the front wheels.

The 16-valve unit features dual injectors on each piston with a higher compression ratio and a timing chain to provide rev-happy performance. It's not a high horsepower unit but it gets the job done.

The CVT offers a 'Low Range' option, which seems to do little other than rev the engine to no great affect, as well as a 'Sport' button that again just lets the engine rev higher.

The only drivetrain on offer in Australia is a front-wheel drive, even though all-wheel drive is offered in overseas markets, along with a diesel and petrol/electric hybrid.

Of note; Suzuki do not offer any stats on towing for the Ignis.

Fuel consumption

Suzuki Jimny8/10

Official combined fuel consumption figures are a reasonable 6.4L/100km for the manual and 6.9L/100km for the auto (15.63 or 14.49km/L), but bear in mind this is based on using cheaper Regular 91RON unleaded petrol. These official figures tend to be more realistic with non-turbocharged engines also.

The fuel tank capacity may only be 40 litres, but the above figures suggest a theoretical range of around 579-625km depending on transmission. 


Suzuki Ignis7/10

Against a claimed average of 4.9 litres per 100km for the CVT equipped versions of the Ignis, we recorded a dash indicated fuel economy figure of 5.4L/100km in the GL and 6.4 in the GLX.

The fuel consumption of the manual is rated at 4.7L/100km. The Ignis has a relatively small 32-litre fuel tank capacity and can use 91RON petrol.

Driving

Suzuki Jimny8/10

If you're looking at the Jimny and you don't have any plan to take it off-road, you’re missing the point. 

Aside from its skinny and relatively smooth 195-section highway-terrain standard tyres (rather than off-road tyres), this car has been optimised for slow-speed obstacle climbing, with no concessions for comfort or highway dynamics. 

So don’t expect it to handle or ride like a Swift. And it doesn’t, with even our very brief road drive reminding me of the fore/aft pitch that’s inherent with such a tall body and short wheelbase. 

The same applies with bodyroll, as the suspension tune is clearly tailored for off-road articulation rather than high-speed stability. 

It is clear that the new model is so much more refined than the Jimny it replaces, but as you’d expect with a solid front axle, the steering does lack feel. 

We didn’t expect the 75kW engine to feel spritely, but it certainly offers enough performance to keep up with traffic, and is probably a useful demerit point protection measure.

We’ll wait for a longer road drive to judge the new Jimny properly, but make sure you also do before committing to buy. You might find the drive experience characterful rather than compromised, and I have a feeling I could put up with it. Particularly given it only makes its strengths stronger.

Enough of the everyday driver warning message. All of Suzuki’s prescribed drive route at the launch was off road at the Melbourne 4×4 Training and Proving Ground. 

This facility has everything you need to put a vehicle through its paces, but I don’t feel the chosen activities truly demonstrated the Jimny’s nimbleness and outright rock-hopping capability.

It’s clear the fundamentals are in place though, and it’s a lot of fun tossing around such a little machine off road.

The suspension has impressive compliance for such a light vehicle, and the gearing seems to match the engine very well during low range driving.

The thick steering wheel is wrapped in grippy soft leather, which makes it nice to hang onto through the rough stuff. 

But probably most surprisingly for such a light, cheap car, the body didn’t creak or rattle all day long. This little jigger is very well screwed together.


Suzuki Ignis8/10

Thanks to its lack of mass – it weighs just 865kg at the kerb, and the manual is 45kg lighter again - the Ignis is a surprisingly fun little car to drive, though its 0-100 km/h performance figures won't worry anyone.

It's lively and easy to handle, it steers perfectly adequately and turns and stops with confidence. The whine and flare of the CVT are more prominent when you start to drive the car, as well as an odd notchy feeling when it's cold, but it becomes less intrusive the more you drive it.

The ride in particular is a real standout. Most small cars have a brittle, sharp edged ride as a result of essentially smaller suspension packaging; there's just not enough travel to give the car any sort of comfortable ride.

The higher profile 15-inch tyres on the GL also iron out the bumps a little bit better than the 16s on the GLX, but the smaller tyres don't feel as nice or work as well as the larger items.

There's a bit of tyre roar on rougher tarmac but it all but disappears again when the going smooths out. For a small car that weighs less than 900kg, though, its ability to filter out noise is excellent.

Safety

Suzuki Jimny7/10

Don’t get too carried away with the new Jimny’s surprise inclusion of AEB, lane departure warning, weaving alert, ISOFIX child seat mounts or its suite of six airbags that include curtain airbags that extend to cover the back seats. 

Both EuroNCAP and ANCAP (based on 2018 criteria) have both landed the new Jimny with a three star safety rating, with the two stars being lost mainly due to a lack of occupant protection in a collision, rather than any lack of features. 

Like the new Wrangler, it's pretty hard to build a car that's properly rugged and ultra safe at the same time, particularly when you’re trying to protect normal sized humans within a tiny body like the Jimny’s. You do need to consider this fact before signing on the dotted line. 


Suzuki Ignis6/10

The Ignis hasn't yet been rated by ANCAP, but it only scored three out of five stars in Euro NCAP testing, thanks to a lack of standard driver aids like AEB and lane departure warning.

No electronic safety features are offered on Australian-spec cars, either, even though there is an optional safety pack available in overseas markets.

Standard safety gear runs to six airbags - including curtain bags and thorax bags for front row occupants - EBD, ABS and hill-hold assist.

Ownership

Suzuki Jimny7/10

Like all Suzukis, the new Jimny is covered by a five-year, 140,000km warranty, which pretty much aligns with the new standard for mainstream automotive brands. Suzuki's five year term is conditional upon following the service shedule with authorised Suzuki dealers though, with a three year, 100,000km plan applying otherwise. 

Service intervals are still a brief six months or 10,000km also, but capped price servicing is offered for the duration of the warranty

This totals a reasonable service cost of $2452 over the first 10 services or 100,000km, which is $298 cheaper than the model it replaces. 

Those six month intervals are half the industry norm, but this potential inconvenience and cost is offset by the fact that Suzuki’s warranty now includes roadside servicing for the full five years - up from three.

Like all Suzukis, we wouldn't expect much in the way of reliability issues or common faults, but if anything does crop up in the long term, you'll likely find it on our problems page


Suzuki Ignis6/10

Suzuki offers a standard three-year/100,000km warranty on the Ignis, which lags behind offers from rivals like Kia of up to seven years and unlimited kilometres.

Servicing is recommended at 10,000km or six-month intervals, which is again shorter than intervals suggested by competitors like Mazda and Toyota. A five-year capped price service program means service costs of $2207 in total.

When it comes to clutch problems or a transmission problem, the new Ignis has yet to show fault. It's too early in the car's life to see any problems, complaints, issues or common faults arise.