Suzuki has been making compact 4x4s for many a year. Initially badged as SJ models, 1998 saw the third-generation model put in an appearance, along with the introduction of the Jimny name. Production continued up until a few years ago and they remain a familiar sight on our roads, especially in rural areas.
Some 42,000 cars have been registered in the UK and it’s a safe bet to assume that most are still in service today. Japanese reliability is still hard to beat.
Power comes from a 1,300cc 4-cylinder motor and what it makes up for in terms of power, its eager nature encourages frequent trips to the red line. The Jimny runs in rear-wheel drive, but a simple stubby lever allows the selection of drive to the front wheels when the going gets tough. In extremis, there is also the ability to select low range.
We have driven them off-road on many occasions and they are a veritable hoot to drive, shaming the abilities of much more expensive 4x4s. Light weight and brilliant traction are the key here.
Power steering and a tight turning circle make the Jimny very manoeuvrable, whilst the ride and handling are somewhat old school. Slow and steady is the order of the day.