The price of upgrading a new Suzuki Jimny into a 4×4 beast equates to just over R48,000.
This, combined with the base price of the Jimny, makes it a relatively-affordable way to get into “4×4-ing”.
To find out more about upgrading a Jimny into a strong 4×4 contender, we reached out to Des Sol.
The KwaZulu-Natal-based company specialises in aftermarket Suzuki Jimny parts and know a few things about going off-road.
The starting point is the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny, which hits the sweet-spot in the styling, features, and price departments.
The boxy exterior and bright colours make it unique, while improved build quality and modern features mean daily driving this Jimny is pleasant, too.
What made the Jimny shine, however, was its off-road abilities – headlined by the Allgrip Pro 4×2, 4×4 high, and 4×4 low range transfer case and ladder frame chassis fitted to every model.
Additionally, the range offers a rigid axle suspension system, a brake limited slip differential, hill hold and descent control, aggressive approach (37-degrees) and departure (49-degrees) angles, and an impressive 210mm of ground clearance.
For this article, we will use the “mid-range” Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GLX AllGrip as the base vehicle, which has a South African starting price of R351,900.
Powering this model is a 1.5-litre, in-line four-cylinder petrol engine that generates 75kW and 130Nm – paired with a five-speed manual transmission.
It measures 3,625mm long, 1,645mm wide, and 1,670mm tall – and has a kerb weight of 1,095kg.
Des Sol sells a range of accessories made for the Suzuki Jimny.
The company’s general manager, Rob Godfrey, provided useful tips for any aspiring Jimny customiser.
According to Godfrey, the radial cup protectors – at R1,700 – are the first upgrades any owner must do.
“The JB74’s (4th-generation Jimny) radial arms are the lowest point on the chassis and the first to get damaged,” he said.
If they are damaged, they are nearly impossible to reshape.
Another good part to replace is the factory suspension, especially if you consider overlanding with your Jimny.
“The original suspension is very soft and the vehicle tends to yaw and wallow on the open road when subjected to additional weight,” said Godfrey.
The company offers a 50mm lift kit (R14,500) to tackle this problem, which also improves the Jimny’s approach, break-over, and departure angles.
The next step is to fit 32mm wheel spacers (R3,200), which increase the vehicle’s track width. The Jimny has a much narrower track than most four-wheel-drive vehicles on the market.
“Increasing your track width by installing wheel spacers allows for a more comfortable driving experience off-road and adds stability to your ride on-road.”
For those owners looking to take their Jimny into more serious terrains, the company recommends installing a differential breather kit (R1,800).
“If you intend to traverse streams and rivers on a regular basis, the addition of a breather kit is essential,” said Godfrey.
The standard breather inlets on the Jimny are mounted at a low point in the chassis, restricting its maximum wading depth to around 320mm, in fear of mixing the differential oil with water.
“The aftermarket breather kit, air inlet, and air outlet are located inside the highest point in the engine bay – ensuring that your differentials are constantly fed with clean, dry air.”
The last mechanical addition will then be front and rear recovery points (R1,500), as Godfrey said that trying to use the factory Jimny tow hooks as 4×4 recovery points can bend the brackets.
After all the necessary mechanical improvements have been made, who wouldn’t want their Jimny to look more rugged?
Rock sliders will protect the original plastic side skirts with carbon-steel sills that offer greater resistance to the elements.
“Well-designed and engineered roof racks allow you to easily attach different types of overlanding gear to the rack – such as jerry cans, ammo boxes, awnings, and rooftop tents,” said Godfrey.
Before you buy a roof rack, however, it is recommended that you check the weight your vehicle can safely carry on its roof.
In terms of the new bumper, it offers an improved look and protects your vehicle from obstacles in the bush.
These bumpers add mounting spots for additional exterior lights, too, while also accepting a winch.
“This bumper also comes with front recovery point as standard, for when you need to pretend your Jimny got stuck.”
The total price for all the above-mentioned aftermarket accessories equals R48,150.
Along with the price of the vehicle (R351,900), the total cost of the vehicle and parts comes to R400,050.
A video of Des Sol’s Jimnys in action can be seen here.