1 Oct 1998
The cheeky Jimny two-door 4WD wagon stepped in where the two-decades old Sierra left off. And it was comprehensively better in every way.
Performance from the 59kW/104Nm 1.3-litre single-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine – tied to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox – is sparkling around town and adequate on the highway.
Suzuki opted to carry over the theme established by the successful Sierra, with the three-door Jimny retaining the original model's proportions and ladder-frame structure.
The “Drive Action” 4x4 system is easy to use, with shifts between two-wheel drive and high-range four-wheel drive possible on the move at speeds of up to 100km/h.
Engaging low range requires the vehicle to be stationary and either in neutral or with the clutch depressed.
The dual-range four-wheel drive system enables the Jimny to cope effortlessly with sand dunes - its relatively light kerb weight also works in its favour.
The Jimny also boasted new three-link coil-spring front and rear suspension that Suzuki claimed gave the vehicle a more car-like ride.
It is 145mm longer and 55mm wider than its ancestor, but its turning circle has been reduced to 9.8m, making it more manoeuvrable around town.
Initially it was available in two trim levels, JX and JLX, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. A four- speed automatic transmission was also available.
Dual airbags arrived from September 2000, adding to the standard air-conditioning, power steering, remote central locking, electric windows and power mirrors.
At the same time the 1.3 gained slightly more power (60kW) and torque (110kW), while a soft-top also arrived. That was discontinued in mid-2003.