The legendary Mercedes Geländewagen is celebrating its 40th birthday in 2019. And Suzuki brought the perfect anniversary present to the party: a Mini G.
Dieter Losskarn fell in love with the boxy heartiness of the shrunken G.
Photos: Irina Mink & Dieter Losskarn
Rear view parking camera, lane departure assist and dynamic ride control are some of the features the new fourth generation Suzuki Jimny doesn’t have. They are not necessary. The Jimny is an old-school off roader in a cool, trendy package, a lifestyle vehicle with genuine off-road abilities. Proofing that cheap and small can be cool.
When a G wagen and a Smart car are going off to have some unprotected fun, a Jimny will be the most likely outcome of those actions. In pictures it looks so much bigger than in reality. Honey, who shrunk the G? While the previous model was very feminine, the new Jimny is not. The resemblance to the legendary Mercedes Geländewagen, better known as the ‘G’, added enormously to its popularity. And several Japanese tuners developed stunning body kits to intensify the Mini G feel of the Jimny.
But how much off-road really is in the Jimny? Well, first of all you’ve got no electronic switches for four-wheel drive and low range. Instead there is a good old shifter underneath the gear lever. The vehicle has a sturdy ladder frame chassis, nevertheless weighing just 1.3 tons. From rear-wheel drive you can switch to 4x4 at speeds of up to 60km/h. To manually engage low range you have to stop though. The mini G features hill hold assist as well as hill descend control. The short overhangs are even better than those of the legendary Jeep Wrangler.
Something I had to check out for myself. The closest place to do so is the Helderberg 4x4 trail. And I can tell you, the Jimny fared awesomely. Even on the most difficult and deeply rutted red routes. Some places I could barely reach on foot, it was so steep and slippery. The little one just crawled up in low range.
Its been more than 20 years since the new Jimny’s predecessor was introduced.
The tiny off-roader was first launched in 1970, then still called the LJ. In 1982 the Mark II took over, followed by the Mark III in 1998. Since then 3 million Jimnys were sold worldwide.
The new one pays homage to the old ones, with those heritage round head lights, albeit LED-lit, and the grille resembling a Mark III. Still typical after all those decades is the full-size spare wheel on the tailgate. Despite the classic feel, inside it’s modern-contemporary, featuring for instance a 7inch touch screen.
With the new Jimny Suzuki totally avoided the cross-over softie route of the 4x4 competition. And as one can see this will to be different pays of big time. Suzuki is struggling to satisfy the worldwide Jimny demand. So you better order one now.
Engine 1.5-l. 4 cyl., paired with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto box
Power 75kW and 130Nm
Top Speed 145 km/h (not electronically limited)
Price from R299 900