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Factory 2019 Suzuki Jimny GLX 4AT vs Modified 2022 Jimny GL 4AT: When Tough Just Simply Ain’t Enough

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.

Suzuki Philippines launched the all-new Jimny at the 2019 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS)

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.

The Jimny display at the Suzuki pavilion during the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show (TMS).

R-Spec modified Jimny at the Ariake Exhibition Hall during the 2019 TMS.

DAMD modified Jimny at the Open Road Exhibition during the 2019 TMS.

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.

The one that started it all: 1970 Suzuki LJ10 Jimny, which was marketed in some countries as the “Beaver”.

First generation Jimny LJ-series (1970-1980)

Second generation Jimny SJ-series (1981-1997)

Third generation Jimny JB-series (1998-2017)

Fourth generation Jimny (2018-present)

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!

Dante Reyes’ 2022 Suzukj Jimny GL 4AT fresh from the modifications at Autobot Autoworks-Offroad (Photo courtesy of Autobot/Dante Reyes)

Dante’s GL rides a bit taller with slightly higher ground clearance because of the modified suspension and fatter wheels and tires.

The modified Jungle Green Jimny GL looks more rugged and ready for rough terrain compared to our two-tone Kinetic Yellow GLX with black roof.

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.

Dante was able to get a Solid Jungle Green Jimny GL a few days before the price increase.

Except for some accessories and color choices, the Jimny GL and GLX variants are basically the same.

Jimny’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) body structure absorbs impacts to protect the occupants in case of collision.

Suzuki engineers also included safety features to protect pedestrians in case of collision.

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.

Our Jimny GLX is equipped with factory-installed LED headlamps with washers.

While both GLX and GL variants both have 9-inch TFT touchscreen displays for the infotainment system…

… only the GLX comes with the display for off-road functions like clinometer, altimeter, barometer, and compass.

Our GLX comes equipped with an automatic climate control system.

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”.

Our Kinetic Yellow GLX looks cute and capable while Dante’s modified Jungle Green GL looks rugged and tough.

You’re bound to see different personalities – the green one looks ready to take on the wilderness while the yellow one’s ready to roam the concrete jungle. (Photo by Shawie Dizon)

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.

Dante initially wanted to modify his Jimny GL with a “Little D” kit but a funny comment made him change his mind.

His Suzuki mini 4WD SUV looked tougher and more rugged after Autobot finished with the modifications. (Photo by Shawie Dizon)

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.

Autobot removed the stock springs and shocks from the 3-link rigid axle suspension of Dante’s Jimny…

… and replaced them with ARB Old Man Emu 4×4 suspension components. (Photos courtesy of Autobot/Dante Reyes)

Autobot mounted meaty BF Goodrich A/T KO2 235/75R15 tires to 15″ Dean Colorado alloy wheels…

… to give Dante’s Jimny GL more ground clearance and a tougher stance. (Photos courtesy of Autobot/Dante Reyes)

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.

Body-colored Hamer front bumper, Apio tactical grille, four Rigid LED cube lights with covers and PIAA LED headlamps give this GL a new, distinct and more aggressive look.

Additional underhood insulation minimizes engine noise and keeps the engine heat away from the hood surface. (Photo by Dante Reyes)

V-land sequential LED tail lamps in the body-colored Hamer bumpers change the look at the back while the Hamer roof rack added utility and function.

“My big brother is in the Army. He’a a military Hummer” would be a nice caption here.

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 touchscreen head unit replaced the factory 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Underneath the door cards/sidings hide upgraded 3-way speakers and additional sound deadening.

A pair of tweeter on pods at each A-pillar handle the higher tones and voices of Dante’s favorite music.

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.

Dante loaded the interior of his Jimny with several Exea cupholders, phone holders, 3D deep-dish floor mats, and other accessories.

DTE PedalBox, which is connected to Dante’s phone via an app, helps improve throttle response and acceleration…

… of the Suzuki K15B DOHC 16V VVT 4-cylinder that pumps out 105 hp and 138 Nm of torque. (Photo by Dante Reyes)

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.

Aside from the abovementioned 3-link rigid axle suspension system, a robust ladder frame chassis…

… 37º approach, 28º ramp brake over, and 49º departure angles…

… and a reliable 4WD system with low range transfer gear…

… comprise the Suzuki’s All Grip Pro system that allows these Jimnys to tackle any terrain. (Photo by Shawie Dizon)

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.

We had a lot of fun comparing our stock yellow GLX to Dante’s modified green GL. (Photo by Shawie Dizon)

We began to thoroughly enjoy our 15,000+ kilometer GLX… (Photo by Shawie Dizon)

.. as we got to drive it more often.

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.

The longer we look at it and learn more about the Jimny’s engineering and features…

… and the longer we spend time behind the wheel…

… the more we begin to appreciate it and fall in love with it. If only we can keep this Kinetic Yellow GLX in our garage much longer, we’d be in a Suzuki wonderland!


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.)

Contact Details

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)

Email: helpdesk@suzuki.com.ph

Autobot Autoworks-Offroad

65 Road 20, Barangay Bahay Toro, Project 8,

Quezon City, 1106 Metro Manila

Contact Nos.: 0917 319 8840