In truth - there are many, many kilometres of pristine asphalt joining the great points of interest at Cape Point, in what is in fact a National Park. This winding network of tar connects the area's many natural pools and beaches, its restaurants, the lighthouse and the famous funicular that lifts you to the best vantage points from which to view the Cape of Good Hope. It's also happens to be a good lookout to observe the car I've selected for this journey.
Now the pundits among you will wonder what the point of a little off roader would be out here where the roads are marble smooth. Well, the problem with the new Suzuki Jimny is that most people treat it as a 4x4 only, when in fact it's so much more.
Just look at it
How much attention did it receive in the national park's entry queue, it's Tupperware silhouette with G-Class stature and samurai decals? All of it.
With styling like a futuristic Tetris block there was not a single head left unturned, the mighty mite flexing against the sun, its radioactive lime paint job in sharp defiance. That black grille and those similarly darkened arches lend it the required levels of pumped up aggression to be taken seriously, as does the spare wheel on its tiny green bum. Plucky? Absolutely, but with performance to back it up.
Worlds apart, new Jimny vs old
Hop aboard and the theme continues inside where the Lego-like cabin echoes those chunky proportions. It’s incredibly well-appointed of course, especially in terms of smartphone connectivity, but doesn’t come up short in 4x4 tech and safety equipment either. It’s even quite refined with tactile surfaces. The seats do an above average job of gripping, but I did tend to fall out of them when the road encourages some lateral action – in fact I can imagine on a tricky 4x4 course you’d require a bit more than what was on offer here. Then again, I might just be too damn wide.
Being the 1.5 GLX model, this Jimny comes powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5litre 4-cylinder petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. This makes 75kW and 130Nm and is good for an amble from standstill to 100kph in about the time it takes to make a cup of tea.
The payoff for this is a respectable 6.3l/100km as its claimed fuel figure – quite commendable for a 4x4 I’d say. But there was none of that on this trip - just smooth winding road with the most scenic backdrops you could possibly imagine, conditions the Jimny absorbed with the greatest pleasure – despite us being four up.
It's not perfect...
Look, no 2 + 2 seater has any hope in my usually 5-strong household. And there's far too much road noise at highway cruising speed, which incidentally are where crosswinds make their presence the most felt.
This car rocks, no I mean literally from the moment four of us embark it pitches and sways on its suspension and I have no doubt this built-in compliance does little to help its cause at 120kph on the N1 in a windy Cape jaunt, but its wholly forgivable. As is the fact that at this speed we've pushed beyond 4000rpm and so again, not exactly whisper quiet in here.
And you'd be right for saying that this is not what the Jimny is meant for, but I feel that this new iteration is destined to be so beloved that many punters will insist in making it a more versatile member of the family.
I like it very much, perhaps even love it. Like a pet, a plucky pooch
that excites itself all over the carpet when you come home. I'd argue
that it's good value at R305,900 (with a 4 year/60 000km service plan)
and even though I haven’t documented it, I did manage to point it across
some 4x4-only surfaces and again like a puppy, it lapped up the
challenge with vigour.
You can only reserve the softest spot in
your heart with something this small with so much character, even if it
has a boot capacity to fit your laptop, a tuna salad and nothing else.
Despite its shortcomings, the Jimny proved to be the perfect companion
on my 200km roadtrip and it reminded me of one of my most favourite of
sayings. It's not about the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size
of the fight in the dog. And let me tell you, the Jimny is brimming.
Suzuki Jimny 1.5GLX Spec:
|Engine ||1.5l, inline 4-cyl petrol|
|Driven Wheels||All (4x4 with low range)|
|Gearbox ||5-speed Manual|
|Top Speed ||N/A|
|Average Fuel Consumption ||6.3l/100km|
|CO2 Emissions ||146g/km|