Fish out of water?
We have had the Maruti Jimny in our long-term garage for about three months now and it has been quite a bit of fun so far. Among your slick crop of SUVs, hatchbacks and now the occasional sedan, the Jimny looks a bit out of place but that’s not fazed it one bit at all. Whether it’s for its boxy looks, larger-than-life size or bright colours, the Jimny has been turning heads since I got behind the wheel and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.
As a city car, there are some ups and downs that I have observed over the last month or so. It’s compact and has high edges which means, it is quite easy to judge when you need to slink through traffic or find that one spot in the front of the line that’s been opened up by someone jumping the gun and this despite the steering being vague and having to go 3.5 turns lock to lock.
The last point was initially a nightmare especially if you are making a U-turn on a crowded road and have impatient two and three-wheelers behind you. However, you do get used to it and for the most, I’ve found that it’s better to go wide or find a larger spot ahead to make the turn. I’ve been channelling my inner Dr Asthana/ Dr Vishwanathan/ Dr J Rama/ Dr Ashok by laughing off my predicament at having to make four-point and sometimes five-point turns.
When in doubt go flat out
The old-school SUV nature works in Jimny’s favour as I’ve never had to brake for bumps, potholes or even the mild speed breakers. It’s been gobbling up the surface challenges with an unmatched aplomb. However, because the rear is usually unladen, it does tend to skip quite a bit if you attack hard and fast. I had to learn that the hard way when I missed an unmarked speed breaker at considerable speed and briefly tested Jimny’s aero-gliding skills. The result of that was a messy boot, BP for me and Jimny carrying on as if nothing much had happened.
I’ve had quite a few struggles with the extra hard and vague manual gearbox. There’s usually a struggle to find a second when coming back down the H and at least once in two days, I’ve had to inch forward and re-engage reverse to prevent the gears from grinding. The car is inching to its magical 10,000km mark and hopefully, a comprehensive first service should address that issue.
Maruti claims a combined 17kmpl for the Jimny but in a lot of the city driving I have been experiencing, it’s been between 11kmpl to 12.4kmpl, the latter of which has come with a lot of cajoling and measured driving. I can sense a lot of potential for more efficiency once the kilometres starts to roll up on the odo, hopefully something we can tell you about it before the car finishes its time in the CarWale garage.
Next up on the list is what the Jimny is like out on the highway - mileage, ride quality - the whole nine yards. We also have something historic in mind with the Jimny that will appeal to those of you who grew up in India over the last four decades, do stick around for that!
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi
Make: Maruti Suzuki
Model and variant: Jimny 1.5 Alpha MT Dual Tone
Kilometres this month: 1200km
Fuel efficiency: 12.4kmpl
Price when tested: Rs 15.05 lakh (ex-showroom)