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Auto Jimny is as sweet as the manual

2019-11-23 00:00

Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GLX AllGrip auto

Price: R336 900

Our public servants spend a lot of our tax money on freeway upgrades, yet traffic jams never become less intense because expanding the capacity of a highway always sees that extra lane fill up in a matter of months.

This increasingly has motorists turning to automatic cars like the Jimny GLX auto, which is R20 000 more than the manual GLX. But is it worth it?

The baby G-Class from Japan stole Mzansi’s heart (and mine) last year, but I had to wait a year to test-drive the automatic. This was not surprising, as the waiting list for a new Jimny is nine to 12 months.

Apart from the gearbox, the auto GLX has the same specs and gadgets as the GLX manual – there’s a more basic manual version too, called the GA.

The GLX spec is comprehensive, with LED headlights, aircon, electric windows, airbags (two), handsome alloy wheels, ABS brakes, stability control, cruise control and bluetooth, to name but a few.

There’s also an attractive and user-friendly infotainment touchscreen, but only two speakers, so the sound quality is just okay.

Like the manual car, it’s a delight to drive and, as far as possessions go, it’s reminiscent of the saying: “If you think money can’t buy happiness, you don’t know where to shop.”

Where automatic gearboxes now have up to 10 forward gears – the Ford Mustang is an example – you might think the Jimny’s four-speed box had been short-changed.

At 120km/h, the engine runs at about 3 600rpm in top gear, which isn’t leisurely, but isn’t too busy either.

The gear shifts are smooth and, during our test, it chose the right gear for the job without being indecisive. Suzuki’s official average fuel consumption figure is 6.8 litres/100km, and I managed 7.3.

Yes, the auto version’s price premium is considerable, but it equates to just 6% – which is justifiable when it makes stop-go traffic more bearable.

And when you finally take it off the road for a bush or mountain adventure, it will be easier to drive in the rough than the manual.

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December 8 2019