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Suzuki Jimny SUV (1998-2018) - Engines, drive & performance

The Suzuki Jimny has an underpowered engine and the car is very slow as a result

Carbuyer Rating

2.1 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

1.0 out of 5

The Suzuki Jimny is actually Suzuki's slowest car, which is enough reason to look past it and consider any other rival if your driving is mostly on-road. There's also loads of body lean when driving through corners and the Jimny's grip is limited, which doesn't inspire confidence.

The Jimny's saving grace is that it's highly capable off-road, where its four-wheel drive and low-ratio gearbox mean it can leave SUVs costing twice as much struggling in its wake. It doesn’t have any special electronic systems or driving aids to help it, either – it’s just an old-fashioned 4x4 that’s tough and able to tackle most things you throw at it.

Suzuki Jimny petrol engines

You can only get the one petrol engine with the Jimny – a 1.3-litre – and there’s no diesel option at all. The petrol produces 84bhp and, in all honesty, the Jimny is a very slow car. The manual version will cover 0-62mph in 14.1 seconds and the automatic takes an even longer 17.2 seconds. Neither version can crack 90mph flat-out – the manual’s top speed is 87mph and the automatic’s is 84mph.

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How fast a car can go is rarely high up on the priority list for most buyers, but such slow acceleration really rules the Jimny out for anyone who spends much time on A-roads and motorways. It’s bearable at lower speeds around town, but the little engine needs revving so much that it really isn’t suitable for faster roads. It’s also very loud and unrefined.

The automatic gearbox doesn’t really make things more relaxing as it should do. Poor performance means you have to really floor it to get the car to go anywhere, which can be quite frustrating. At least with the manual you have more control and can hang onto gears for longer when you need to get the speed up.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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