2024 Suzuki Jimny XL review: Australian first drive

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It’s finally here, and if you read the forums and comments sections, it’s exactly what the fans have been pining for. That’s right, the five-door Jimny XL is now on Australian soil. Trent Nikolic samples the Jimny with more at its local launch.

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What we love
  • Extra space is actually useful
  • Proper low-range gearing and off-road capability 
  • Styling doesn’t look weird with the added doors
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What we don’t
  • Safety rating has to be mentioned
  • You do sit high in the second row
  • We’d prefer the tailgate to open square

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2024 Suzuki Jimny XL

If you’re reading this, wondering how popular the Suzuki Jimny is in this country, consider this. Suzuki only recently reopened the order books for the three-door automatic model, when the wait time dipped back below 12 months. That’s right. You’d be waiting more than 12 months for a rudimentary, boxy, off-road focused, but tiny four-wheel drive, that does its best work in genuinely rough terrain.

With delivery times nudging back below that 12-month threshold, I’d get into a dealer quickly if you want to order one. But maybe you need something a bit more practical than the three-door model.

Now, finally some of you will be saying in exasperated tones, we get to test the five-door variant in Australia. More than the sum of its parts, the five-door Jimny is currently available with a less onerous wait time, but that won’t stay the case for long. Certainly not after the price was announced.

How much does the Suzuki Jimny XL cost in Australia?

The Suzuki Jimny XL is priced from $34,990 plus on-road costs with a five-speed manual transmission, or $36,490 plus on-road costs with a four-speed automatic transmission – $3000 more than the equivalent three-door version. To say that the pricing is a little sharper than most of us expected, is a fair point to make, and while the Jimny is hardly ‘cheap’ for what you get, it’s hard to think of another vehicle with this much street presence at this price point.

Standard equipment shared with the equivalent three-door Jimny includes 15-inch alloy wheels, wired Android Auto, dusk-sensing LED headlights, satellite navigation, a rear-view camera, leather-trimmed steering wheel, fabric seat upholstery, automatic climate control, six airbags, autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure alert.

Compared to the equivalent three-door, the XL gains rear parking sensors, a 9.0-inch touchscreen (up from 7.0-inch), wireless (rather than wired) Apple CarPlay, DAB digital radio, adaptive cruise control on automatic variants – but regular cruise control on the manual, shared with all three-door models – and a metallic-accented front grille.

It’s worth pointing out too that while the Jimny XL doesn’t yet carry an ANCAP rating, without significant structural changes, and with the same key safety equipment, the new model is unlikely to fare any better than the three-door did when it recorded a three-star ANCAP rating in 2018.

Key details 2024 Suzuki Jimny XL
Price From $34,990 manual plus on-road costs
From $36,490 auto plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Sizzling Red Metallic
Bluish Black Pearl
Options None
Rivals Mahindra Scorpio | GWM Tank 300

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How much bigger is the five-door Suzuki Jimny XL

The 2024 Suzuki Jimny XL is 3820mm long, 1645mm wide, 1720mm high and has a wheelbase of 2590mm. The Jimny XL is 340mm longer nose to tail (3985mm from front bumper to spare wheel cover, vs 3645mm) – and a matching 340mm longer in wheelbase, up from 2250mm to 2590mm – but unchanged in width (1645mm) and height (1720mm).

Due to the larger body, the kerb weight has risen by 90kg on all models – now 1185kg for the manual, and 1200kg for the auto – and the turning circle has grown from 9.8m to 11.4m. Whereas the three-door Jimny is manufactured in Japan for Australia, the five-door is built in India for all global markets, including Australia.

The bigger overall body means along with more rear seat space, there’s now more cargo room. Compared to just 85 litres of boot space with the rear seats up in the three-door Jimny, the Jimny XL has 211 litres of cargo capacity. From the 50:50 spilt fold rear seat and there’s 1113 litres, next to 830 for the three-door model.

Extra cargo space is handy, but we found the gas strut that holds the side-hinged tailgate open limits its travel just a little, so rather than opening to a full 90-degrees or more, you may have to side-load the boot slightly. At least the hinges are on the right-hand side of the car, allowing the tailgate opening to face the kerb side, rather than the traffic side when parked.

2024 Suzuki Jimny XL
Seats Four
Boot volume 211L seats up
1113L seats folded
Length 3820mm
Width 1645mm
Height 1720mm
Wheelbase 2590mm

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What is the Suzuki Jimny XL like to drive?

Our launch drive is a quick-touch assessment of the Jimny XL with much more focused testing to come. A short on-road drive, is followed by what I’d call a moderate off-road test, which the Jimny should, in theory, make light work of.

