Possibly the most talked about car launch of 2023 is Maruti’s utterly eye-catching Jimny. And we got access to the first media drive of the Jimny recently and here’s a quick verdict after spending a day driving it on and off the road.
For all those asking, yes this is the 2023 interpretation of the iconic Gypsy, that attained cult status for decades in India. And we aren’t complaining. This five-door, 4X4 off-roader is easy on the eyes. While the Maruti Gypsy of the past might have been sans lifestyle frills, the Jimny, built atop a signature ladder frame chassis, has established itself as the ultimate lifestyle offroader, which is great under the hood, in terms of performance, as well as inside the cabin.
Here are five things we loved about the Jimny:
Design – With the signature five-slot grille and Gypsy-referenced headlamps, the straight belt line and the stable stance, along with the ample ground clearance of 210 mm, this is a very good-looking car. The vertical windows are specially designed to let dust and snow slide off, in off-road conditions. The clamshell hood only adds to Jimny’s overall charm.
Dimensions – Our first impression is that the dimensions of this SUV are just right. Not too big, just the right size to be commanding enough on the road, just the right ground clearance to be able to step in without a climb. The boot space is ample as we stuffed in our big bags and camera equipment. Testing out the backseat for space, we found it comfortable for two adults but a squeeze for three. The size and weight ratio is outstanding, making it a veritable performer.
Inside – In keeping with its DNA of being a quintessential lifestyle SUV, road-tripping would be a breeze with the comfort levels of this cabin. Look at the dashboard and it explicitly references some of the hard keys and instrument cluster analogue dials of the Gypsy. Apple CarPlay connected without a glitch on the 9-inch touchscreen, the same as the Grand Vitara that we drove a couple of months ago. In terms of driver comfort, it scores high on ergonomics, long drive and several sessions of off-roading were rendered easy due to the seat comfort. The windshield offers greater visibility and reduces blind spots. Maruti has placed the Jimny’s 4X4 on the floor, in the central console, next to the gear stick.
Offroad capabilities – As mentioned earlier, this is one sturdy car, thanks to its ladder frame chassis. We tried out a host of off-road experiences such as wading through water and going over rocky river beds with massive boulders. We tested out the inbuilt Hill Hold Assist and Hill Descent Control in exercises that required me to control the car, at very low speeds, down almost vertical slopes. In the company of Maruti’s specialised instructors, we checked out the approach and departure angles. Interesting to note that on the off-road experiences, we did try out both the automatic and the manual versions, and to our surprise, the former performed excellently. Keeping that in mind, we would probably opt for the automatic version for daily city driving.
Drive experience – At the very core of the Jimny, is Suzuki’s ALLGRIP PRO, which is a four-wheel drive on-demand concept. On multiple occasions, I switched effortlessly from 2H two-wheel drive to 4H four-wheel drive depending on the road conditions, to maximise the performance of the car. I started my morning on Dehradun’s smooth mountain roads and the car handles the road with ease. Turn on the four-wheel drive mode and you can feel the difference in performance.
Following the first drive of the Jimny, we can safely conclude that Maruti has a winner here and is likely to give Mahindra Thar a run for its money. Our verdict is that the Jimny will see many takers in India, after having sold 3.2 million units in 199 countries. All this is thanks to its iconic status, performance, overall design and great drive experience.