Small and Super - Suzuki Jimny SJ413 Review

This is a second-generation Suzuki Jimny. Coincidentally, the day after I drove this car, Suzuki officially released images for the 2019 version of the Jimny. This Jimny is a small two-seater, three door, 4WD SUV. It’s actually very easy to drive. It’s also very Spartan, and 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.

Engine: Suzuki G13BB SOHC 16V I4 1298cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Drivetrain: Selectable 4WD
Second hand value (2018): ~RM25,000 – RM30,000

Walkaround and History

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.

Was the SJ413 Jimny ever assembled in Malaysia? No. The one we have here was most probably assembled in Bangkok, Thailand. The SJ413 has a short wheelbase of only 2,030mm. The Perodua Axia has a longer wheelbase of 2,450mm.


Is a short wheelbase great?
For an off-roader, yes. It prevents you from high centering.


What is high centering?
This is high centering…

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With a short wheelbase, the Jimny helps you whiz through tight and tricky terrains with ease. Of course, a short wheelbase and a tall body are nott great for high speed cornering and highway cruising. But those aren’t what the Jimny was made for. It was made to be a tiny nimble SUV.

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)

Another thing to do when selecting 4-wheel-drive on the Jimny is to lock the front Locking Hubs so they don’t 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.

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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.

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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.


Why bother switching from 4WD to 2WD for normal driving conditions?
To extend the life of the front tyres.

What is it like to drive?

Surprisingly the Jimny was easy to drive. Even easier than the Perodua Kancil with unassisted steering that most of used for our driver’s license. 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 that much gas to get the car rolling. It’s a nippy car with off-road capabilities.


Is it fast?
No. This isn’t a fast car. Well, I couldn’t tell exactly because the speedometer was broken. The needle was resting at 90km/h and would occasionally jump to 120km/h. Even the fuel and temperature gauge were not working on this one. The only information I had was how fast the engine was revving.


Is it comfortable?
No. The 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. #caprice It's fine for short distances and the SJ413 is no grand tourer.

Notice the two things under the bumper with the round ends?
Those are leaf springs.


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.


What do they look like?
Like this

Even at a standstill, the mighty Jimny was going at 90km/h

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 Jimny. It’s not driver oriented, premium, or luxurious. It’s a utility vehicle.

Checking Out the Engine Bay

Prior to driving the Jimny, I was expecting a tiny diesel engine powering the car. Turns out it had a 1.3L naturally aspirated petrol engine instead. Accessing the engine bay requires one extra step since the hood release is located inside the glovebox. 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.

If the SJ413 Jimny seems bare bone and bare minimum to you, 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.

It’s a 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. Good decision.


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. Definitely not safe. Exercise extreme caution when driving

Door straps and wind down windows

Final Thoughts

Nimble and easy to drive. Simple and easy to care for. Some accessories like the door handles are brittle. Bare bone mini jeep with an adorable and tough appearance.

Are there rust issues?
Yes of course. If you’re shopping for an SJ413, be sure to have a very good look on the underside.

Prices in the used car market range from RM25,000 to RM30,000.

If I were to get an off-roader for myself, it would be a Jimny.


What do you think about this one?

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