First up, on-road, the Jimny XL doesn’t feel as heavy as I suspected it might. This is after all, a diminutive little 1.5-litre four-cylinder, generating just 75kW and 130Nm. Peak torque is available at 4000rpm, just above mid-range, while peak power asks you to do something Suzukis of old loved – run it out to redline.

The manual especially rewards in this sense, and as with the SWB Jimny, if you want the more engaging driver’s four-wheel drive, buy the manual.

Back to the weight though. I expected the LWB Jimny to feel a little slower than the three-door, simply because of the extra weight, but it doesn’t really translate to the seat of the pants measurement when you’re out on the road.

Where a Jimny Lite generates 68.5kW/tonne, the XL figure is 63.3kW/tonne, so it isn’t a huge disparity. The engine remains as entertaining as it always was, and having driven only the manual at launch, it does put a smile on your face working the gearbox through the gears as you keep the engine on song. A 4×4 this capable shouldn’t be so much fun to drive on the road.

On-road, it seems that the longer wheelbase helps to settle the Jimny’s ride down, and iron out some of the pogo effect a SWB off-roader can suffer from over choppy surfaces. The XL is still jiggly over particularly nasty stretches of road, but undeniably more comfortable, and more capable of being enjoyed around town than its SWB sibling.

The turning circle is still handy even though it’s a little wider (+1.6m), it’s a cinch to position and manoeuvre, and it will be ideal for anyone who lives in the inner city where parking is a pain. The Jimny wasn’t designed with urban running at its core of course, but it nails that brief with ease, especially given the excellent visibility and seating position.

Into the second row, with the driver’s seat set for my position, there’s more space than I expected. I wouldn’t want to run from Sydney to Melbourne sitting back there, but around town, it’s going to be useful for buyers wanting the five-door.

Shorter adults, and kids before they reach their late teens, will have plenty of space. There’s little in the way of amenities back there, but you do get electric windows at least.

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Key details 2024 Suzuki Jimny XL
Engine 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with VVTi
Power 75kW @ 6000rpm petrol
Torque 130Nm @ 4000rpm
Drive type Part-time four-wheel drive
Transmission Five-speed manual
Four-speed torque converter automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 63.3kW/t (Manual)
Weight 1185kg (Manual)
1200kg (Automatic)
Spare tyre type Full-size
Turning circle 11.4m

Off-road, certainly on the course we used, the Jimny is as capable as ever. It makes light work of every obstacle in the way only a truly lightweight 4WD can.

Proper low-range gearing, hill-descent control if you want it, a tight turning circle and exceptional visibility, mean negotiating any off-road track will be easy. In fact, the boxy styling makes positioning the Jimny XL so easy, you almost stop thinking about it when you’re off-road.

I prefer to use gearing rather than electronics when I’m descending off-road, but the Jimny’s hill-descent system is a good one – with the added bonus that it doesn’t sound like the car is breaking to pieces when the control is working.

The question of which Jimny you would have is a genuinely tough one to answer, but I’d still buy the three-door Jimny. There’s something I love about a SWB 4WD, and it speaks so closely to the original two-stroke LJ50, not to mention the LJ80 and Sierra that followed.

The three-door form is just right, in terms of style and proportion, the way I see it. However, I know that what I write here will have no bearing on those of you who really want the five-door. Style is after all, a very individual thing.

The Jimny XL brings more to the table in terms of flexibility – as it should – as well as day-to-day usefulness. The extra wheelbase doesn’t just add to the second-row versatility, it also delivers more luggage space.

Fold the seats down, and a couple can go a long way off-road with all the gear they need. Around town, plenty of you will love the flexibility afforded by not having to climb over front seats to get into the back.

Suzuki looks like being – unsurprisingly – onto a winner with the Jimny XL. As we’ve written previously in regard to the three-door, vehicles like Jimny and Swift Sport remind Australians why Suzuki has such a strong standing in this country.

Small cars, that are fun to drive, economical to own, and get a thumbs up from anyone who sees them out on the road. The Jimny XL undisputedly captures that mojo. Just make sure you get in quick if you want one.

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Ratings Breakdown

Suzuki Jimny

7.6/ 10

Performance

Safety Technology

Ride Quality

Infotainment & Connectivity

Handling & Dynamics

Energy Efficiency

Driver Technology

Value for Money

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Fit for Purpose

Trent Nikolic has been road testing and writing about cars for almost 20 years. He’s been at CarAdvice/Drive since 2014 and has been a motoring editor at the NRMA, Overlander 4WD Magazine, Hot4s and Auto Salon Magazine.

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