It was December 1985 and Maruti Suzuki was still discovering its feet. The firm burst into the Indian automotive scene with the 800 in 1983.
Looking to switch away from the 800 and the Van based on it, the firm set its sights on Mahindra’s ‘Indianised’ Jeeps and brought the Jimny offroader into India. Dubbed the Maruti Suzuki ‘Gypsy’, the SJ40 series gained quite a cult following in India.
Despite the Jimny sold in other markets moving forward by two generations, Maruti Suzuki persisted with the Gypsy taking orders for civilians till December 2018 before tightening emission and safety norms rang the death knell for the offroader.
Since then, rumours about the 4th Gen Jimny arriving in India filled the pages of automotive chat rooms across the nation. Maruti Suzuki ended the speculation at Auto Expo 2023 when it revealed the all-new Jimny for India.
However, the Maruti Suzuki Jimny sported five doors instead of the three-door layout prefered elsewhere which had us more than intrigued about how the new SUV would perform given there was no increase in the output from the powerplant.
So when Maruti Suzuki gave us the chance to test out the new Jimny near Dehradun, we dumped everything to see if there was a new king of the dirt tracks. The answers we received had us shining up a dusty old crown and well if you wish to know why, I’d suggest you keep reading and get ready to prostrate yourself in front of the returning king…
Maruti Suzuki Design & Features – Rugged Retro Boxiness With A Few Modern Amenities
The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is identical to its 3-door sibling except for the extra length due to the presence of an extra door on each side. So while it may be longer, the India-spec Jimny is just as boxy and rugged as its international counterpart.
The Maruti Jimny is a throwback to the 1st and 2nd iterations of the SUV. The front end sports circular LED headlights that are connected by five chrome-adorned vertical slats with the central one hosting the Suzuki badge. The tiny circular turn indicators sit near the headlights on the top edges of the grille.
The front bumpers on the Maruti Suzuki Jimny are angled to increase the ground clearance at the wheels of the SUV. Made using toughened plastic, the bumpers play host to the fog lamps and a large central air intake.
The sides of the Jimny reflect the rugged nature of the boxy little beast. The flared wheel arches are made from toughened plastic and play host to 15-inch alloy wheels that are shod with road-specific rubber.
The switch to a five-door layout has meant that the rear three-quarter glass panel has shrunk significantly. The roof, which is finished in a bluish-black shade in the dual-tone versions of the Jimny, features drip rails on the sides and the rear to ensure that water doesn’t drip on you when you enter or exit the SUV.
The rear section of the Jimny is as boxy as the rest of the SUV except for the spare wheel which is mounted onto the rear door of the SUV. Except for the third brake light which lives on the door, the Jimny’s entire rear lighting setup can be found in two pods on the rear bumper.
Step inside the all-new Jimny and you’ll be greeted by a spartan interior that features a few creature comforts that bring it into the 21st century. The most noticeable of these features comes in the form of the infotainment screen that is offered in either 7 or 9-inch screen options.
The infotainment touchscreen allows access to connectivity options like Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for your music and navigation needs. The infotainment system is connected to a surround sound system that belts out your favourite tunes with ease.
The rest of the cabin is made to deal with the rough world that every Jimny owner must experience – the great outdoors. The dials are big and analogue and there is a small multi-information display in between for all your other required car-related information.
The seats are designed to absorb all the bumps and jumps you’ll find up and down a rocky crag. The front passenger also gets a grab rail to hold onto when you decide to get adventurous with your right foot on the dirt and rocks.
The dash and other sections are made fromscratch prooff material, so your house panther will need to transform into ‘Panthera leo’ to make a mark here. The controls are all rather large and easy to find but we do wish Maruti Suzuki took a bit more time to arrange them a bit more intuitively.
The Jimny also comes with a host of safety features including 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Limited Slip Differential, Hill Hold Control, Hill Descent Control, Brake Assist, rearview camera and ISOFIX anchor points for child seats.
