Plucky Revisited with the Suzuki Jimny 1.5

BY Vivek Max R

Flexin' baby!

I say revisited, but in actuality, it was my first time behind the wheel of a Jimny. Having heard a lot about this mini off-roader and having watched a few YouTube videos, I thought I knew why Jimny-owners liked it so much.


Not until that pleasantly-surprising day.

As most people would tell you, there are good reasons why one should NOT consider a Jimny, such as its price combined with relative day-to-day impracticality, but there are eleventy billion reasons why one SHOULD buy one.

In its fourth generation, the Jimny still soldiers on to this day, and the wide grin plastered on my face within a few minutes of driving away from the showroom says why it's still with us.

This is a mini off-road capable SUV that can punch well above its weight and hang with some of the best in the business. It's no wonder, then, that Mat Watson from Carwow UK bought one.

If it weren't for Singapore's insane car prices, we at Burnpavement would heartily recommend picking up a Jimny as a second vehicle that can also be daily driven, if one so chooses.

While the driving position can't really be considered commanding compared to other SUVs on the road, it is still good and the front seats are pretty comfy.

Interior accoutrements are pretty basic but easy to use, and everything that needs to be there is there. Just be warned though, that looking at the remaining balance on one's FlashPay card is next to impossible unless one scoots forward and peers at the tiny IU screen, so use your phone's NFC reader and the NETS app on iOS or Android instead.

Rear seats are.... there...ish. Don't expect to get full-size adults back there unless one is flexible like Sean, and even then, getting two adults into the back seat will be a chore. And the seatbelt warning system will scream at you if the rear occupant's seatbelt is undone when moving off.

Drop the rear seats and an okay-ish 830-litres of boot space opens up to carry one's knick knacks.

However, to critique the Jimny's lack of practicality is to completely miss the point of this mini off-roader.

After picking Sean up from the Eastern end of the island, we proceeded to Kaki Bukit because I needed a new full-face helmet. We happened to run into my biker-buddy Alex's close friend Kevin at the shop. After purchasing said helmet, Kevin came to know that we'd arrived in a Jimny and promptly got hot under the collar.

For context, Kevin rides sportbikes and gets off on the associated thrills, and yet there he was fawning over this mini off-roader. Such is the pull of the Jimny.

Which then brings us to its raison d'être.

Our photoshoot first took place on a washboard-like gravel track pockmarked by potholes. A regular SUV exiting said gravel track was travelling very slowly whilst the Jimny 'flew' past in the opposite direction at 40km/h without breaking a sweat.

We then proceeded to a grassy field for more photo-taking. While Sean was doing his clickity-click thingy, I was moseying about the field when a tree stump was perchanced upon.

"Bro! Time for some FLEXIN'!" I yelled to Sean while pointing at the tree stump. Sean's eyes lit up. The rest, as they say, is history.

This is why many refer to the Jimny as plucky. It's small. It's got a K15B 1.5-litre naturally aspirated VVT engine putting down 100hp and 130Nm of torque. All of that goes to the road via an old-school 4-speed automatic gearbox with switchable transfer case offering 2H, 4H and 4L. With 37°, 28° and 49° approach, breakover and departure angles combined with its 210mm ground clearance, this Jimny is truly deserving of a tailgate sticker that reads "you can go faster, but I can go anywhere."

On the highway, one just doesn't feel the need to go any faster than 80-90km/h, as though the Jimny subconsciously says "chillax bro... remember the (truly-deserved) tailgate sticker." Bumps and curves at highway speeds make the Jimny buck and wallow, owing to its off-road suspension and high-profile Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 195/80R15 mud- and snow-rated all-terrain tyres but nothing falls to bits, and after a little getting used to, one can be confident in this plucky little off-roader's cruising ability.

En route back to the east side of Singapore post photoshoot, we came across not one but TWO Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens. Despite these behemoths, there were absolutely no feelings of inadequacy within Sean and me. We both knew that off road, the Jimny could hang with these two giants in plucky fashion.

It even returned pretty good fuel economy. I was expecting 8-9km/litre (11.1-12.5 litres/100km) at most, but was pleasantly surprised with its 13.4km/litre (7.46-litres/100km) average at the end of the 167km test-drive. Not quite 14.4km/litre (6.7-litres/100km) that Suzuki claims, but nothing to be ashamed of either.

Kevin had the opportunity to buy a Jimny some years ago and chose to get an EG Civic instead, a decision that he regrets to this day. Again, Kevin gets his kicks on sportbikes. That's saying something, innit?

Jimny-ownership comes from the heart, not from the head. It's all about how it makes you feel. It can also be about how the Jimny makes you look, for you're sure to stand out from the crowd when arriving in a Jimny. Everywhere we went, the Jimny turned the heads of people crossing streets, and even uncles and aunties waiting at bus stops!

The wide grin on my face had widened further after the test-drive. Not to mention, it had been a hectic two weeks prior, and the associated stress had pretty much melted away during my time with the Jimny.

If you can afford it, buy it. If you got it, FLEX it!

(Photography credit: Sean Loo)

Technical Specifications

Suzuki Jimny 1.5
Engine: 1,462cc in-line 4
Power: 100hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 130Nm @ 4,000rpm
Gearbox: 4-speed automatic with switchable transfer case
Top Speed: 140km/h (claimed)
Fuel Economy: 14.4km/litre (6.7-litres/100km) (claimed)
Price: S$158,900 (Standard) / S$159,900 (Standard Two-Tone) / S$161,900 (Premium) / S$162,900 (Premium Two-Tone), all with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Suzuki Singapore