Two Months in a Suzuki Jimny: My Review

by | Jan 2, 2024 | Roadtripping | 44 comments

Happy New Year! Thorsten and I recently returned to Joburg after an incredible 10-day road trip through Limpopo province. I have many stories to tell about that trip, but before I get into that I want to write a quick review of my first two months driving Greylene, my new Suzuki Jimny.

Greylene's dirty grille
Greylene on the last day of our road trip. As you can see, we put her to the test.

I’ll preface this review by repeating that I am not a car person. If you’re looking for details about a Suzuki Jimny’s engine cylinders or towing capacity or fuel efficiency or whatever else car people care about, this post is not for you. I’m here to tell you what I like and dislike about this car (spoiler: the dislikes are very few), as a regular person who uses a car to get places.

This is me, going places with Greylene.

For your information: Greylene is a manual 2022 Suzuki Jimny GLX, which has a few more extras — including nicer trim and a big navigation screen with Apple CarPlay, which I love — than the more basic Jimny GL. If you’re looking for an automatic Jimny, they seem to cost about R20k more on average and are quite difficult to find. I bought Greylene second-hand from the Suzuki dealership in Bryanston, Johannesburg; she had 25,000 kilometers (15,500 miles) at the time of purchase. I paid around R370k (about $20k), which I think is an incredibly good price for a car that does so much.

Here is a brief list of my Jimny pros and cons.

Driving a Suzuki Jimny: The Pros

I love many, many things about this car, but here are the highlights:

1) The Cuteness (and Smallness) Factor

Greylene at Mapungubwe National Park.

Thorsten calls Greylene “the puppy car”. And, awwwwwwww, isn’t she just the cutest little 4×4 you’ve ever seen? She’s pretty and petite, with a minute turning radius and the ability to fit into any parking spot (or low-ceilinged parking garage) that a regular car fits into. Her design is pleasing to the eye and she’s not intimidating in any way. Greylene also looks great in pictures.

Greylene at the Lenong Viewpoint in Marakele National Park.

2) The Fun Factor

Driving Greylene is fun. Before buying her I read some critiques that Jimnys aren’t fast, but I personally find her quite zippy — at least compared to the tiny Hyundai Atos that I drove before. She drives comfortably at 120km/hour, and I can easily pass slow cars on the highway at over 130km/hour. I haven’t experienced a single moment in which I don’t love driving this car.

Greylene on a beautiful mountain pass in Marakele.

3) The Mobility Factor

The Suzuki Jimny is a 4×4 and and despite its diminutive stature, it can drive anywhere. If you’ve driven around South Africa at all, you know there are a lot of dirt and gravel roads — roads that, while possibly passable in a 2×4, are much more comfortable and less stressful in a 4×4 with high clearance. We drove on many such roads in Limpopo, for hundreds of kilometers, and Greylene handled all of them with ease. I can’t overstate what a great feeling it is to know that not a single place in this vast, beautiful country is off-limits to me anymore.

On a related note: I’d like to give a quick shout-out to the Suzuki AutoClub of South Africa, which hosts wonderful, affordable 4×4 training courses for Suzuki owners. Thorsten and I did one of these trainings at the De Wildt 4×4 Park in Magaliesburg recently and we both learned so much. While totally terrified of the super steep obstacles we had to drive, I was equally impressed by Greylene’s ability to handle literally any terrain.

Greylene the Suzuki Jimny at Mapungubwe
I didn’t take any good photos at the 4×4 training. But here is Greylene near a waterhole at the end of a 4×4-only track in Mapungubwe.

I also love being higher up off the road when driving in Joburg, especially as the city’s potholes proliferate like mushrooms and grow wider and deeper by the day. And Greylene’s high clearance comes in super handy during the summer rainy season, when storm drains clog and cause sudden, lake-sized puddles to spread across the city streets.

