The 4th-generation Suzuki Jimny debuted in 2018 to such high expectation and huge demand around the world that when it was launched here in 2019, the automobile arm of Suzuki Philippines, Inc. (SPH) announced that there was a one-year waiting list. Suzuki Auto had just one media test drive unit, a Kinetic Yellow 2019 Jimny GLX 4AT but because of the intense clamor for it, there was also a long line of media outlets waiting to get their hands on it.
While we waited for our turn, we went to the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show (TMS) at the Tokyo Big Sight in the Ariake/Aomi districts and saw that the new Jimny was quite popular in Japan, too, judging by the number of aftermarket accessories that were available for it. Owners were so crazy about their Jimnys that some were modified to look like a mini Mercedes-Benz Gelandenwagen or Land Rover Defender. When we got back, we waited for our turn to review the Jimny but 2019 ended, COVID-19 came in 2020 and continued on into 2021.
Better Late Than Never
While waiting for our turn at the Jimny’s wheel, we looked at the previous three generations of Suzuki’s mini four-wheel drive (4WD) sport utility vehicle (SUV). From the intrepid go-anywhere first-generation LJ10 that surprised their competitors in 1970 to the refined second-generation SJ30 that came in 1981 until the modern third-generation JB23 that bowed in 1998, the Jimny proved to be a highly-capable mini 4WD SUV that has been loved by casual and serious off roaders alike.
After a long three-year wait, we finally got our turn to test drive the Jimny in February 2022. However, because the media test drive was the same 2019 Kinetic Yellow GLX 4AT unit – now with more than 15,000 kilometers on its odometer – we had to have a different angle with our test drive story and review. Lucky for us, a good friend and former colleague from our corporate days, Dante Reyes, had just finished having the modifications made on his Jungle Green 2022 Jimny GL 4AT. A short comparison between our factory stock GLX and his highly-modified GL would be an ideal and different story!
Beating the Price Increase
Dante narrated that when he felt the need to get himself a Jimny, he learned that there was going to be a price increase because of the continuous strong demand. He inquired with several Suzuki Auto dealerships that would gladly accept his deposit but couldn’t promise a delivery date or if he can get beat the new price. Finally, he found a sales representative from Suzuki Auto Alabang who offered to deliver a Jungle Green Jimny at the old price but there was a catch – it was a GL variant instead of the GLX that Dante wanted.
The difference between the GL and the GLX variants are mostly about the trim and accessories. Over the GL, our GLX has the LED headlights with washers; the 9-inch multimedia infotainment touchscreen display with programmed clinometer, compass, altimeter and barometer; automatic climate control system; and the two-tone paint finish, i.e. black roof over Solid Kinetic Yellow (like our demo unit), Metallic Brisk Blue, or Metallic Chiffon Ivory. “I went for the GL since I was going to accessorize my new Jimny anyway”, Dante retorted.
Back to the Nineties
By getting his new Jimny before the price increase, Dante realized a substantial savings of around P62,000 and saved another P68,000 by getting a GL instead of a GLX. “I’ve always personalized my vehicles since the nineties”, he recalled. “For a while, I wasn’t able to do that because I became quite busy being a corporate executive and providing for my family. But now that I’m focused on my own business ventures and my kids are following their own respective successful careers, I have the time and the means to indulge in my automotive passions”.
Dante continued, “Initially, I wanted to turn my Jimny into a Little D humorously thinking that it could also mean ‘Little Dante’ aside from ‘Little Defender’. But when I heard a joke that Little D meant little d**k to some people, I decided to forfeit my deposit for the Little D kit and pursue another look for my Suzuki.” He took the Jimny to Autobot Autoworks-Offroad in Project 8, Quezon City where it underwent a serious transformation from “cute and capable” to mighty muscular and tough.
If the Military Hummer Had a “Mini Me”…
Autobot went to town with the mods on Dante’s Jimny. First, they removed the factory shocks and coil springs and beefed up the stock suspension with ARB Old Man Emu shocks, springs, caster bushing and Panhard bracket. They installed an Old Man Emu brake extension to clear the taller stance and then mounted B.F. Goodrich Baja Champion KO2 all-terrain (A/T) 235/75R15 tires on 15-inch Dean Colorado alloy wheels that resemble military steel wheels.