Maruti Suzuki Jimny Specs & Dimensions – Built For A Bruising
The all-new Maruti Suzuki Jimny for India is powered by the firm’s K15B 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine. The Jimny’s powerplant pushes out 103.4bhp at 6,000rpm and 134.2Nm of peak torque at 4,000rpm.
The engine sends power to all four wheels via either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed torque converter automatic transmission with short ratios. The transmission is paired with Suzuki’s All Grip all-wheel-drive system and the new Jimny SUV also features a low-range transfer box.
As was the case with the old Gypsy, the Jimny uses a ladder-frame chassis. Taking care of the rough stuff is a 3-link suspension setup with a rigid axle and coil springs at both the front and the rear. The Jimny rides on 15-inch wheels that are offered in both steel and alloy guises. The wheels are shod with 195/80 R15 tyres.
The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is 3,985mm long (with the spare wheel attached), 1,645mm wide and 1,720mm tall. The wheelbase of the new Jimny is 2,590mm long and weighs 1,210kg in its heaviest guise. The new Jimny offers 210mm of ground clearance and sports a 208-litre boot.
Maruti Suzuki Jimny Driving Impressions – The Real Successor To The Gypsy King
The Maruti Suzuki Jimny is built to go off-piste with its ladder frame chassis and off-roading suspension setup, however, that doesn’t mean that it is an absolute brute on the road.
We do wish the engine had a bit more power to deal with the everyday on-road malarkey. However, with its more than good enough mid and top-end power it will get from point A to B without breaking into too much of a sweat.
And on your way to point B, the Jimny surprises you with the way it deals with the ruts and bumps. The ride is smooth and the SUV doesn’t bounce around despite its off-road-oriented suspension setup.
However, there is considerable body roll when you try and push the Jimny into a corner thanks to its high-riding setup. The steering is light and numb and the turning radius of 5.4 metres is a real pain especially when you’re trying to execute a U-turn.
However, all that changes when you get off the black strip of tarmac and head into the big outdoors. The Jimny transforms from a shy lamb on the streets into a jumping jackrabbit on steroids when it goes off-piste.
The engine comes into its own off-the-beaten-path, responding to the slightest of inputs. The K15B powerplant provides more than enough low-end grunt to easily drag you out of a tough spot.
Both gearboxes combined with the transfer case are quite nice to use out in the wild. Surprisingly it is the automatic gearbox that we would rather go with as it is slightly easier to use.
While the manual gives you a bit more control over the gears and the revs, the automatic box can limit the first two gears from revving all the way to glory. It can also limit itself from going into overdrive when the Jimny isn’t on the black stuff.
The ability to shift into 4 High on the fly with the transfer case is an absolute boon on the go allowing you to conquer the toughest terrain. And if one wheel does lose traction, the Brake Limited Slip Differential invokes its magic to keep you moving.
The ladder-frame chassis 3-link suspension setup with solid axles comes into its own when it is time to conquer the rough stuff. You can take the Jimny up to ridiculous angles while keeping the body shell intact and upright.
Add in the crazy break-over, approach and departure angles and the 210mm of ground clearance and you’ll find yourself going up and down trails that would otherwise be left alone.
The brakes on the Jimny perform quite well, no doubt aided by the fact that the new Maruti Suzuki SUV is a proper lightweight. The brake pedal also has a bit more travel than you would expect, so do keep that in mind when you drop the anchors.
The addition of hill hold assist and hill descent control is a big boon off the beaten path. The hill hold assist also helps out quite a bit when you find yourself stuck on an incline in a jam.
Final Thoughts About The Maruti Suzuki Jimny – The Return Of The True Gypsy King
The arrival of the Maruti Suzuki Jimny sees the nation’s biggest carmaker return to the off-roading enthusiast market since the departure of the Gypsy King nearly 5 years back.
The Jimny is an absolute little monster off the beaten path. Add a rather practical cabin and some decent road manners, especially some excellent ride quality and the Jimny becomes a logical choice for the offroading enthusiast who also needs a slightly practical weekday vehicle.
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Keyword: Maruti Suzuki Jimny First Drive Review - The Return Of The Offroad King