Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

5-door configuration gives Suzuki Jimny much-needed practicality

More rear legroom, easy access and bigger boot make little SUV more suited for daily life.

Quirky. Robust. Cute. Rugged. Boxy. Tenacious. You can call the Suzuki Jimny whatever you want, its unique allure has earned worldwide popularity few other car badges can rival.

But while the little off-road focussed SUV that’s name is short for “Jeep mini” has nothing left to prove, there was always one area that limited its potential: practicality.

After the first two generations only offered seating for two, a longer wheelbase featuring on the next two generations meant that the Suzuki Jimny finally got rear seats. But the downside was that it still only had three doors and offered limited boot space behind the second row. Anyone with a family will know that this is a very impractical combination for daily life.

5-door Suzuki Jimny arrives

Suzuki last year finally answered the prayers of many by introducing 5-door versions to the Jimny. After experiencing the new addition on an epic adventure to Botswana late year, The Citizen Motoring received a long term 5-door Jimny on test this month. And while we have a few adventures lined up for it, it is how it copes with normal everyday life that we’re keen to see. That is where most Jimnys will spend their days.

Our tester is the R457 900 top spec GLX AllGrip derivative with five-speed manual transmission and is clad in dual-tone paintwork which combines Sizzling Red Metallic with a Bluish Black Pearl roof. This colour works a charm together with the 17-inch grey alloy wheels, 5-door specific chrome grille and projector-type LED headlights which features washers along with fog lamps.

ALSO READ: Sized-up Suzuki Jimny 5-Door still capable but now also practical

Suzuki JImny 5-door
Similar to 3-door versions, the 5-door Suzuki Jimny has a barn-door tailgate with exterior spare wheel. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Power comes from Suzuki’s tried and trusted naturally aspirated 1.5-litre KB14B engine that produces 75kW of power and 130Nm of torque. The twist is sent to the rear or all four wheels courtesy of the AllGrip four-wheel-drive system.

Old school cool

The transfer case gear lever, which can be shifted from 2H to 4H at speeds of up to 100km/h, gives the Jimny some real old school charm. It carries a type of mechanical assurance akin to an old Land Rover Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series that simply can’t be matched by more modern electrical systems.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Five-door Suzuki Jimny makes landfall in South Africa

At 3 985mm, the Suzuki Jimny 5-door is 360mm longer than its 3-door sibling, with the wheelbase increasing by 340mm to 2 590mm. Height (1 720mm), width (1 645mm) and ground clearance (210mm) stays the same, with the weight up 105kg to 1 200kg.

To accommodate the extra weight, Suzuki tweaked the suspension and front brakes and also revised the chassis.

Bigger boot, more legroom

The extra length means a significant improvement from legroom in the rear, with boot space going up from the tiny 85 litres in the 3-door to 211 litres. While four passengers will still struggle to fit holiday luggage in there, it is adequate for things like school and sports bags and maybe even a large dog. With the rear seats folded forward, cargo space goes up to 1 113 litres.

Suzuki Jimny 5-door seats
Legroom in the rear is enough to keep adults happy. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Despite the decent leg- and headroom in the rear, the 5-door is far from perfect. It lacks rear vents, rear door storage space and rear USB ports. On the flipside, it does offer two cup holders in the centre console, which must be shared with front passengers, and pockets at the back of the front seats.

In the front, the Suzuki Jimny 5-door features a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Being a GLX, it also features cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, dual zone climate control and revised TFT display in the instrument cluster.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Tank 300 fits in between Suzuki Jimny and Jeep Wrangler

5-door Suzuki Jimny out on the road

On the safety front, the 5-door GLX has ABS with EBD, six airbags, rear parking sensors and reverse camera.

Out on the road, many more adjectives can be found describing the Jimny. The clutch is easy to operate and short gear ratios mean a lot of rowing around town.

While it’s size should make it easy to manoeuvre in theory, tight turns do require strong input on the steering wheel.

Also do not expect to break any land speed records on the open road. With the revs well over at 3 500rpm and with lots of wind noise around, the Jimny isn’t the kind of car you want to push to far past 100km/h.

Suzuki Jimny 5-door cabin
The cabin of the Suzuki Jimny 5-door GLX manual. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Suzuki Jimny 5-Door model will add to its iconic appeal

Fuel economy

Fuel consumption over the first 1 000km we put on our longer termer came in at 7.1 litres per 100 km, not too far off Suzuki’s claim of 6.3L/100km.

One 200km round trip between Johannesburg and Sasolburg returned a number of 6.8L/100km. Not bad at all considering that we had four adults in the car which took resulted in some high revving at times to get in reach of the national limit.

But despite the Jimny being thin on creature comforts, the four adults on this trip, and two young teenagers on daily school runs have had nothing to complain about.

The Suzuki Jimny GLX AllGrip 5-door manual comes standard with a four-year/60 000km service plan and five-year/200 000km warranty.

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