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Suzuki Jimny

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Suzuki Jimny


On the inside

Layout, finish and space

The Jimny’s theme of majoring on no-nonsense utilitarian hardiness with just a smattering of twee touches continues inside. You eye simple dials and a monochrome multi-function computer, but the clock faces are mounted in cool oblong pods with exposed bolt heads. Normally that’d constitute shoddy workmanship, but Suzuki’s made them an industrial feature.

So, we don’t mind that the dash is a cliff face of hard plastic. It feels solid, not brittle, and you could hang something a lot heavier than the Saturday takeaway from the passenger-side Jesus handle. The touchscreen media set-up in SZ5 models is from the Swift and Vitara. So are the climate control knobs. You could get away without having either, in an SZ4, but they’re congruously integrated, for what it’s worth.

You might find you’re short of stowage you front. The (undamped) glovebox is bijou, the door pockets are practically 2D and would be filled by a postcard, there are two small cupholders between the seats, and no sunglasses cubby in the roof. Nothing’s been allowed to eat into passenger space, which rather depends on what you’ve done with the windows. Glass raised, there’s a shortage of elbow room – not as severe as in an old Landie Defender, but pinched all the same. Drop the windows via their centrally mounted switches and with an elbow perched atop the windowsill, motoring has rarely felt more cheerful.

The manually adjustable seats are comfortable, but lack ultimate off-road support, and face a steering wheel which only adjusts for rake, not reach. This six-foot driver felt comfortable enough given time to acclimatise, but if I’d hopped straight in from a Jeep Renegade or Mazda CX-3 (as you can tell, picking a dead-on Jimny rival is tricky), then the Suzuki would’ve felt archaically awkward. Some reach adjustment at facelift time please, Suzuki.

The Jimny can seat four adults. It can also offer 377 litres of luggage space. But it cannot do these things at the same time. In fact, with the rear seat backs raised, the boot would struggle to swallow a MacBook Air. Swing the gas strut-assisted, hinged tailgate open (hinged from the right so it’s pavement-ready for the UK, Australia and Japan, but not for left-hand-drive markets) and you find that, beyond the 382mm wider loading bay, the backrests butt right up to the back window.

The two rear seats are pinched to the middle of the cabin for greater legroom and a superior view forward, and they are incredibly roomy, with enough headroom for proper adults and much more elbow room to be smug about. You can also fold the front seats near-flat and have them join the rear seat squabs as a makeshift bed. Happy camping.

Tug a simple fabric loop and they spring flat into the floor, revealing their plastic chequer plate loading surface that ought to be easy to wipe clean. That’s your lot, gimmick-wise. There’s not going to be a five-door, or a long-wheelbase. Basically, it’s a 2+2 city car, or a covered pick-up truck.

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