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The new Suzuki Jimny isn’t very good at crashing
Three-star Euro NCAP rating puts a dampener on JimnyMania. Still tempted by one?
We’re fans of the new Suzuki Jimny. It’s cute, practical, and fun to drive in an ungainly, offbeat kinda way. But sophisticated it isn’t, thanks to its old-school ladderframe chassis construction and low-fi driver aids. So it doesn’t crash gracefully.
In the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests, the new Jimny only scored three stars, offering a 73 per cent adult occupant protection rating, 84 per cent for children in the rear seats, and only 52 per cent for errant pedestrians. That bluff front isn’t going to be comfortable to faceplant.
The NCAP reports doesn’t make for pleasant reading: “In the frontal offset test, there was insufficient pressure in the driver’s airbag to prevent it from ‘bottoming out’, allowing the head to contact the steering wheel.The passenger compartment was extensively deformed in the offset test, especially around the door-frame and the score for the driver’s chest was penalised for this unstable collapse. Combined with marginal dummy readings, protection for this body area was rated as weak.
“Although dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of both driver and passenger, structures in the instrument panel and dashboard were thought to pose a risk of injury to occupants of different sizes, and protection was rated as marginal.
“Tests on the front seats and head restraints showed marginal protection against whiplash injury in a rear impact. A geometric assessment of the rear seats indicated good protection. The standard-fit autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system performed well in tests of its functionality at the low speeds, typical of city driving.”
You can see the Jimny crumpling in the video above. We didn’t expect the little Suzuki to be built like a bank vault, but this performance doesn’t hold up against a Fiat Panda 4x4 – it’s more on a par with the three-star Dacia Duster.
Thing is, lots of folks will flock to an inherently unsafe vehicle if it really appeals to their lifestyle. Caterhams don’t crash well. Neither do motorbikes, or the old Land Rover Defender. Doesn’t stop people buying them and using them hard, does it? Being irrational is one of the most human traits. So we’d still like a Jimny, please. And a boot full of bubblewrap.