Suzuki Jimny review 2020

Find out more about the Suzuki Jimny in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Stand-out styling that’s hard not to love
  • Properly capable off-road
  • Should hold its value well for the time being


  • Not very practical
  • Only one engine and two trim levels to choose from
  • Won’t be cheap to run due to the four-wheel-drive system
Model review

The original Suzuki Jimny began production in 1970 and was the Japanese manufacturer’s first global success. It was a compact, lightweight, rugged off roader powered by a small 360cc motor. Back then, it was dubbed the LJ10 – or Light Jeep 10 –  and this cute little compact car tipped the scales at just 600kg. It even featured just three seats, with the area you’d expect to find a fourth seat housing a spare wheel.  


In 1972, Suzuki introduced the LJ20 – an updated version of the earlier LJ10 that had a redesigned grille and a new, more powerful engine. Following that was the LJ50 in 1975, adding extra power again courtesy of a 550cc engine among other revisions and improvements. Then in 1977, the LJ80 was launched, now available with a four-stroke engine for the first time. 


The second-generation ‘SJ410’ Jimny arrived in 1981 and represented a shift from being a solely practical 4x4 to more of a lifestyle vehicle as well. And three years later it became known as the Samurai, with its 1.3-litre engine – at the time Suzuki’s largest motor – leaping onto the scene.  


For 1998, Suzuki gave us the full third-generation of its dinky off-roader — marking the return of the Jimny name. Considerably more modern than its predecessor, the new Jimny focused on being great around town, while retaining the cracking off-road ability that made it so popular. Since its initial release, the third-generation model received many updates over its impressive 20-year lifespan including a new front bumper, grille and fog lights for 2013, as well as new colours, a new seat fabric and a revised instrument cluster for 2015. 

Current model

In 2018, the current, all-new Jimny began production and became an instant hit once again. The small proportions, boxy shape and rugged nature of car seemingly roped in car buyers. With quirky, small SUVs being all the rave these days, it’s no wonder that the new Jimny was able to pick up gain such an appeal so quickly – not to mention the cult following the car already had.  


The model’s been thoroughly brought up to date, which was needed considering the previous one had been around for 20 years. Both on the inside and outside it, the tiny SUV looks in-line with other new Suzuki cars – though it still has a nice touch of retro about it.   


Driving the Jimny proves to be a bit of a mixed bag. On road, the car is acceptable to live with, if not a little unrefined, but it’s off-road where the car really shines. No matter the terrain, this little terrier of a 4x4 seems to just plough on. Taking the Jimny off the beaten track is really quite something to behold. 

Value for money

New Suzuki Jimny models start at £15,999, which is an appealing pricepointNow, the baby 4x4 doesn’t really have any direct rivals, so going off some rugged compact crossovers, such as the £17,580 Seat Arona and £16,815 Kia Stonic, it’s quite a bit cheaper. In fact, the Jimny’s starting price is somewhat in line with some city cars, but with the Suzuki you’re getting a tough 4x4 – a small one, but a purpose-built off-roader, nonetheless. 


On the used market, you can find plenty of early 00s examples starting at around £1,500 – for one in good condition with under 80,000 miles-on-the-clock. However, prices for the current Jimny are a whole other story.  


As mentioned before, the new car has been a massive hit. Due to that, and the fact that there’s quite an extensive waiting list and the moment, used Jimnys are selling for as much as £23,500 at the time of writing. 

Looks and image

There’s no doubt that the new Jimny turns heads for all the right reasons. It’s funky, boxy shape and Jeep-like silhouette give it a muscular, rugged appearance. But then there’s the fact that it’s so small, meaning its sort of cute at the same time. 

Video review

Space and practicality

The Jimny, despite technically being an SUV, is still very small, so naturally it’s not particularly practical. First of all, it’s a strict four-seater, and the rear seats aren’t the most spacious. Tall passengers will most definitely struggle for legroom, although thanks to the car’s boxy shape, headroom shouldn’t be much of problem. 


Boot space with the rear seats is extremely tight at just 83 litres. That’s significantly less than even some small city cars, such as the Smart ForTwo and its 260-litre boot. Fortunately, the Jimny’s boot does earn some points back for having a large opening, making loading items easy, and a nice load area with the rear seats folder down.  



There’s just one engine option with the Jimny, and it’s a 1.5-litre petrol producing a modest 100bhp and 130Nm of torque. This is good for a 0-60mph time of around 12 seconds, meaning the little Suzuki isn’t exactly the fastest car in the world – but then again, it’s not supposed to be. For what it is, we think the Jimny has ample performance, although we would like some extra, possible more potent powertrain choices.  


The 1.5-litre naturally aspirated motor can be mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission meaning at least there is some choice there.  

Running costs

Due to the Jimny’s small engine and lightweight constriction, you’d think running costs are among the best in class. However, while they aren’t terrible, this tiny off-roader won’t be as cheap to run as you might assume due to model’s four-wheel-drive system. Fuel consumption is said to be between 32.1 to 35.8mpg depending on the spec, with CO2 emissions ranging from 145g/km to 158g/km. That’s the trade-off of being such a capable off-roader, unfortunately. 

Things to look out for

In terms of reliability, Jimny owners seem relatively happy with their cars. Being an off-roader, it’s been built tough and is noticeably well screwed together – this goes for the current one and most previous models as well.  


Suzuki as a brand seems to be a tad unpredictable when it comes to the driver survey’s, with the Japanese manufacturer being ranked fairly low previously. Although, as of this being written, Suzuki has quite a good reputation, with a reasonably low number of people reporting faults within the first year of owning their new car.  



As stated before, there’s really nothing quite like the Jimny – what you’ll be looking at instead will be compact crossovers like the Seat Arona, Kia Stonic and Renault captur, to name a few. Most of these rivals though, will be slightly bigger, more expensive and definitely not as off-road ready. But they’re still valid options if crossing fields and climbing mountains aren’t priorities when it comes to a rugged compact car.  



Due to the surge in popularity the 4x4 experienced with the 2018 arrival of the new one, all Jimny models, old or new, should hold their value well at the moment. And buyers of brand-new ones who’ve already got theirs seemingly can sell it for a profit on the used market, so that’s an option. Really, it’s quite remarkable that a little Suzuki could become this desirable that residual values are similar to that of much more premium machines. 

Trims explained

As of this being written, there are just two trim levels to choose from – SZ4 and SZ5.


SZ4 is the entry-level trim. It comes with things like lane departure warning, hill hold control, DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth integrated audio unit and 15-inch steel wheels.

Priced from £15,999.


SZ5 gets heated front seats, smartphone linkage display audio, satnav, dual camera brake support rear privacy glass and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Priced from £18,499.


  1. The Suzuki Jimny is a loveable compact 4x4
  2. It’s been around since 1970 and the previous generation began production in 1998
  3. The current model arrived in 2018
  4. It features a cute yet tough appearance
  5. New Jimnys start at £15,999, making it a bit of a bargain
  6. Used one’s can be had for as little as £1,500, however, current generation examples are going for more than what Suzuki sell new models for due to immense popularity
  7. All Jimnys should hold their value well at the moment for the reason just stated
  8. There’s just one engine and two trim levels to choose from
  9. Restricted cabin and boot space mean it’s not very practical
  10. High running costs for a small SUV as a result of the four-wheel-drive system

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