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Suzuki Jimny

7/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Suzuki Jimny

£14,859£18,914

Owning

Running costs and reliability

Before you own a car, one ought to buy it, strictly. It’s frowned upon by the police not to. But we can’t tell you what the Jimny will cost to buy yet, because Suzuki is still in the process of working out the predicted residual values and setting its payment plans.

We’re told it will cost more than the outgoing model, which asked between £13,000 and £15,000, but beyond that, we’re waiting for an official announcement in November 2018 and the official start of sales in 2019.

At the time of writing – mid-September 2018 – Suzuki has scored over 3,000 expressions of British interest online for the new Jimny, which is over double the number it’s sold annually in the UK in the past decade. Fingers crossed that charming design is pulling the punters in, because we want this thing to succeed. Look at that face, how could you not?

Well, the safety rating might pit you off. Like Suzuki’s Ignis, the Jimny only scores three stars in the EuroNCAP crash tests. NCAP found thr driver’s airbag ‘bottomed out’ and allowed the driver’s head to impact the steering wheel, and ‘extensive deformation’ in the body structure around the doors. Head restraints were also rated weakly. 

In the UK, there’ll be a standard SZ4 grade and a top-spec SZ5. You’re looking at pictures of the latter, which is all we’ve driven so far. It gets 15-inch alloys, LED headlights, automatic climate control, touchscreen digi-radio/nav with Android and Apple smartphone mirroring and heated front seats. Suzuki says it expects SZ5 to swallow 70 per cent of sales.

We’d be tempted by the SZ4, and here’s why. It rolls on 15-inch steel rims painted black, which look ace. You still get air-con, cruise control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and fog lights thrown in. Oh, plus there’s auto headlights with high-beam assistant, Suzuki’s usual (massively over-active) lane keep assistant, and six airbags. That’s a hill of equipment.

So, what you earn with SZ5 is dubious. Chunky heater control knobs are less pretentious than auto climate control. The touchscreen is, honestly, rubbish, with a cheap Fisher-Price interface, laggy sat nav and fiddly menus. It spoils Suzuki’s Swift, ain’t great in the Vitara and it’s no more welcome here.

I mentioned earlier Suzuki only claims 35.8mpg, but our test route covered German autobahns (really, the things we do in the line of duty), sweeping A-roads and a dollop of urban looping, and we saw an estimated 42mpg, while relentlessly flogging the air-con on a sweltering day. Driven carefully, the Jimny is easily a 45mpg everyday proposition, which is just as well given it’s only got a 40-litre tank. Pity it doesn’t have a sixth gear. It’d save on fuel as well as tinnitus.

Continue: Our verdict
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