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The Top Gear car review: Suzuki Jimny

£12,264£14,499
1/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Cheap, reliable

Against: 

Noisy and cramped, bouncy on-road
The Suzuki Jimny is a tiny, cheap and rival-free hardcore off-roader. Does what it does quite brilliantly. Does everything else appallingly.

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Our choice

Suzuki

1.3 VVT SZ4 3dr

£13,714
N/A
40mpg
14.10s
85bhp
162g/km

What we say: 

Still here, still surviving, that's the Jimny. It had a minor facelift in 2013: so minor, the challenge is spotting the difference...

What is it?

Plodding, that’s the best way to describe the Jimny. Looks like it was born in a bygone era, puny engine.

Driving

Read the spec sheet: beam axles at both ends, a high seating position, a short wheelbase. You can speculate on the result. A pogo stick is more satisfactory through a series of curves.

The long-travel suspension copes quite well with huge bumps, but shudders on smaller ones.

It is just possible to buy a slower-accelerating car elsewhere. Just about. But the plucky little 1.3 engine does a fair job, and certainly delivers all the performance that the chassis can handle. Useful for the occasional bit of towing, we suppose.

On the inside

Another seriously weak point. It’s noisy and cramped inside. The Jimny has superb unstoppable engineering, but a distinctly off-hand approach to fripperies like soft-feel plastics or chrome-edged dials.

With only four seats and a small cargo bay the Jimny can’t carry much but it can carry it anywhere. Oh and it does have one advantage as a town car: it’s tiny and boxy so easy to park. Which is just as well as you’ll be dying to stop and get out.

Owning

It’s so cheap it’s practically disposable, but actually it’ll last for ages and need very little care or attention. Yes there’s only a petrol engine, but this is hardly a high-mileage vehicle so fuel costs aren’t an issue.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
1.3 VVT SZ3 3dr
14.1s 162g/km 39.8 85 £12,264
The cheapest
1.3 VVT SZ3 3dr
14.1s 162g/km 39.8 85 £12,264
The greenest
1.3 VVT SZ3 3dr
14.1s 162g/km 39.8 85 £12,264

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

A used Defender is infinitely cooler, and even more capable off-road