The latest Jimny has order books to the ceiling. With a year’s waiting list, it’s safe to say it is extremely popular. But how does it compare with its previous generation and its rivals today. We will compare the latest fourth gen Jimny against its third gen ancestor and also the latest Jeep Wrangler – the standout competitor to the Suzuki.

Exterior Design

Firstly, the less curvy fourth generation is a radical design choice from Suzuki. The previous generation had rounded edges and bubble headlamps with overall much more rounded shape. The new hood is much flatter, whilst its headlights are still round they sit behind the face of the front bumper and are LED. The five slit grille pays homage to the much larger Hummer design. The Wrangler is an updated look to a classic design we are used to from Jeep. Similar upgrades include much wider range of colour options and an upgraded interior. All vehicles are designed with a ladder frame chassis and live axles on the front and rear, but the bulky nature of the Wrangler means it is heavier and larger than its Japanese counterpart.

Interior and Equipment

The interior has been extensively improved over the third generation Jimny. With a lot of standard equipment including a colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, two-speaker sound system, satnav, cruise control, basic trip computer and tilt-adjustable steering wheel.

Best of all it has improved safety ABS with EBD, ESC, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, reversing camera, auto-levelling LED headlights with auto on and high-beam assist, DRLs and fog lights, two ISOFIX and tether child-seat anchors, and front, side, and curtain airbags. The previous generation only had a few of these features. Having been developed originally in the 90’s, before this high-level safety equipment was available.

The Jeep Wrangler Sport S model has an extensive list of equipment including an eight-speaker sound system, 7-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a digital dashboard, keyless entry, cruise control, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, DRLs, tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel, 17-inch alloys, black soft-top (with hard-top as an optional extra), doors which are removable and a fold-down windscreen.

Comfort

Both have the standard body roll when driving on normal roads. With narrow axles, the vague steering from the Wrangler can be alarming when driving, but the Jimny handles well over lots of terrain including the road. The Wrangler feels more comfortable on smoother off-road terrain. With the fourth generation Jimny, Suzuki removed some of the disliked features of the third gen. Such as its inability to be comfortable on the road, lack of power and fuel consumption.

Off-road ability

The most important reason why these small 4x4s are so popular. Whilst the third generation is similarly small and nimble across rough terrain, the upgraded Allgrip Pro system in the fourth gen trumps it. The ability for high approach and departure angles with hill hold and hill descent control as standard. The ramp over angles and low range gearbox also makes it eclipse its predecessor.

The Wrangler is not close to achieving the Jimny’s approach and departure angles, but overall, the off-road ability matches it. The larger overall track and length means it can handle the larger obstacles better. Low range is also switchable in the Jeep, and the automatic transmission copes well when the going gets tough.

Powertrain

Whilst the third gen Jimny had a 1.3L unit, the newest Jimny has an upgraded 1.5L engine with 101hp and 138Nm of torque. Being a much more powerful and economical unit compared to its predecessor (which had just 1.3L, 81hp and 110Nm). The Wrangler however is equipped with a huge 3.6L V6 petrol, alongside its 8-speed Auto transmission it is superior in power and torque compared to the Jimny, outputting 280hp (209kw) and 347Nm of torque.

Conclusion

Overall, the fourth generation Jimny adds much needed class and creature comforts over its predecessor. With the Jeep brand competing well with equipment and off-road ability. However, the Wrangler is much heavier than its Japanese counterpart and of course more expensive to purchase and maintain – which is why the Jimny nowadays is the entry level 4WD of choice.

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