Midrand - The wait is almost over, with the new Jimny set to go on sale in South Africa at the beginning of November, and Suzuki SA is giving fans a taste of the newcomer at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami this weekend (Aug 31 - Sep 2).

The hotly anticipated 4x4 was revealed to local media on Thursday, along with some local details including estimated pricing:

1.5 4x4 GA manual: R265 000
1.5 4x4 GLX manual R300 000
1.5 4x4 GLX auto R320 000

As you can see, the previous 1.3-litre petrol engine makes way for a new and more powerful 1.5-litre unit, still normally aspirated and credited with 75kW and 130Nm. You can have it mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, or - if you opt for the GLX grade - a four-speed automatic gearbox.

Not only does the new Jimny stick to its roots with retro styling that is certain to be a hit with fans (the Jimny doesn’t have customers), but its legendary off-road ability has not been tampered with.

The new 45mm-wider Jimny still sits on a ladder-frame chassis, albeit redesigned and incorporating an ‘X’ member between the axles to improve torsional rigidity. Both axles remain rigid, but there are new coil springs and shocks. Ground clearance has been raised by 20mm to 210mm, while the approach, breakover and departure angles have respectively been increased to 37, 28 and 49 degrees (from 35, 27 and 46).

The traditional four-wheel-drive system has a transfer case operated by a secondary gear lever, allowing drivers to switch between 4x2, 4x4 high and 4x4 low range. The new Jimny does however come with modern features such as ESP stability control and an electronic (brake-enabled) limited slip differential system.

Though it remains tough at the core, Suzuki has improved cabin comfort while bringing the gadgets and overall look and feel up to modern standards. 

New storage solutions and improved seats with a greater range of adjustment should go a long way to making it a better daily driver, as will the 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system in GLX models, which is compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto.

There’s also more space inside, with front occupants getting 30mm more legroom and rear passengers gaining 40mm (albeit off a very cramped base!) according to Suzuki.

The new Jimny will be offered in two specification grades, with the new GA derivative allowing Suzuki to keep the base price well below R300 000. It is a bit on the basic side however. While it does come with essential safety kit like dual airbags, ABS brakes and ESP, you will have to stretch to the GLX if you want a multi-function steering wheel, electric windows, remote keyless access, alloy wheels and that aforementioned touchscreen system.

IOL Motoring