The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is the true successor of the Maruti Gypsy in more ways than one, taking its appeal to a much wider audience. It gets 5-doors, the full All Grip Pro 4×4 hardware, enough space for your luggage and seats four adults easily. But it’s not a vehicle you would look at if you are only going to do the urban commute and never venture off tarmac. That’s almost an insult to the vehicle’s capabilities.
I recently got to drive the Maruti Suzuki Jimny across varied off-road terrain – rocks, river crossings, sandy trails and hills, to thoroughly understand what this vehicle is capable enough. Having had a Maruti Suzuki Gypsy MG410 back in the day, which I have extensively driven off-road, the Jimny retains the legendary off-road capability, but adds a lot of creature comforts and much, much better handling and ride quality.
Watch Video | Maruti Suzuki Jimny 5-door Review:
TLDR: A summary
If you are the type of person who loves to explore the wilderness, get off the beaten path, loves the outdoors and needs a simple, robust and reliable vehicle to take you places, do put the Jimny on your shopping list. If you want an SUV to just get to work and back, the mall, do fast highway drives between cities, then look at other offerings.
Now, I’m going to slot this review into frequently asked questions I have been getting about the Jimny.
Why pick a Maruti Suzuki Jimny?
The Maruti Suzuki Jimny has been built to a purpose. It is for those who need a robust four-wheel drive system, high ground clearance, low overhangs, and being compact and light enough to go beyond tarmac. It can tackle slush, water crossings, snowed out paths, or desert sands with aplomb. The four-wheel drive system has a low ratio that multiplies available torque 2.65 times. Couple that with the Jimny’s light 1210 Kg kerb weight and it can climb hillsides like a mountain goat!
Also Read: Upcoming SUVs under Rs 10 lakh in India: Hyundai Exter to Maruti Jimny
Given that it’s just 1645 mm wide, it can fit into narrow spaces easily, something you would appreciate on mountain trails. The approach angle of 36 degrees, breakover of 24 degrees (despite the long 2590 mm wheelbase) and 47-degree departure angle with 210 mm of ground clearance allow it to pussyfoot over rocks with ease. It has a simple ladder frame chassis, with the body bolted on, and gets rigid axles at the front and rear with three-link suspension and coil springs. What this means is that it has great off-road capability and robust ride quality over broken tarmac. The steering is electrically-assisted, but it has a certain heaviness to it, which makes for precise handling off-road, but not so much fun doing three-point turns in a mall basement.
Give me a few reasons not to pick a Jimny?
The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is compact and can seat only four adults. The 219-litre boot is enough for just weekend luggage, unless only two people are going camping, in which case folding the rear seats can accommodate a lot of camping equipment. While the front two seats are plush, the rear is the economy row, where passengers won’t get much – no bottle holders in the doors, no rear AC vents, no armrest, no charging socket, just two seats! Also, the 1.5-litre four-cylinder K15B petrol engine paired with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, has been tuned to offer more torque at lower speeds, better suited for off-roading or hilly conditions than fast highway drives, where you will find the motor revving unnecessarily high if you want to try expressway speeds. Plus, the boxy design isn’t a friend when it comes to aerodynamics.
How is the build quality of the Maruti Suzuki Jimny?
In one word, it feels “tough”. The flat panels and sheet metal feel robust enough. This version hasn’t got a crash-test rating yet, but the global three-door version has got a three-star rating. The Jimny has the same boxy styling that is iconic of this design and is attractive especially in bright colours like yellow and red. It gets unpainted bumpers so that off-road scuff marks won’t bother it. The LED headlamps get headlight washers just in case you’ve waded through some slush. The 15-inch alloy wheels come with rather skinny highway-biased 195/80 R15 tyres, yet they were more than ready to take on off-road conditions, yet they don’t look great aesthetically. Enthusiasts may look for all-terrain tread patterns in this size or one upsize.
The USP of the five-door Jimny is the easy access to the rear seats. It has adequate legroom and headroom for four adults and the flat-panel doors feel solid. Yet, it has some old-school details like flap-type door handles and a retro-looking dashboard, with a lot of black plastic, reminiscent of the Gypsy’s dashboard (including an integrated grab handle).
