23 February 2024

Extra doors means more all-round for Jimny

| Paul Gover
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You're in for a tonne of fun with the Jimny, if you can get your hands on one.

You’re in for a tonne of fun with the Jimny XL, if you can get your hands on one. Photos: Supplied.

The best thing you can do with a Suzuki Jimny XL right now is to sell it.

That’s a joke, obviously, but the cult status of the Suzuki tiddler means a six-month waiting list – if you’re lucky – for the incoming XL. That could easily mean a tidy profit if you were prepared to sell quickly and go back to the bottom of the waiting list. But that’s unlikely for the people who have been queuing for the Jimny XL and see it as their ideal urban escape machine.

It adds a little more of everything, from highway quiet to the bottom line, in a package which looks familiar with a twist. The five-door Jimny is 340 millimetres longer than the three-door model, picks up wireless Apple CarPlay and adaptive cruise control, and is priced from $34,990. And there are the back doors, which are surprisingly fulsome and open nicely wide for access.

The bottom line on the XL is $3000 more than the three-door but there are likely to be lots of people who will pay the extra for the significantly improved rear legroom.

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But it is still only a four-seater, with relatively narrow seats in the front for well-padded Aussies.

The Jimny package is as you would expect, although the background is very different. Unlike the three-door, which is built in Japan, the five-door comes out of India. The quality is not affected, and neither is the mechanical package – 1.5-litre four-cylinder with four-speed automatic gearbox and proper four-wheel drive – which means a guaranteed success in Australia.

The Jimny can be a slow burn, and definitely if you spend a lot of time on highways, but it is a cutesy little thing with serious off-road ability. Plenty of people have taken their Jimny where a LandCruiser would struggle.

But it’s really a city-style toy car and that makes the XL a worthwhile upgrade. It has a little more safety stuff, but the bigger back seat makes a big difference. It’s easier to get friends into the back and they will be much more comfortable when they land.

There is more flexibility, too, in the carrying capacity through the side-hinged rear door.

The Jimny is not particularly brisk and the XL suffers with a full load, as the 1.5-litre engine makes a ‘modest’ 75 kW and only 130 Nm of torque. That’s acceptable with the five-speed manual gearbox but the auto, which is first choice for most people, can struggle. A lot.

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The Jimny is not a practical choice, even if it can go very seriously off-road on weekend adventures.

It’s fun, and a toy, and the XL makes just enough of a difference in the back that it’s likely to be outselling the three-door Jimny once the supply lines are full for Australia.

Suzuki Jimny XL

  • Position: Baby family four-wheel drive
  • Price: From $34,990
  • Engine: 1.5-litre petrol
  • Power: 75kW/130Nm
  • Transmission: 4-speed auto, four-wheel drive
  • Plus: Cute, fun, added cabin space
  • Minus: Underpowered, especially with a family onboard
  • THE TICK: Ticks the right boxes for Jimny fans
  • Score: 8/10

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