Back in 2019, DriveLife went to the launch of the 4th generation Suzuki Jimny and came away impressed. It seemed to be more of the same but in a much more attractive body. 

Rob then reviewed the car in 2019 and was mostly impressed, rating it 4.5 out of 5.

But the drawback for the Jimny has always been its lack of more than 3 doors. Sure, it’s a funky-looking small SUV with three doors but there are buyers out there who want 5 doors, end of story. However, Suzuki might be concerned about this; remember the original 3-door Toyota RAV and how awesome that looked? Then the 5-door came along, and that car lost its mojo.

Will it be the same for the new, made-in-India 5-door Suzuki Jimny? We headed to Queenstown for the launch of the car to find out.

SUZUKI NEW ZEALAND AND THE STATE OF THE NATION

Gary Collins, the Automotive General Manager for Suzuki opened with a few slices of information on Suzuki’s share of the market.

He suggests that government policy had a bigger impact than they expected when the Clean Car Programme was launched. Even with the Clean Car rebate/fee system gone, the Clean Car Standard that still exists means that some Suzuki’s that previously were fee-neutral are now attracting a CO2 fee. However, Suzuki is currently absorbing that fee for buyers. An example of this is the Swift GL CVT that for 2024 has a fee of $360; in 2027 that fee will be $1,957.

He suggests that the Clean Car Programme did create confusion with buyers but now with it gone, fuel efficiency will remain a strong driver for Suzuki sales.

As far as sales are concerned, 2022 was a record year for Suzuki in New Zealand with 8,500 units sold – even with supply shortages. Last year, it was down to 6929. The model mix is still showing the Swift as by far their biggest seller with over half (3,922) of all sales for that model.

In the light and compact SUV market, Suzuki still reigns supreme at 17% of market share and they are expecting the new 5-door Jimny to help them gain more market share this year. He claims that Suzuki has the most comprehensive range of models available under $30,000, and I expect he’s right. 

Gary suggests that the new Swift will be released here mid this year, and at the end of 2025 Suzuki will launch its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV).

2024 SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR: INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR

Incredibly, over 3 million Jimnys have been sold around the world since its introduction in 1970 – over 5 decades ago. Suzuki New Zealand is obviously excited about the new offering, as it should attract new buyers who really want a Jimny but need the convenience of a 5-door car. Suzuki New Zealand has already had over 1,000 register their interest in the new model.

So what’s up with the new model, other than 2 extra doors? The wheelbase has been increased by 340mm, and somehow this has translated into an extra 367mm of length in the cargo area – something that was much needed. That means cargo capacity has increased from a tiny 85 litres to a more respectable 211 litres with the rear seats up.

Legroom in the backseat area has also increased, although generally, the interior is the same as the 3-door model. A departure from this is the larger 9” infotainment system lifted from the S-Cross Hybrid. The rear seat cushions are thicker than the 3-door model – something else that was sorely needed – but the car remains a 4-seater only. One change in tech is the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although only CarPlay is available wirelessly.

Interior almost identical to the 3-door Jimny

Externally, the front and rear overhangs, as well as the approach (36 degrees) and departure angles (47 degrees), stay the same, although understandably the breakover angle has decreased to 24 degrees. Ground clearance too is the same at 210mm. The 5-door has the same 15” rims as the 3-door model, as well as retaining a full-size alloy spare. There’s a grey 5-slot grille with a chrome surround to differentiate this model from the 3-door, and rear parking sensors are now fitted.

2024 SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR: TECH SPECS

The kerb weight on the new model is 1,200kg for the manual version. For offroading, that’s a huge benefit. The automatic weighs 15kg more than the manual gearbox model.

The engine is the same 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder K15B unit as the 3-door and has identical power and torque figures, at 75kW of power and 130Nm of torque, and it uses 91-octane fuel. Fuel consumption is listed at 7.1L/100km for the manual gearbox, and 7.7 for the automatic (WLTP figures).

Like its smaller sibling, 5th gear is 1:1 so is not overdriven at all. The manual gearbox 5-door Jimny can be flat towed (if the engine is run every 200kms or so), something a lot of RV owners are looking for in a TOAD (towed vehicle). Suzuki New Zealand suggests if you want to tow an automatic Jimny, you can use a trailer or a dolly.

Braked towing on the 5-door has increased to 1,300kg, while unbraked towing remains the same at 500kg.