4) The Comfort Factor

With the exception of a couple of minor issues (see below), I find the Jimny to be an extremely comfortable car. Note, again, that I am used to driving small, economical cars, so you might feel differently if you’re used to driving a Range Rover or BMW. But Greylene is every bit as comfortable as any Jeep, Land Rover, or Landcruiser I’ve ever ridden in. Thorsten, who is 6’2”, has plenty of leg room in the front seats. The back seats aren’t bad either, considering how small the car is.

Some people also complain that Jimnys sway when moving at high speeds due to their boxy, upright design. Thorsten said he’s felt that once or twice but I really haven’t, even when driving in storms. I feel very safe driving Greylene.

Greylene in Leokwe Camp
Greylene parked at our chalet in Mapungubwe.

Driving a Suzuki Jimny: The Cons

As I already mentioned, there are way fewer cons than pros.

1) The Space Factor

I love small, easy-to-drive cars, so the Jimny’s size is mostly a pro for me. But the con is that when the Jimny’s back seats are open, there is no storage space. Like literally, you can hardly fit a large purse or grocery bag in the space behind the back seats. And you wouldn’t want to anyway, because anything squeezed back there will fall right out as soon as you open the rear tail gate.

So basically the Jimny has space for two people and a lot of stuff, or three/four people — five, if you really squeeze — and very little stuff. Luckily the seats are easy to fold up and down and the car fits a ton of gear when the seats are folded down flat.

People in Greylene's back seat
Kristen, Percy, and Sipho squeezed into the back of Greylene a few weeks ago when we went to the Stance Park Off at FNB Stadium. We managed to fit one small grocery bag of snacks back there with them.
Greylene with the seats folded down, packed for a 10-day road trip.

On a related note, the Jimny’s back seat windows don’t open, and as a fan of air circulation I don’t like that. To remedy this problem, in the future I hope to install these little sliding rear windows from Jimny Wild.

2) The Crappy Air Vent and Cup-holder Factor

As previously mentioned, I am a fan of air circulation. Therefore it dismays me that the Jimny has the stupidest, flimsiest air vents I’ve ever seen in a car. I won’t post a photo because it’s hard to convey how dumb the air vents are without experiencing them in real life. I’ll just say that the vents are hard to manipulate and they break easily. If anyone from Suzuki is reading this, please explain to me what the deal is with these vents and please, please fix them for the comfort and wellbeing of all future Jimny owners.

The Jimny also has two very shallow, hard-to-reach cup-holders that are more or less useless. Accessory companies like Jimny Wild offer work-around cup-holders that you can install in front of the crappy air vents, and I’ve purchased one of those, but I’m still not super happy with that arrangement because the cup gets in the way of my precious air. Please fix this too, Suzuki! Modern humans need a decent place to store their coffee cups and water bottles.

Other than some other really minor quirks that aren’t significant enough to point out, these are my only cons.

Problematic air vents and cup-holders aside, I love this car more than any other car I’ve ever owned and driving it makes me so happy. Thorsten loves it too, and we both enthusiastically recommend the Jimny to everyone we meet. Buying Greylene was by far my best decision of 2023.

Greylene in Brixton
A sketch of Greylene in Brixton, by @theThinking_Hand. Awwwwwww, she’s such a sweet little puppy wuppy…goo goo gah gah! I love her.

Check back later this week for the first of a few stories about our Limpopo adventures in Greylene.

44 Comments

  1. Albert

    This article deserves a sponsorship from Suzuki or at least a brand ambassador gig! Refreshing to read a car review from a non-petrolhead. 😃

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Haha, thank you! I actually did reach out to Suzuki before buying Greylene but I didn’t hear back…At least you can rest assured that my review is totally objective 🙂

      Reply
      • Joseph

        Hi , l am Joseph from Hammanskraal. I am fascinated by your objective review which pushes me to make my next purchase for retirement to be a Jimny to also go off road in Limpopo

        Thanks for your inspiring experience

        Reply
        • 2summers

          Hi Joseph, thanks for the comment. We LOVED driving our Jimny in Limpopo!

