Review: Suzuki Jimny SJ413 - Small and Super

This is a Suzuki Jimny SJ413 - a small, three door, part-time 4WD SUV. 

The “4” in SJ413 indicates the number of cylinders and “13” indicates a 1.3L engine swept volume. ”SJ” indicates a revised body style as compared to the earlier “LJ” Jimny.

Although I didn’t have the chance to try this off-road, the man who owns this Jimny finds it to be very capable and very versatile for his small plantation.

The G13BB engine in the Jimny has multi point fuel injection, has a single cam, runs on petrol, and is naturally aspirated. This time around, I have to thank my friend, Tasnim Jamal, for getting me sorted out with this Jimny that belongs to his father.

Suzuki Jimny SJ413 overview:

EngineSuzuki G13BB SOHC 16V inline-4
Engine displacement1,298 cc
Transmission5-speed manual
DrivetrainPart-time 4WD
Second-hand value (2018)~RM 25,000 - RM 30,000

Somewhat related: “The Reasonable Mid-Engine Sports Car” -1990 Toyota MR2 SW20

A brief history of Suzuki in Malaysia

You can no longer buy new Suzuki cars in Malaysia. They pulled out of the market in 2016. We had Suzuki Assemblers Malaysia in Prai (started in 1972), but they’re no longer around. In 2004, DRB-HICOM was awarded the Suzuki franchise for the Malaysian market and they established Suzuki Malaysia Automobile (SMA).

At one point, the Suzuki Swift was assembled at DRB’s local assembly plant in Pekan, Pahang. SMA pulled out of the Malaysia automotive market in 2016. The closest thing you can get to a brand-new Suzuki car today would be the Proton Ertiga which is also known as the Suzuki Ertiga in India and Indonesia.

*JULY 2021 EDIT: The Suzuki Swift Sport is currently sold by the Naza Group

Was the SJ413 Jimny ever assembled in Malaysia? No. The one we have here was most probably assembled in Bangkok, Thailand.

Dimensions of the Suzuki Jimny SJ413

Length4,010 mm
Width1,460 mm
Height1,830 mm
Wheelbase2,375 mm

The SJ413 has a short wheelbase of only 2,375 mm. That's shorter than the wheelbase of the Perodua Axia (2,450mm).

A short wheel base isn't great for highway driving. Pair that with a tall ride height and you have a car that easily tips over. But that's not really important for what the Suzuki Jimny is made for.

Its short wheelbase makes it an excellent car for off-roading activities, since it doesn't 'high-centre' easily. Of course, a short wheel base only works well when the vehicle has short overhangs too.

High-centering - getting the car stuck on its belly, rendering all four wheels useless. Image Source

The small size of the Suzuki Jimny SJ413 helps you whiz through tight and tricky terrains with ease.

The Suzuki Jimny SJ413 has part-time 4WD

The Jimny does come with a manually selectable 4-wheel-drive system (transfer case). You have the option of going 2H, 4H, and 4L. I was only driving through the peaceful town of Jerantut so I just used 2H.

What do those numbers and letters mean?

2H: High range 2-wheel-drive (normal driving conditions)

4H: High range 4-wheel-drive (slightly high speed off-road eg. Snow, ice, mud, slippery surfaces)

4L: Low range 4-wheel-drive (low speed off-road conditions eg. Thick mud, sand, shallow waters, steep hills)

And if you need more traction, another thing to do when selecting 4-wheel-drive on the Jimny is to lock the front Locking Hubs so that they do not free wheel.

The hub looks something like this up close (see picture below). Only on this Jimny, it was written “Free” instead of “4x2” and “Lock” instead of “4x4”.

Locking hubs are not locking diffs. It just lets you connect and disconnect the drive axle shaft to the outer wheel hub.

Image Source

Look at the diagram below and you will see that the locking hub either pushes the SLIDING GEAR inward to engage with the DRIVE SHAFT GEAR or pulls it outward to disengage.

Image Source

Does this give a mechanical disadvantage? Well, if you want more direct power to the front wheels, I believe a permanent 4-wheel-drive system would be better and stronger.

What is it like to drive?

Surprisingly, the Suzuki Jimny SJ413 is easy to drive. Even easier than the Perodua Kancil with unassisted steering. The Jimny does come with hydraulic power steering and the clutch is rather easy to operate.

Thanks to the multi-point fuel injection, you don’t need to give it that much gas to get the car rolling. It’s a nippy car with off-road capabilities. And thanks to the hydraulic power steering, things are not so intense with this super samurai.

Is it comfortable?

Not at all. The Suzuki Jimny uses leaf springs on the front and rear. You can’t coast over speed bumps without hearing a loud ‘bang’ from the front quickly followed by another ‘bang’ from the back. It is inarguably a durable setup at the expense of comfort.

The Suzuki Jimny SJ413 is equipped with leaf springs all around

What are leaf springs?

Springs that look like leaves. Usually found in trucks, SUVs, vans, and most body-on-frame type vehicles. Even the Proton Arena has leaf springs in the rear. Modern utility vehicles usually run on semi-elliptic leaf springs. 

Types of leaf springs

On the inside, the car isn’t its original state. The seats are not SJ413 Jimny seats and the steering wheel is from an earlier generation Suzuki Jimny. It’s not driver oriented, premium, or luxurious. It’s a utility vehicle and it shows.

A broken speedometer meant the Jimny was doing 90 km/h even at standstill

Not original Jimny seats

Checking Out the Engine Bay

Under the hood of the Jimny is a peppy 1.3-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine. Accessing the engine bay requires one extra step since the hood release is located inside the glovebox.

The hood release is located in the glovebox

Complete those 2 steps and you get access to the basic 4-cylinder petrol engine with a single cam and no variable valve timing. Everything seems accessible for do-it-yourself maintenance.

I don’t think you even need to jack the car up for an engine oil and oil filter change. 

Talking about jacking the car up, the jackscrew for the SJ413 is located in the engine bay area. Almost nothing vital is placed near the exhaust manifold area - very good.

Oh, and if you thought this was bare-bones and minimalist, there was an older SJ30 Jimny with a 3-cylinder 540cc 2-stroke 33hp engine called the LJ50. The G13BB engine has a maximum power output of 85hp and maximum torque of 115N.m. Sufficient for a car that weighs around 960 kilograms.

More Photos

You have the option of putting backseats in the SJ413 or using it as a storage area. This one is used to carry fruits most of the time.

Small Hazard Light switch behind the steering wheel

Make shift seatbelt. Please do not report to JPJ. This is only temporary.

Door straps and wind down windows.

Final Thoughts

The Suzuki Jimny is nimble and easy to drive. It is also mechanically simple and easy to care for. Some accessories like the door handles are brittle.

It is a bare-bone mini jeep with an adorable and tough appearance. One thing you will have to put up with is the tough ride of the all-around leaf springs.

Of course, there will be rust issues, just like most older cars. If you’re shopping for a Suzuki Jimny SJ413, be sure to have a very good look on the underside.

What do you think about this one?

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