Suzuki Jimny
(1998 - 2019)

  • Incredible off-road ability
  • Immense amounts of character and personality
  • Tough build quality and great reliability
  • Affordable repair costs
  • Interesting on-road driving experience
  • Not very safe
  • Not very practical
  • Not all that fuel efficient
Overview

Where most iconic off-roaders attempt to beat the scenery into submission, the pint-sized Suzuki Jimny/Sierra tackles all in its path by almost skipping over the top, imitating a mountain goat to get to places many larger off-roader could only dream about.

However, this incredible off-road ability tends to compromise the Jimny’s on-road dynamics, not to mention a near adverse attitude to safety, practicality, technology and creature comforts.

The third-generation Jimny/Sierra received several upgrades during its lifecycle, most notably in 2000, receiving a new 1328cc engine. Then receiving interior and mechanical changes including Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and the traditional lever-shift for the two-speed transfer case replaced with a push-button set-up in 2005. A facelift in 2012 added a more angular grille, front bumper and the addition of a bonnet scoop while new 15-inch alloy wheels, revised interior treatments and the addition of ESC came in 2014.

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What goes wrong
  • Death wobble can generally be remedied with a caster correction by fitting eccentric bushes on the lower control arms
  • Swivel housing bearings can be worn
  • If used off-road, make sure to check drive and CV joints, wheel bearings, engine mounts, rear and front axle components. The alternator is also prone to damage
  • We know of reports of fuel pump issues on earlier models
  • Oil leaks can occur but at this age and mileage, this is to be somewhat expected
  • Vehicle electronics can be problematic especially if used off-road
  • Higher-kilometre Jimnys can have a tendency to develop a leak in their vacuum system for front wheel hub caps. This will directly affect the operation of 4WD transmission
  • Due to Jimny’s relatively poorly designed steering knuckle assembly, there is a tendency for water, mud, dust and grit to enter the steering knuckles and then get into the king pin bearings
  • Some petrol Jimnys made in the mid-to-late 2000s have a gearbox model “R72” which can be prone to fail prematurely with the main cause of failure being the bearings inside the gearbox
  • Rust can occur around the suspension carriers, the various factory welding points on the chassis and on the axles as well, check the boot floor and below the rear seats, check inside the wheel arches, try to get in behind the plastic body cladding and check behind the front driving lamps
  • Any aftermarket accessories must be of the highest quality and need to be fitted to a professional level
model range, pricing and features

JX (1998 - 2012)

  • Price when new: $16,950 - $17,990
  • Price used: $8,000 - $20,000

The base model, no frills Suzuki Jimny is a fantastic platform to build an off-roading weapon.

Standard features:

  • Manual only
  • Waterproof keys
  • Manual windows
  • Air conditioning
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Cloth trim
  • Radio cassette
  • CD Player
  • 2-speaker stereo
  • Part-time four-wheel drive, with dual-range gearing
  • 15-inch Alloy wheels (optional)
  • Driver and passenger airbags (from 2000)
  • ABS (from 2005)

JLX (1998 - 2007)

  • Price when new: $18,750 - $22,290
  • Price used: $9,500 - $21,000

Mechanically identical to the JX, the JLX brings with it a few extra creature comforts.

JLX adds:

  • Power steering
  • Power mirrors
  • Power windows
  • Remote central locking
  • Available in auto or manual
  • Engine immobilizer
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Roof rails
  • 15-inch alloy wheels (from 2002)
  • Carpeted cabin floor (from 2005)
  • Metallic paint (Sport)
  • Cruise control (optional from 2005)

Sierra (2008 - 2018)

  • Price when new: $18,990 - $23,990
  • Price used: $12,000 - $30,000

By 2013, Suzuki eventually refined the Jimny range to just the Sierra variant (excluding a handful of aesthetic special additions).

The Sierra is our sweet spot of the Jimny range however, make sure any examples you’re looking at have a full and thorough service history, check it for signs of abuse and poor repair work and have a licensed mechanic give it pre-purchase inspection.

Sierra adds:

  • 12-volt power socket
  • Electronic traction control (TC) (from 2014)
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) (from 2014)
Should you buy it?

The Jimny isn’t all that practical, it’s not very safe, it’s quite thirsty for petrol considering its diminutive size and it is quite compromised when driving on any kind of sealed surface or the open road. It can also suffer from a number of mechanical gremlins.

Therefore, if you’re in the market for an efficient, practical, safe small car and have no real desire to go exploring the scenery, no, you should not buy a Suzuki Jimny.

However, there is nothing quite like a Jimny.

As long as you’re aware that buying a Jimny is actually entering into a relationship more than just buying a car, and you require a vehicle that will offer the ability to explore the wilderness and facilitate near endless experiences, yes you should buy one.

The only other car that can do what a Jimny can do is just a different Jimny.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3-year/100,000kms

Servicing:

6-months/10,000km

Tech specs

Body style:

  • 3-door SUV

Engine & outputs:

  • 1.3-litre, 16-valve EFI SOHC Petrol “G Series” (1998 -2000)
  • 1.3-litre, 16-valve EFI DOHC Petrol “M Series” (2000 -2018)

Power:

  • 59kW (1998 – 2000)
  • 60kW (2000 – 2005)
  • 62.5kW (2005 – 2018)

Torque:

  • 104Nm (1998 -2000)
  • 110Nm (2000 – 2018)

Transmissions:

  • 5-speed manual with a separate 4×4 transfer box (1998 -2000)
  • 4-speed automatic with a separate 4×4 transfer box (2000 – 2018)
  • 5-speed manual with a separate 4×4 transfer box (2000 -2018)

Fuel use:

  • 7.3 – 7.8L/100kms (combined)

Dimensions:

  • Height: 1705mm
  • Length: 3675mm
  • Width: 1600mm
  • Kerb weight: 1060kg
Disclaimer

Information correct as of August 13, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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