          Reply
          • Henry Rawlins

            Thanks for this I have a first gen Rav 4 which I love but she doesn’t pass the Ultra Low emmssion requirements now imposed in my area. No aircon on your model I assume? Also what’s the fuel consumption like?

          • 2summers

            Oh yes, it has air con! I haven’t kept close track of the fuel consumption – it certainly more than the tiny hatchback I had before but also less than a larger SUV.

    • Kaylee

      I know right! Such an awesome review 😀👌🏽

      Reply
  2. Albert

    The Jimny has such a loyal fan base, Suzuki is doing something right. Perhaps the cup holders are meant to hold shot glasses, not coffee cups? (With a 4×4 one has to think a bit more “ruggedly” than school-run-mom coffee cups!) Lol

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Hahahaha. Even a shot glass would fall over!

      Reply
      • Speedy

        I did a trip in a rented Jimny…never again.
        On tar roads the car started wobbling from side to side above 80km/h. Reading up on this I found out that it is called the Death Wobble Jimnys are known for.

        Reply
        • Hans

          Earlier Jimny models (I own one) are known to suffer death wobble, but I thought this was solved with the latest model.
          There are a few mods that help to reduce death wobble, but even if you change nothing, the wobble disappears if you speed up to 90+km/h or slow down a bit (without harsh braking) .

          Reply
          • 2summers

            Yeah, I really don’t notice it at all but I know others still complain about it. I think it’s really a preference thing and depends on what kind of car you’re used to driving.

  3. dizzylexa

    She is very photogenic and love Thorstens sketch of her. So glad she makes you so happy and looking forward to all your adventures in her.

    Reply
  4. AutumnAshbough

    Greylene seems to be the perfect car for South Africa! I’m a huge fan of manual transmissions which are pretty zippy compared to automatics. Even going from a little 4 cylinder manual to a more powerful engine that’s an automatic seems like a downgrade.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yeah, I’m so glad I finally learned!

      Reply
  5. Landi

    I still have the Gen 3 Jimny and yes I totally agree….I will never ever buy another car than Suzuki Jimny. The are the best 4×4 by far. Even for women who likes the outdoors and 4×4, Jimnys are the best

    Reply
  6. Sally

    As a 70+ single female I decided I wasn’t quite ready to settle into a retirement zone. So with a new Jimny (Big Jim) and basic camping gear I did 2 great road trips last year. I hope to visit all the SAN PARKS before I give up. I designed a logo which is on the doors of the car of an elephant profile against a setting sun. The matriarch who also lives to her 70s and we share our twilight trails.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      That’s amazing! Best of luck on your quest — visiting all the SANParks sounds like a great goal. I kind of want to copy it!

      Reply
  7. Ambika Rani K

    Thanks for writing all the pros and cons of Jimny. I am thinking of buying this beauty in future. I hope they fix the air vents issue and other minor things mentioned in your post. Where are you headed next?

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Yeah, totally. The air vents are a minor annoyance but I still don’t get why they are so bad! We don’t have any other big trips planned in the next couple of months, although we’ll definitely do some stuff around Magaliesburg at least. Then we’re planning a bigger trip to KZN in the winter 🙂

      Reply
  8. Dibbs_ZA

    My dad (73) rented a similar Jimny and offroad tent/trailer in December for a two week solo trip from Joburg up to Etosha National Park, in Namibia and back.

    He took all the back roads he said and raved at the fantastic drive. There where some rough patches that the Jimny handled without issue but for the most part those dirt roads were in better nick that the tarred ones in Jozi!

    *Travel Tip*:
    He also rented a dedicated Garmin satnav with all the off-road tracks preloaded and it was fortunate because Google Maps & cell coverage was non-existent in most places on the border so the Android Auto & Maps feature was not dependable.

