Retrospective, robust and rudimentary are a few words that come to mind with the Suzuki Jimny Rhino Edition.
Priced at RM174,900 (on-the-road without insurance), this particular little 4X4 off-roader will speak loudly to those who have an inclination for unpaved roads.
The Jimny left an indelible notion, at least with this writer, that it’ll take on what extreme unpaved paths can throw at it and keep on chugging.
For clarity’s sake, this isn’t the usual run-of-the-mill sports utility vehicle (SUV) that’s been infused with comfort, conveniences and road-going prowess.
Rather, it’s a three-door 4X4 SUV that’s been miniaturised and will seat four at most.
Given a powertrain corresponding to the period of the 1980s and 1990s, the Jimny is powered by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated engine that’s mated to a four-speed automatic.
Being the Rhino Edition, the Jimny comes coated in white, slapped with Rhino decals and fitted with a different front grille, chromed side mirror covers and a Rhino spare wheel cover.
There are also rain and wind deflectors, satinated side and front bumper under garnish, Jimny red mud flaps, a differential guard and DLX Floor Mats for added differentiation.
Unlike the non-Rhino Edition, the Jimny can be had in Kinetic Yellow with Bluish Black Pearl 3 for the roof (+RM2,500), Jungle Green, Bluish Black Pearl 3 (+RM1,500) and Medium Grey.
Be it Rhino Edition or not, the modern-day reiteration of the Jimny comes fitted with automatic LED projector headlights that have been paired with halogen front fogs and signal lights.
The Rhino Edition is attention-grabbing, not through its external provisions (that do shout) but rather through its pint-sized demeanour and the need to be a modern-day stylish looker.
There’s nothing pretentious about it - standing proud with individuality and without the need to be in trend or as a trendsetter, and this is something refreshing.
The diminutive Rhino Edition simply “is” rather than “tries to be” a true off-roader with its rugged charm accentuated by its bare fender flares that exude a strong sense of resilience and off-roading prowess.
The combination of its part-time four-wheel-drive (4WD) system, ladder frame chassis and 210mm of ground clearance allows it to traverse through a myriad of terrains from majorly rugged trails to mildly uneven terrains when abandoning paved roads.
Manoeuvrability and traction are impressive in such instances and the 1.5-litre four-banger will get the deed done even if its 1,462cc of displacement only provides 100hp at 6,000rpm and 130Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
Inside, there’s nothing eye-catching about it from the fabric seats to the rudimentary instrument panel, automatic gear selector and a dedicated 4WD selector gear knob.
There are very few electronics involved here with more function than form in mind to complement its rugged persona and while the boxy cabin accords a cosy interior with its comfortable seats, there are still some modern-day amenities.
The 7.0-inch infotainment system with a reverse camera that powers two tinny-sounding speakers comes with Android Auto and Apply Carplay and while there’s a multi-function steering wheel, it is also wrapped in faux leather for a touch of luxury.
Considering its overall size, there’s “some” clever utilisation of space even if it feels tight around the shoulders with a pair of rear seats that pop out from under the 377-litre boot’s floor – reducing it down to just 85 litres.
Rear-seated passengers won’t be happy campers for very long with the lack of leg and shoulder room and forget about the side door bins which are almost inaccessible but good enough to slide a thick stack of documents into.
Although the Jimny would be more at home when in the wild, it’s still capable of existing in urban geographies measuring just 3,480mm-long, 1,645mm-wide and 1,720mm-tall.
Now compare that to the second-generation Perodua Axia’s 3,760mm-length, 1,665mm-width and 1,505mm-height. Yes, it’s that small.
Zippy and nimble are not exactly associated with the Jimny.
Venture over uneven road surfaces and its occupants will be rocking and rolling due to the tall 195/80 series tyres fitted to 15-inch wheels and the highly articulative tri-link rigid front and rear axles with coil springs mounted to the ladder-frame chassis.
While this setup will keep sharp shocks at bay, engine performance can be deemed satisfactory, to say the least.
However, it could do with a little more power even if it can only reach a top speed of 140kph on highways which is enough for this little go-getter and there’s even cruise control, a bonus.
Bringing it up to speed creates much engine roar and keeping it at V-max brings about an unsafe sense of danger with a definite feel of disconnect from the road - at least the bite from its brakes provides a sense of security.
Again, paved roads are not part of the Jimny’s forte but running it in urban settings will realise a smooth-operating gearbox and its tight-spaced manoeuvrability is excellent thanks to its consolidated dimensions.
Meanwhile, steering feel will help provide some resistance training.
The Jimny in itself is very much unique in its appeal and enthusiasts will have something that’s distinct and unique enough to turn heads.
Even if it does belong to roads less travelled, helming it in metropolitan settings seems to always bloom a sense of joy.
This seems to stem from its robust build and off-roading capabilities - allowing those with a penchant for adventure to resonate well with it.
Although the Jimny has its limitations, its off-road abilities surpass expectations and with a rugged, simple and compact package, it’ll rouse the senses to seek new adventures.
Suzuki Jimny Rhino Edition (CBU)
Engine: 1,462cc VVT multi-point injection
Transmission: Four-speed automatic with part-time 4WD (with low-range transfer gear)
Maximum power: 100hp at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 130Nm from 4,000rpm
Brakes: Front ventilated discs; rear leading and trailing drum
Suspension: Front and rear 3-link rigid axles with coil springs
Fuel tank: 40 litres
Fuel consumption: 6.1-litre/100km (intra-urban)
Gross weight: 1,435kg
Ground clearance: 210mm
Approach angle: 37 degrees
Ramp break-over angle: 28 degrees
Departure angle: 49 degree
Features: Two airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic stability programme, brake assist, hill holds control, hill descent control, pedal release system (decoupling mechanism for brake and clutch pedals during impact), side-impact door beams, central locking, dual ISOFIX child seat anchorages, automatic LED headlights, halogen signals, fog lights and rear combination lights, power windows, leatherette-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, two-speaker sound system, 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen infotainment system with reverse camera, USB Type-A port, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 12V power outlet, bulb interior lighting, cruise control, 15-inch wheels with 195/80 series tyres and same-size spare wheel
Warranty: Three years manufacturer warranty or 100,000km whichever comes first
Price: RM174,900 (on-the-road without insurance)
Suzuki Jimny Rhino Edition: A loveable retro