First-ever Suzuki Jimny 5-door impresses on epic Botswana road trip

Published Nov 22, 2023


By: Mpho Mahlangu

After spending what was a memorable weekend in an exclusive pre-launch road trip to the Jimny Gathering in Clarens in the all-new Jimny 5-door, we were quite excited to finally attend the national media launch of the newcomer, on another epic road trip that would take us into Botswana.

Our three-day journey began with a short late afternoon flight from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg to Polokwane, where our trusted steeds awaited us while receiving some TLC before we’d embark on our trek the following morning.

Early the next morning, the hotel parking lot was glimmering with a wide variety of colorful Jimnys that were prepped for what lay ahead. Noteworthy, the larger 5-door Jimny boasts an assortment of new model-specific colours which include Sizzling Red Metallic, Bluish Black Pearl, Celestial Blue Pearl Metallic and Granite Gray Metallic. There are also other new colours which are available both on 3-door and 5-door Jimnys.

So, what differentiates the 5-door Jimny from its 3-door sibling? Apart from the obvious addition of two extra doors, the Jimny 5-door sees an increase in wheelbase to 2,590mm, and an increase of 340mm to the overall length to a total of 3,820mm. Interestingly, the width and height have been kept the same, at 1,645mm and 1,720mm respectively. Sitting behind my own driving position proved to be rather impressive as I had more than sufficient head, leg and foot room.

The added practicality of the Jimny 5-door is further evident in its luggage capacity. Boasting 211 litres of boot space, an increase of 126L over the 3-door Jimny, my driving partner and I had no complaints when it came to loading our luggage for our two-night trip.

We pointed our Jimny 5-door towards the Platjan border for a drive of roughly two and a half hours which consisted of a mix of badly maintained and pothole riddled roads and gravel roads.

The Jimny 5-door is powered by the same 1.5-litre engine as in its 3-door sibling, producing 75kW and 130Nm of torque. Throughout the first stint which took us to the border, the little, characterful Jimny handled most road imperfections impressively well. You’d expect the large potholes to result in quite a jarring driving experience, but this wasn’t the case in fact.

My driving partner and I opted for the 5-speed manual transmissions, and we were both pleased with our choice. It is often spoken of in the motoring fraternity that Suzuki produces some of the most pleasant manual transmissions and this is certainly the case in the Jimny 5-door. From the clutch action to the actual throw of each gear, the little Jimny offers quite an enjoyable driving experience.

Noteworthy, the Suzuki Jimny 5-door is fitted with AllGrip Pro, a newer version of the AllGrip system. The newer version essentially adds electronic assistance which includes selective braking on wheels which don’t have traction, thus simulating a traditional differential lock.

Of course, on offer is a transfer box with 2H, 4H, and 4 Low range modes. Further off-roading assistance aids on 5-door models come in the form of Hill Descent Control, Hill Assist and Brake Assistance.

We managed to use all the various aids as we traversed through various challenging terrains, such as thick and loose sand and steep and rocky inclines and descents. It’s quite remarkable to see just how the Jimny 5-door made light work of everything thrown at it.

Further aiding the Jimny’s off-roading prowess is its 210mm ground clearance, 36 degree approach angle, 24 degree breakover angle and 47 degree departure angle.

Some of the standard fitment niceties which we enjoyed on our road trip thanks to the GLX model we opted for include a leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, a larger and newer 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, automatic climate control and 6 airbags.

A small gripe which I experienced is the lack of decent enough storage bins in the cabin. The door bins are far too small to fit cups or bottles in, and the cupholders are situated more towards the rear, as though they cater for rear passengers instead of front passengers.

The lack of a centre console armrest also makes for somewhat of an uncomfortable driving position on longer journeys. Gripes aside, the Jimny 5-door is a well-rounded and capable off-road vehicle.


With the now added practicality of two extra doors, decent rear occupant space and sufficient boot space, the ‘grown up’ Jimny makes for a compelling case in attracting either an entirely new buyer, or in attracting existing 3-door Jimny owners to opt for the larger sibling.

The Suzuki Jimny 5-door is priced as follows:

Suzuki Jimny 5-door GL manual – R429,900

Suzuki Jimny 5-door GLX manual – R457,900

Suzuki Jimny 5-door GLX auto – R479,00

Pricing is inclusive of a 5-year/ 200 000km promotional warranty, 4-year/ 60 000km service plan.

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