With the longer chassis, there is extra cross bracing in the ladder chassis to retain strength for offroad work, as well as the steering damper that is carried over from the 3-door. Front and rear suspension is effectively unchanged, so it’s still a rigid chassis with live front and rear axles. The rear suspension has had an increase in strength. The electric power steering is also carried over from the 3-door, but this is a ball-and-nut system, so good for offroad but not so much for onroad use. Today’s driving will probably highlight this. Hill Hold and Hill Descent Control are both fitted as standard to the 5-door Jimny.

2024 SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR: SAFETY SYSTEMS

For the first time in a new Suzuki sold in New Zealand, the 5-door Jimny has a dual-camera system that enables some driving and safety aids. This means lane departure warning, vehicle sway warning, front collision warning, and other safety systems are now in play. Having the dual-camera system means that the automatic version of the 5-door Jimny will be fitted with adaptive cruise control. We’ll cover all of these in our review. There are no plans to include these safety features in the 3-door model. 

The 5-door Jimny has the same 5 airbags (front, side, curtain) as the 3-door model, although the car has not been rated for ANCAP safety testing, as Suzuki is claiming the same 3-star rating from the 3-door model.

2024 SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR: COLOURS

There’s a new hero colour for the 5-door model, Sizzling Red with a black roof. The model is available in 7 colours, 3 of which are two-tone with a black roof. Granite Grey is an all-new colour.

2024 SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR: PRICING

Due to supply issues, Suzuki New Zealand is launching only with a manual version, and they suggest the auto model should be available in 3 months. Suzuki are expecting to sell around 800 of the new 5-door models and around the same number of the 3-door. 

Surprisingly, the split between existing manual/automatic sales is almost 50/50, year on year. 

2024 SUZUKI JIMNY 5-DOOR: DRIVE TIME

In a nod to the Jimny’s expected use, today we’d be driving to rugged Skippers Canyon Road. While this is no hard-out offroading experience, the road will give us some idea of the differences between the 3-door and 5-door models.

Our first drive car is an automatic, finished in the new Sizzling Red hero colour. In the flesh, thoughts of the 5-door RAV disappeared; the new 5-door Jimny looks like a stretched version of the 3-door and yet still retains some of that model’s funkiness. I like it.

Stunning views at every turn on Skippers Canyon Road

We loaded our bags into the boot and instantly there was a revelation; there is so much more room in the boot than the 3 door, it’s not funny. It’s now a far more usable space.

Piloting the automatic Jimny through Queenstown central did mean the need to use a lot of throttle to keep up with traffic. That little 1.5-litre motor has no more power than the 3-door, yet it does carry more weight. It does the job but needs prodding to move along at a reasonable pace. The steering is still a bit wallowy around town, and the driver needs to concentrate a little to keep the car in its lane. This is a drawback of a ball and nut steering system. On the plus side, the car is definitely quieter and smoother than the 3-door model; it’s far more civilised around town, in this respect. Other than the steering, the car generally sits better on the road as well and is a little less nervous. The 5-door is a big improvement in this department.

We headed up the Crown Range Road and this is another place where the automatic struggled; it hunted up and down between second and third gear, but part of this is down to the motor’s low power output. Once we got to Skipper’s Canyon Road and lower speeds, the automatic was fine, and at times perhaps preferable over the manual. We’ll try a manual gearbox model out later. 

On that rugged road, the ride is far more compliant than the 3-door. It’s noticeable and is almost smooth on some sections of the road. That ball and nut steering that is not the best on the open road comes into its own on roads like this where it is less jerky when hitting large bumps and potholes. The turning circle is not the greatest, meaning wide swings on some sections to get through in one turn.

Next up, we got into a manual model. While we were still on a ‘road’, the slow speed work meant a lot of gear changes and clutch work. I think in situations like this the automatic would be easier to drive – but overall I’d still prefer the manual.

We continued on to the end of the road to take photos. In red, green, Kinetic Yellow (the hero colour of the 3-door), or even grey, the 5-door Jimny looks good. I don’t expect any buyers would be put off by the change of design, and those like myself who were worried it would look just wrong are unjustified. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of 5-door Jimnys driving around, both in cities and offroad.

DriveLife will book a 2023 Suzuki Jimy 5-door as soon as we can, so we can spend more time behind the wheel for a full verdict.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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