Monday, 13 July 2015

COLUMN - July 2015

Here is another chance to catch my July column from The Local Herald and The Clitheroe Local. This month I had just one review to feature, and it was the Suzuki Jimny. This is a car that has been around for some time and I have quite a soft spot for. But there is also a famous expression about meeting your heroes... Also featured this month is a little bit on our newest car, and this one has a specific purpose... rallying! There will be more on this hitting the site over the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for it. For now, enjoy the column, and be sure to check out the full Jimny review on the Reviews page.

This month I have a somewhat different column. I will start off with a review, but there was only one this month owing to my holiday. But don’t worry, I think I have just the filler to carry us through to next month where normal business will resume.

So to kick off then, the Suzuki Jimny. This compact SUV has been around in some form or other since 1970. It’s looked pretty much the same as it does now since 1998, although that’s not too bad. It has a good mix of compact and rugged with its short wheelbase and bonnet scoop. Finished in Steel Silver metallic the SZ4 gets darker grey alloy wheels and privacy glass which complete a decent exterior image.

Inside the plastics aren’t the best quality, and the leather seats look alright but are actually synthetic. The radio is basic, the dials are basic, and the 4WD is selectable by button as opposed to an additional gear lever; just to show the Jimny is somewhat modern! I say ‘somewhat’ because under the bonnet is still a 1.3-litre petrol engine. And it doesn’t feel very modern at all. Power is a whopping 85PS and 110Nm which through the 5-speed manual gives a 0-62mph time of 14.1 seconds and a top speed of 87mph.

And this mean that the Jimny isn’t very good to drive on the road. Around town the suspension is too bouncy, the gearbox is like whisking eggs, and there just never seems to be enough power. On the motorway the Jimny really comes unstuck, with 70mph being just-shy of 4,000rpm. That just doesn’t bode well on a long journey, and makes the Suzuki a tiring car to drive. Fuel economy isn’t great either. The latest Jimny may well be Euro V compliant, and the combined fuel consumption of 39.8mpg isn’t too bad, but the CO2 emissions of 162g/km mean the Jimny is in VED band G. That’s £180 for the first and subsequent years, which seems an awful lot for a 1.3-litre car.

Without doubt the best trick up the Jimny’s short sleeves is the off-road capabilities. For years the Suzuki has performed as well as bigger, more expensive cars, and in many ways being more compact gives it an edge; allowing it to fit through narrower gaps and turn tighter than rivals. And due to the lack of luxury the Jimny also has a low price tag to boast. The SZ4 model I tested comes in at £14,075 (including £430 for paint) with a 3-year, 60,000-mile warranty. That makes it incredibly good value and there are few competitors for the Jimny at this price point; certainly no ‘proper’ off-roaders.

Now as well as my recent holiday, we have been very busy down at the garage. Depending which edition of the Herald you get you may well see the TG Autospray advert below this column from time to time. Tony is actually my father-in-law and over the last couple of months we have been preparing a rally car. After buying a matte-black-wrapped Peugeot 106 rally car it’s been completely stripped down and rebuilt. We even took another 106 Quiksilver as a donor for some fresh panels. Now finished in gleaming Cherry Red it’s completely transformed and ready to get out on the stages; the first event is looking to be early September.

See you next month!

Dan

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