The factory front and rear bumpers were replaced with Hamer bumpers while the front 5-slot stock grille was replaced with an Apio tactical grille. These new parts were then color-matched to the Jungle Green body as were the fender flares, side mirrors and door handles. A Hamer roof rack was bolted onto the top while two sets of Rigid LED cube lights with covers, an LED winker lamp, and a pair of PIAA LED headlamps cut a bright swat through the dark for night driving safety. V-land sequential LED tail lamps add some pizzazz to the back while two sets of General all-weather base horns announce this Jimny’s approach.
More Mods Inside
Dante had Mickey Pascual of Mickey’s Auto Sound replace the factory 9-inch touchscreen infotainment head unit with a Pioneer Z6350BT system with wireless remote control and use the Jimny panel kit and USB harness. Additional sound deadening on the doors help quell road noise while a pair of Morel Virtus Nano three-way speakers, Focal twin subwoofers under the seats, and tweeter pods on the A-pillar provide clearer and more vibrant sounds with the help of a Helix 4-channel amplifier.
A Pioneer reversing camera helps Dante maneuver his Jimny in tight spaces while cup holders, mobile phone holders, door pockets from Exea, an armrest with cup holder, and deep-dish 3D floor mats help him enjoy his Suzuki’s interior more. A DTE PedalBox helps improve throttle response and acceleration to complement the 105 horsepower produced by the 1.5-liter K15B inline 4-cylinder engine that’s equipped with double overhead camshafts (DOHC), 16 valves (16V) and variable valve timing (VVT). Meanwhile, a hood insulation kit helps minimize engine noise and heat.
Driving Back Home
We didn’t have the time nor the inclination to take our stock GLX or Dante’s modified GL to the boondocks for some off-roading evaluation but if we did, we’re pretty sure that it would be fine, fun and fantastic, especially with the Jimny’s All Grip Pro system that includes a robust ladder frame, 3-link rigid axle suspension, 37º approach angle, 28º ramp brake over angle, 49º departure angle, and part-time 4WD system with low range transfer gear. We would have loved to explore the off-road capabilities of our stock GLX and modified GL and, because of their advanced off-road features, we’re sure that it’ll be a walk in the park for both Jimnys, especially with Dante’s taller modified GL.
After spending the better part of the day reminiscing about our respective corporate pasts, talking about our kids and our passion for cars, we said our goodbyes to our generous hosts, Dante and his lovely wife Lalaine, and drove away in our Jimny GLX demo unit. On the skyway, we could easily accelerate to the 60 km/h speed limit thanks to the K15B’s 138 Newton-meters of torque that is coursed through the 4-speed automatic transmission before being transferred to the ground via 15-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels shod in Dunlop AT20 Grand Trek 195/60R15 tires.
On our way home, we came across several other Jimnys, most of which were modified one way or another, probably to suit the owner’s style or budget, or both. We then speculated that not all of these owners will do what Dante lovingly did to his GL and not everyone will drive their capable Suzuki 4WD SUV off the beaten path and onto a wild adventure over rough and treacherous terrain. But we’re sure that they are loving every minute they are driving their Jimny, just like we are in our borrowed Kinetic Yellow GLX 4AT.
Model: 2019 Suzuki Jimny GLX 4AT / 2022 Suzuki Jimny GL 4AT
SRP (2022 prices): GLX 4AT – P1,285,000 / GL 4AT – P1,217,000
Engine type: Liquid-cooled K15B DOHC 16V VVT inline 4-cylinder
Displacement: 1462 cc
Max. Power: 105 hp (106 PS) @ 6000 rpm
Max. Torque: 138 Nm @ 4000-4400 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion
Suspension: Front and rear 3-link rigid axle
Brakes: Front discs, rear drums
Length: 3480 mm (until rear bumper) 3650 mm (with spare tire cover)
Width: 1645 mm
Height: 1725 mm
Wheelbase: 2250 mm
Ground clearance: 210 mm
Turning radius: 4.9 m
Approach angle: 37º
Departure angle: 49º
Ramp brake over angle: 28º
(Note: Some specifications of the modified 2022 Jimny GL have changed.)
Suzuki Philippines, Inc.
126 Progress Avenue, Carmelray Industrial Park 1,
Canlubang, Calamba City, 4028 Laguna
Tel. Nos. (02) 8462-5000, (049) 502-1458
24/7 Toll Free Customer Care Hotline #789854 (#SUZUKI)
65 Road 20, Barangay Bahay Toro, Project 8,
Quezon City, 1106 Metro Manila
Contact Nos.: 0917 319 8840