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Suzuki Jimny 2019 - Terrible or game-changer 4x4 of the year?

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Fed up with little SUVs that talk the talk but can't walk the walk? Here's one you'll like, Suzuki's Jimny, an ultra-compact 4x4 with genuine character. You get a proper ladder-framed chassis and proper off road ability. Just don't expect it to be cultured on-tarmac. Background New Jimnys don't come around very often. The version prior to this fourth generation one was on sale for two decades, which is why perhaps this model line has such a cult following. It's one of those utilitarian SUV icons - like the Land Rover Defender, the Jeep Wrangler and the Mercedes G-Wagen. And, just as those cars have in recent times been painstakingly updated in a way that retains their essential character, Suzuki has laboured long and hard to ensure that this MK4 Jimny model line continues to be true to the values it was originally born to serve. Driving Experience Let's get this straight: if you've no intention of ever going off road, don't bother with this Suzuki. You'll hate it within the first half mile. The low speed ride crashes over bumps and the tall, slab-sided shape rolls its way through the bends. To be fair, this version is better in this regard than the previous one but that's not saying much. On the plus side, there's only 1,135kg of mass to roll about and the steering does give some sort of idea as to what's going on beneath you. Power comes from a 1.5-litre normally aspirated petrol unit offering 109bhp and a top speed of just 90mph. Off road of course, things are very different. It's no exaggeration to say that this little car can get to places that larger, pricier more sophisticated SUVs couldn't think about. Light weight will do that for you. Suzuki's mission statement with this model line - to make 'the one-and-only, small, lightweight four-wheel-drive vehicle' - remains credible thanks to the engineering that lies beneath that bodywork. You're offered 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with a low mode. And you get a ladder frame chassis, three-link rigid axle coil spring suspension and four-wheel drive. To it has been added fresh tech such as hill hold and descent control, brake support and various driver assistance systems, all of it intended to make the car even more capable than before. Design and Build Appropriately, the Jimny has been designed more for the mud than the metropolis. Flared wheel arches, bulky side panels and that spare wheel on the tailgate give it a purposeful look intended to reflect a 'rugged personality'. Longstanding Jimny design cues like round headlights and independent indicators are carried forward and the front grille will be familiar to previous buyers too. It's 45mm wider and 20mm higher than its predecessor, but actually 30mm shorter. Inevitably, those compact dimensions mean that space is at something of a premium inside. The footwells are tight for instance and the driver and front seat passenger will need to be on friendly terms. There are only a couple of seats in the back and there's not much legroom for those confined there. If you do have rear seat passengers, you'll have just 85-litres of boot storage space - yes, you read that right; folding the rear bench increases that figure to a mere 377-litres. Mind you, that's 53-litres more than the previous generation model could offer. The dashboard's pretty functional and black plastic predominates around the cabin. The seats are comfortable but not really intended for overly long trips. ► https://www.facebook.com/OSVLtd/ ► https://twitter.com/osvmotoringnews

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