    Reply
    • Dibbs_ZA

      On a side note, my wife also bought her first new car (Silver Celerio GL) from Susuki Bryanston in November. We absolutely love her “Silver Celery”. There is so much room in the boot you could probably have fitted all that stuff from your Jimny AND 3 passengers in the back seat. Lol.

      Reply
      • 2summers

        Haha. Yeah Suzukis in general seem to be really great cars. It’s interesting that they aren’t really sold in the US.

        Reply
    • 2summers

      Wow, that’s so cool. Yeah, the dirt roads in Namibia are great. I’m glad to hear the Jimny is so popular with the over-70 set!

      Reply
  9. John Simpson

    The most fun car I have ever owned
    Every mile a big smile!
    Mine is an auto and has one less gear than the manual. This means higher revs, more noise and worse consumption.
    It’s my second Jimny
    I think it will last for at least 10 years.
    Great car for 2 people family!
    Great review from you.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I agree — it’s the perfect childless car!

      Reply
  10. Charity

    I Have been co sidering to buy one for the past 4months, I took one for an urban Test drive, I was happy, but still wondering how it handles offroad, your review has drove me to Final conclusion 13th January bieng my birthday, I just Might……..
    Thank you for taking your time to give us this Authentic Review and the beautiful Pictures

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I hear you, it’s stressful making that decision after just a short test drive in town. I haven’t regretted it for one second though!

      Reply
  11. Dennis

    I can’t understand why Suzuki have never offered a larger or diesel engine in the jimny!

    Reply
  12. Louis

    Me and my wife had a 3 week road trip with my daughters Jimny. We drove 3000km in 3 weeks. What a pleasure it was!! If you look for a fast car the Jimny is not for you, but all the positives said in the article I fully agree. Jimny is for a proper “sloertoer”.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      I need to google the meaning of sloertoer — what a cool word.

      Reply
  13. John Simpson

    Suzuki don’t do diesels. But they could put an extra gear in it?

    Reply
  14. Lani

    I love that you’re so in love with your car! And that there was a 4×4 road test/course. Brilliant. There’s nothing like a road trip — I’m sure it’s sheer magic. xo

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Roadtripping really is the best! I somehow never came to appreciate the magic of it until recently.

      Reply
  15. politicalsnort

    Honestly, Suzuki Jimmy is a dream car for me even before reading your article. I’m a former journalist and presently a struggling blogger using a beat-up motorbike to videotape travel adventures in the outskirts of my hometown. Reading between your lines made me even more to crave on owning a Jimmy as a more convenient partner in my blogging journey and your highlights on the Greylene model fascinates me. Thanks for putting such a wonderful piece.

    Reply
    • 2summers

      You’re very welcome. Good luck with the blogging career!

      Reply
      • Deborah Devauden

        I’ve just bought one and love it. I live in hilly part of s.wales in the UK. I had a mark 2 Toyota rav 4 for 18 yrs and it broke my heart to say goodbye to that. I really love the jimney though, sitting up high etc. I am tall but there is plenty of leg room and I too love being able to park in any space. My only bugbear is that the door pockets are very narrow.

        Reply
        • 2summers

          I also don’t like the door pockets…Storage design is definitely not a Suzuki strong point!

          Reply
  16. Keith

    Hi there, thanks for this. I’m considering buying a Jimny – exactly the same as yours. I’m in the process of doing so. I was wondering if you can give me an idea of fuel consumption. I’ve read that the fuel consumption is not 100% correct to what Suzuki says it is and that it’s alot heavier on fuel, is that true? And how far do you get with a full tank in the city vs long distance. Looking forward hearing from you. Regards, Keith

    Reply
    • 2summers

      Hi Keith, I’m sorry to say that I am terrible at keeping track of my fuel consumption. All o can tell you is it’s definitely not as light on fuel as my tiny Hyundai Atos was 😅

      Reply
    • 2summers

      I have also heard that your fuel consumption depends a lot on whether or not you have a roof rack and other heavy additions to the car.

      Reply

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