BY PETER BARNWELL
SUZUKI’S tiddler-size Jimny three-door “fourbie” has had a bumpy ride this year hit with the double whammy of production constraints and high demand that saw Suzuki Australia temporarily close the order books on automatic variants.
Earlier this year, Suzuki Australia – which distributes to every Australian state and territory bar Queensland – said it had wait times of more than six months for iconic three-door manual Jimny models, let alone the auto, making it one of the country’s most sought-after vehicles.
That’s been resolved but if you want the four-speed auto, good luck as they are super popular with a certain clientele and remain supply constrained. In September, Suzuki Australia pried 500 examples out of head office, but they have all probably gone by now.
You can take a punt and order one or perhaps wait until the arrival in January of a new five-door Jimny that likely will be available with the auto trans… and five-speed manual.
Suzuki Australia says it has reduced the massive back-order queue significantly and is gearing up for the five-door’s arrival.
The longer variant was due before the end of the year but will not be in Suzuki dealerships until January in limited numbers. It is pretty much identical underneath to the three-door with a stretched ladder chassis and longer wheelbase and with more legroom for passengers and luggage.
Power comes from the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine outputting 75kW/130Nm via a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
Drive is selectable 4WD with 2WD High and Low and High range 4WD along with front and rear coil spring suspension attached to rigid differentials providing a handy 210mm ground clearance.
The brakes are disc front and drum rear while wheel size is 15-inch in steel or alloy, model dependent. The three-door weighs just 1095kg, but the five-door will be heavier than that undoubtedly using more than the former’s 6.6 litres of unleaded into the bargain.
At this stage it is not known whether the larger model will perform any better in a crash than the three-star ANCAP rated Jimny three-door from 2018 testing indicating a 73 per cent adult occupant protection rating, an 84 per cent child occupant protection rating, a 52 per cent vulnerable road user protection score and a 50 per cent safety assist grade.
At the time of testing, ANCAP criticised the Jimny for missing the mark with structural design weakness, poor protection of cyclists and pedestrians, and the lack of effective safety aids.
The three-door Suzuki Jimny is available from $28,490 plus on-road costs, but no indicative pricing is available for the incoming five-door…. suffice to say it will cost more.
With supply constrained, Jimny sales rank it fifth in the Light SUV segment but that will likely change with the arrival of the five-door and a ready supply of all three-door models including the auto.
The Jimny is the only “real” 4WD in the Light SUV segment despite a number of AWD offerings. Proof of its off-road capability can be seen on beaches and bush tracks around the country where lesser models would fear to tread on pain of becoming bogged, stuck or broken.
This to some degree explains the boxy little Suzuki’s runaway popularity, particularly with younger buyers wishing to get off the beaten track without wanting to invest in a big, heavy and more expensive larger 4x4.