Driving Experience of Maruti Jimny
To kick things off, if you’re someone who thrives on speed, the Maruti Jimny might not be your first choice. It’s not a fan of being pushed to its limits, responding with loud engine noises and a sense of uncertainty. Attempting speeds over 100kmph on busy highways demands heightened vigilance due to its boxy design, which makes it about as aerodynamic as a brick. Additionally, its steering keeps you guessing, requiring constant minor adjustments at medium and high speeds to stay on course.
Nevertheless, once you get accustomed to its idiosyncrasies and steering dynamics, life behind the wheel becomes smoother, and you can maintain a consistent speed. However, building up speed isn’t its strong suit.
I can’t help but miss the turbocharged power and extra gears from my previous cars. The lack of gears keeps the engine at high RPMs when cruising at high speeds, leading to decreased performance and fuel efficiency. Paired with a modest 40L tank, you can expect a range of only 350 to 450 kilometers. Long-distance journeys will necessitate frequent fuel stops.
In city driving, things are more manageable, but there’s still a noticeable lack of immediate power delivery when needed.
With my AT 215 tires, braking performance has improved compared to the stock tires, enhancing high-speed stability. However, this has also made the ride slightly harsher, resulting in a bit more bounce over speed bumps.
Off-road, all complaints vanish. The Jimny devours rough terrain like a miniature tank, making it feel incredibly effortless. It possesses the uncanny ability to make challenging obstacles seem like a walk in the park. The AT tires contribute to this advantage, offering excellent traction on loose soil without excessive wheel spin or digging, unlike the stock tires.
Passenger Experience The Jimny wasn’t designed for luxury cruising, but converting the 3-door model into a 5-door one has made it more practical and marginally comfortable for passengers. Compared to the Thar and Gurkha, the Jimny is significantly more accommodating to its passengers, although it still falls short of typical crossovers in many aspects.
The front seats are just wide enough for someone of average build, but larger passengers may find long journeys uncomfortable. Lumbar and thigh support are lacking both in the front and rear seats, causing discomfort to set in around the 2-3 hour mark. The rear passengers experience slightly more jolts from the suspension, especially with the AT tires.
Roof rails, while adding utility, can generate a booming sound when speeds exceed 110kmph, making high-speed cruising less comfortable. Nonetheless, driving comfortably at such speeds is a rarity.
Thanks to its body-on-frame chassis and suspension setup, passengers prone to motion sickness might find the Jimny challenging, harkening back to the days of less refined rides. However, this remains to be confirmed.
Practicality Having five doors and a usable boot already makes the Jimny more practical than a pure off-road vehicle. However, it only brings it up to par with standard crossovers to some extent. You may need to install additional storage solutions and accessories to enhance practicality, such as storage organizers and mounts for your gadgets.
After driving the Jimny, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of basic creature comforts, which we often take for granted in modern cars. For instance, I’m still searching for soft padding on the driver-side door armrest, where my elbow often rests, causing discomfort due to the hard plastic.
A question for other Jimny owners: Have you experienced a significant amount of water flowing down the windshield when braking in the rain?
Functionality of Maruti Jimny
The Jimny comes reasonably equipped with modern features, but considering its price, some aspects feel a bit basic. The music system, in particular, disappointed me. The four speakers are lightweight and produce a mere 20 watts at peak, with the head unit rated at about 15 watts. If you enjoy a rich audio experience in your car, you’ll need to invest in a substantial audio system upgrade.
The straight, non-angled screen took some time to get used to, highlighting the importance of screens that are slightly angled toward the driver. The auto headlights are overly sensitive, often staying on longer than necessary, which can be confusing when using Google Maps in bright daylight. I’ve found it easier to disable the auto headlight feature, in contrast to the seamless operation of a similar feature in a Kia.
However, the screen size is decent, and it offers most modern features you’d expect.
It might seem like I’m venting my frustrations with the Jimny, and to some extent, I am. This stems from my years of driving different vehicles, particularly turbocharged hatchbacks and 160+hp cars, which redefine the driving experience.
In contrast, the Jimny doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, it pays homage to the cars of the ’90s while incorporating modern conveniences. It offers a bouncy, pitchy ride but seamlessly integrates features like wireless smartphone connectivity, six airbags, ESP, and ABS.
I’d liken owning a Jimny to having a Cooper S, a Mustang, or an M car. These cars aren’t perfect for everyday driving; they can be harsh over speed bumps, and you’ll worry about every motorcycle approaching your rearview mirror. However, once you’re in their element, they shine in a league of their own, bringing an indescribable joy.
In its own realm, the Jimny stands out and brings a smile that’s priceless, not only to you but also to onlookers who still admire it on the road.
Furthermore, the Jimny offers numerous customization options, including remapping, turbo kits, throttle controllers, suspension upgrades, brakes, tires, and more. It’s one of the few cars that lets you express your individuality. Each Jimny owner can make their vehicle unique, a rarity in our market.
So, should you make it your daily driver? I believe that if any of the following points resonate with you, then the Jimny is a worthy choice:
- You want a classic car feel with modern amenities.
- You desire an SUV that lets you express your uniqueness.
- You’re interested in a collectible car to pass down through generations.
- You’re an off-roading enthusiast.
If any of these points align with your preferences, you’ll learn to live with the Jimny’s quirks and appreciate it. If none of them resonate with you, you might find it a compromise.”