Maruti Suzuki Jimny 5-door - Does it make sense for India? | The Financial Express

Maruti Suzuki Jimny 5-door – Does it make sense for India?

Maruti Suzuki Jimny India launch – will it make sense? Can Jimny take over the throne that the Mahindra Thar enjoys right now? Is it practical? Here’s all you need to know.

maruti suzuki jimny auto expo
3-door Jimny showcased at 2020 Auto Expo

The ‘Maruti Suzuki Jimny India launch’ has been spoken about numerous times over the last few years, but India never got the SUV. The closest India got to the Jimny was at the 2020 Auto Expo when it was showcased, and now, after a few test mules were seen and Maruti Suzuki preparing to showcase the 5-door version of the Jimny at the upcoming Expo, enthusiasts are on the edge of their seats expecting a launch.

If Maruti Suzuki really launches the Jimny in India, will it make sense? Where will the vehicle fit in, and how will Maruti Suzuki position the Jimny in its lineup?

The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is based on a ladder frame chassis unlike any other Maruti Suzuki models sold in India, as they all have a monocoque chassis. Compared to the 3-door version, the 5-door version is longer to make space for rear doors and will also have a longer wheelbase, ~300mm more than the 3-door version.

Although longer, the overall design remains the same — a boxy SUV with flared wheel arches, an upright front grille with round headlights, and rectangular tail lamps at the rear. The Jimny features alloy wheels and the lower-spec variants could get steel wheels, depending on the variants planned for India. The rear door holds the spare wheel while its side hinges swing the door to the right to open.

The interior is ‘to the point’. There is a touchscreen infotainment system and below it are the air vents, while most controls are manual, they either get a knob or buttons. The instrument cluster is old school with analogue dials for the speedometer and tachometer. There is a small digital display between them to read out other vehicle-related data, but nothing too fancy. The steering wheel gets buttons for the infotainment system and cruise control settings, however, we will have to see if these options make it to the India-spec version.

At the heart of the Jimny is a familiar 1.5-litre petrol engine seen in the Ertiga, Ciaz, and the latest Brezza. Maruti Suzuki could offer the mild hybrid system, but the Toyota-sourced self-charging hybrid is ruled out, at least for the time being. The engine makes 102bhp and 137Nm of torque with a manual gearbox. Maruti Suzuki could offer the new six-speed AT as an option.

The Jimny’s party piece is the 4X4 system, however, it’s not clear if the SUV will get a low-transfer case or the All-Grip system seen on the Grand Vitara, although the former is what enthusiasts are looking forward to. This will put the Jimny right in the middle of the Mahindra Thar and the Force Gurkha, both proper off-roaders at this price point.

Given its simple design and Maruti’s capability of competitive pricing, the Jimny could become the most-popular SUV in the segment. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is more than capable of munching long miles while being fuel-efficient, while the unmatched service network means it’s easy to maintain. Also, with limited features, Maruti could undercut the Thar and the Gurkha in terms of pricing.

Practicality is another aspect to look out for. The Thar is limited with space for passengers and luggage, while the Gurkha offers better balance to carry four occupants and stuff in the boot. The Jimny will up this factor with two more doors and a boot, making it a more practical vehicle when compared, however, Mahindra is also readying a 5-door version of the Thar set to launch soon.

With prices estimated to start at around Rs 8 lakh onwards (ex-showroom), the Jimny will be sold through the Nexa outlets, alongside the new crossover based on the Baleno, which will make its debut at the Auto Expo.

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First published on: 04-01-2023 at 12:07 IST