The Jimny comes standard with six airbags and seat-belt alarms for all seats (meeting upcoming regulations), but it doesn’t have weight sensors in the rear seats, so if the seat belt is unbuckled even if there is no passenger, the alarm will get triggered!
How does it feel to drive?
The 1.5-litre K15B four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine is a familiar unit. It has powered the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Ertiga in India. It is a typical Suzuki, rev-happy unit that has a sporty tone to it. Yet, it is quite refined in the Jimny and you don’t hear it intrude into the cabin during normal driving. This engine puts out 103.39 bhp of power at 6000 rpm and 134.2 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm in the Jimny, primarily powering the rear-wheels in a longitudinal layout, while pushing power to all four wheels through a two-speed transfer case when needed.
The manual gear shift is a bit notchy with a fairly long throw to the lever – that’s an area of improvement needed. The gearing is biased towards providing more torque instantly, but runs out of top-end speed. Where it excels is in off-road driving.
Follow: Express Drives on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
The four-wheel drive transfer case is operated through a level between the front seats, which can switch between 2H and 4H on the fly, and also has a low-range (4L) for the tough stuff like steep climbs, descents or rock crawling.
I drove the Jimny on trails around a riverbed near Dehradun in Uttarakhand, which had rocks, steep angles, climbs, water-wading and sandy and gravelling trails. It came through with flying colours, not once getting bogged or stuck on any of the obstacles. That’s what it was built for.
On tarmac the ride quality feels a little stiff, but it is comfortable enough. Body roll is present being a body on frame SUV that’s slightly taller than it is wider. (3985 mm length, 1645 mm width and 1720 mm height).
The Jimny is eager to pick up when revved and can dart up twisty roads with ease if you keep working the gearbox. I also got to sample the automatic also for a bit, but that was only during the off-road course, where it worked flawlessly, but I haven’t driven it on tarmac, so I’ll reserve my opinion on the four-speed automatic for another day.
What features does it get and what’s missing?
The Jimny gets all the standard creature comforts you would want: keyless entry, push-button start, hill-descent control, powered folding mirrors, power windows, headlamp washers, auto-climate control, cruise control, rear wiper and defogger and six airbags. It also gets Suzuki’s smart play infotainment system with steering audio controls, reverse camera, Android Auto and Car Play with a decent-sounding six-speaker system.
What it misses out on are a height adjustment feature for the driver’s seat, bottle holders in the doors, limited storage space, rear arm-rest, rear AC vents. Also buyers who were considering the Jimny only for city use would miss out on a two-wheel drive variant. The 4×4 system is standard (hence don’t expect it to come cheap).
How does it compare to the Mahindra Thar petrol?
The obvious comparison is with the Mahindra Thar petrol. Now, that’s where things get interesting. The Thar two-wheel drive petrol variant gets two airbags, and only three doors with no luggage space. The Jimny doesn’t offer a 4×2 at all, but it has six airbags as standard and five doors with decent luggage space. Also, it is lighter than the Thar and narrower, which means it can handle tight spaces and off-road conditions a lot more easily. In terms of fuel efficiency too, the Thar’s turbo-petrol 2-litre engine is a guzzler offering single-digit figures in real-world conditions, while the Jimny claims 16.9 kmpl under test conditions and in real-world driving I managed to see a consistent 11-12 kmpl on the display.
What is my opinion of the Jimny?
The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is the ideal adventure companion for those who love the outdoors. Don’t expect it to be a family vehicle, but buy it for those camping trips to the mountains, scaling passes in Ladakh or driving through the desert in Rajasthan. It’s a lifestyle four-wheel drive vehicle that can also double up as your everyday daily driver to work and back. It’s a capable all-rounder, with an off-road bias. It has surprisingly good ride quality for a ladder-frame SUV. It may not be quick on highway drives, but it can go beyond where the tarmac ends. Can it be your only car? Yes.
Is the Maruti Jimny a value-for-money vehicle? That question will be answered on June 7, when the prices of the Jimny will be announced. Deliveries begin the same day. The company has got over 30,000 bookings so far.
Also Read: Top 5 most affordable automatic cars in India: Alto K10 to Tata Tiago
Stay tuned to Express Drives for more updates and also, do subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest auto news and reviews.