Added enhancements to the styling and even greater versatility are keys to a new Safari edition based on the JX version of the award-winning fourth generation Suzuki Jimny.
Available in limited supply and exclusive to the New Zealand market, the Safari package adds to an already versatile and unique compact three-door model that is unmatched by any other small four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The Safari is clearly distinguished by a black ARB Base roof rack with side trade rails and wind deflector, a special heritage grille, front window weathershields, mudflaps front and rear, a large rear cargo tray and Safari decals on the rear wheel disc cover.
In place of the standard tyres, the Safari comes with larger section Maxxis Bravo 980 all-terrain 215/75R15 tyres fitted to the black steel rims, giving added impetus to the Jimny’s much loved and practical styling.
The Safari launches with a recommended retail price of $29,990 plus on road costs and is additional to the range that also comprises the standard JX manual and Sierra with manual or automatic transmission.
Storming into the marketplace is the stunning Bluish Black Pearl “hero” body colour for the Safari which is a real visual hit matched to the more aggressive tyres and black wheels. The special Jimny variant is also offered in Jungle Green, Silky Silver, White and Medium Grey.
Standard Safari specifications include six airbags, cruise control, air conditioning, automatic light sensing headlamps, high beam assist, daytime running lights, guide me light function, hill descent and hill hold control, dual sensor braking support system, weaving alert and lane departure warning.
Among the safety systems are two sensors comprising a monocular camera and a laser sensor that determine if there is a risk of collision with a forward vehicle or pedestrian. On detection of a potential collision, the Jimny alerts the driver with an audible and visual warning, deploys brake assistance or alternatively applies strong automatic braking.
The same 1.5 litre, double overhead camshaft 4-cylinder engine with variable inlet camshaft timing powers the Jimny Safari, driving through a 5-speed manual gearbox. ALLGRIP ‘Pro’ selectable four-wheel-drive incorporates three driving modes with 2H for two-wheel-drive high gearing, 4H for four-wheel-drive high gearing and 4L for four-wheel-drive low gearing.
As well as its capability for on-road use the Jimny has the ability to tackle serious off-road and rough track surfaces. With a trim overall length of 3,645 mm and handy 210 mm ground clearance, when faced with adverse conditions the Suzuki offers a useful maximum departure angle of 49 degrees, a ramp breakover angle of 28 degrees, and an approach angle of 37 degrees.
The Jimny has the tenacity to negotiate slippery ground with confidence. If two diagonal wheels lose grip while on slippery surfaces, the electronic limited-slip differential and traction control automatically brakes the sliding wheels and redistributes torque to the other two wheels, allowing the Jimny to continue safely.
An international jury panel of 86 prominent automotive journalists named the Jimny the Urban Car winner in the 2019 World Car Awards.
“There has been strong demand for the perfectly formed Jimny in New Zealand right from introduction,” said Gary Collins, General Manager of Motor Vehicle Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand. “With the distinctive shape and practical abilities, the Jimny has a market segment all to itself.”
Sales of the current model in New Zealand have already topped 1,500 and there are still waiting lists for all Jimny versions, with the longest wait being for the top spec Sierra models.
Owners admire the styling icons from early generations, like the simple round headlamps, the independent indicators and the clamshell bonnet, while also applauding the easy driving controls, great all-round visibility and versatility. In addition the Jimny offers imposing off-road credentials and also appeals to those who will never take theirs beyond the city limits.
Suzuki became a pioneer of the small dual purpose Sport Utility Vehicle sector when the original Jimny broke new ground more than half a century ago. The square-rigged design of the latest model is a perfect mix of retro and modern that wins widespread praise.