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Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018) Buying Guide

Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)
Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Suzuki Jimny (1998-2018)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

The Suzuki Jimny had an incredible 20-year stint and it was hardly the last word in comfort, refinement or technology when it arrived. So by the time it bowed out in 2018 it felt positively ancient, outclassed comprehensively by newer alternatives that were safer, quieter, better equipped and more comfortable. Except the Jimny didn't really have any rivals because while this was a car that wasn't very talented in an on-road environment, it was pretty much unbeatable in the rough. Sure there were other 4x4s that could keep up with it, but they all cost more; if you were on a budget the Jimny really was (and still is) in a class of its own.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Very reliable
Cheap to buy
Cheap to run
Rugged looks
Off-road ability
Uncomfortable
Noisy
Spartan
Limited performance
Cramped cabin
Tiny boot
Often abused
Key Dates 
03/99The Jimny reaches UK showrooms with an 82bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine and four-speed manual gearbox. It comes only as a three-door hard top.
03/00The Jimny Soft Top is introduced with a removable roof.
4/04All models now have a radio/CD player, twin airbags, ABS and EBD.
03/05A refresh brings a modified engine which now has 85bhp, a push-button selector for the 4x4 system and remote central locking.
03/06A JLX+ model joins the range with body-coloured door handles, silver roof rails and a leather interior.
7/09There's a new range topper; the SZ4 comes with privacy glass, 15-inch alloy wheels and metallic paint.
01/13A lightly refreshed Jimny reaches showrooms with the engine now Euro 5-compliant, there are minor styling tweaks inside and out and ISOFIX child seat mountings are now standard for the two rear seats.
11/14Further updates bring extra colours, along with standard tyre pressure monitoring and ESP.
Checklist 
  • The oil should be changed every 9000 miles in the front and rear axles, but this is often overlooked, leading to wear.
  • Check for wear in the front suspension, especially if the car has been taken off roading. The trailing arm bushes in the rear suspension also wear, but they're not especially costly to replace. The easiest way to check such wear is to put the car through an MoT.
  • Some cars came with three-spoke alloy wheels and these are prone to buckling. Stronger replacements are easily sourced on a used basis though.
  • The front brake discs are prone to warping so feel for juddering through the pedal as the brakes are applied.
  • If you're buying one of the unusual soft tops, make sure that water hasn't got into the cabin as the roofs often doesn't seal very well.
  • On older cars, and especially those used off-road a lot, rust can form in the wheelarches, door bottoms, boot floor and floorpans. Corrosion often lurks behind the plastic body cladding.
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