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Maruti Suzuki Jimny on road

As we headed from the hotel to the river basin, the hilly roads of Dehradun meant it needed to be driven in a lower gear and in a higher rev-band to make the most of the motive force on tap. The peak power comes in at 6,000 rpm while torque is maximum at 4,000 rpm. The petrol engine sounds good at higher speeds with the howl echoing through the surroundings which had forest trees on one side and human settlements on the other. The multi-link suspension set-up makes for a surprisingly good ride quality and the damping characteristics, too, are outstanding, although the road isn’t its element. It’s a light car with a hardcore powertrain, so there is a gruff transmission hum audible inside. Heavy winds can have it seem like it’s buffeting though it holds its line; that can feel a little disconcerting. The steering wheel needs effort, too. It is geared to be more precise when tackling the rough stuff, so on a mountain hairpin bend, a few more turns are required than some would expect. Heading off the road and down towards the riverbed meant the path became progressively worse. That’s where the Jimny truly comes alive!

Maruti Suzuki Jimny dirt path

Dirt gave way to rocks and slush and, soon, we were in the craggy midst of stones, rocks, and boulders, with a stream flowing by; difficult even for humans to tread over. Through all of the hard rock surroundings, the Jimny went about with ease. The steering feel was even more appreciable here. The feeling of knowing exactly where it’s pointing is a huge advantage and, over that rock-strewn section of scorched earth, the Jimny proved just why it is a legendary name.

Maruti Suzuki Jimny gears

Switching from rear- to four-wheel drive high-range on the fly, the Jimny seamlessly brought the front axle into the traction equation; no loud thunks or clunks. The Jimny felt liberated. The clutch action is light and the throttle response is quick on sound but the drive needs higher revs before it really begins acting out. That had me wondering what the S-Cross’ 1.6 diesel would feel like in here. The Jimny can tackle water crossings 600 millimetres (or two feet) deep with ease.

Maruti Suzuki Jimny water splash

The generous 36° approach and 47° departure angles with a 24° breakover angle make for some jaw-dropping capability. To demonstrate just that, there were a set of stages in the vicinity around the riverbed. Most of those were done in 4×4 low-range, where tens of turns of the input shaft make for one turn of the wheel. There are no locking differentials, but there is a brake limited-slip differential.

Maruti Suzuki Jimny hill descent

The Jimny can crawl over strewn rocks and boulders, climb and descend steep slopes, find traction on slippery rocks underwater, in slush, and plain muck like a truffle pig finds, well, truffles. It finds grip and trundles on with aplomb over surfaces no one would imagine possible. The depth and height of its capability always exceeded that of the water and the obstacles, respectively.

If rock crawls, articulation, side slopes, water wading, mud-hole stomping, high dirt inclines and steeper downhill sections over loose mud and stones can’t convince one about the Jimny’s ability, then nothing will. It truly sits head, shoulders, and cladding above all sub-four-metre and compact SUVs and can go toe-to-toe with the big names and come out with mud on its face in the best possible way. It’s not a conventional car. It’s a car for those who are driven differently. It offers all the conveniences of a compact hatchback while delivering the capability of an off-road SUV. It can take you to the supermarket or to the office on a weekday and to a desolate hill or desert on the weekend and take on the next adventure unperturbed. Its simple, no-nonsense approach to adventure lifestyle is exactly what the Indian market needed. With off-road cars taking up a lot of space when stationary as well as on the move, the Jimny stands out with its small size in a big way. It embodies the essence of adventure in condensed form and, for that alone, it’s a standout in my book.

Maruti Suzuki Jimny rear

Need to Know – Maruti Suzuki Jimny Alpha/Alpha AT

Price: Rs 12.75 lakh/Rs 14.25 lakh (estimated)

Engine: 1,462 cc, in-line four, petrol
Max Power: 104.8 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque: 134.2 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual/four-speed automatic, selectable four-wheel drive
Suspension: Three-link rigid axle front and rear, with coil springs and dampers
Weight: 1,200/1,210 kg
Approach Angle: 36°
Breakover Angle: 24°
Departure Angle: 47°
Ground Clearance: 210 mm
Water Wading Depth: 600 mm

Also read: Maruti Suzuki Fronx Review


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia


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