2021 Suzuki Jimny vs. the competition: Your other subcompact crossover SUV options
The latest generation Jimny was easily one of the most anticipated cars when it launched locally in 2019, with reserverations and wait times reportedly reaching over a year. Much of the hype surrounding the compact crossover related to its immensely attractive retro design cues, meant as a tribute of sorts the Jimnys of years past. The round LED headlights embedded in the grille pay tribute to the classic, first-gen model while the clamshell hood recalls both the second- and third-gen models. Even the placing of the taillights in the rear bumper mirrors that of the second-gen Jimny.
Despite having all the cues of a throwback vehicle, the 2021 Jimny—a 2020 carryover—still manages to be contemporary with plenty of modern flourishes including headlight washers, fender overriders, drip rail, and more. Inside, a touchscreen infotainment system brings the dashboard elements together, which also houses a climate control system. Another digital display for the vehicle's settings can be found between the two orange-on-black gauges.
Powertrain-wise, the all-new Jimny is available with a newly-developed 1.5-liter K15B engine that produces 100hp and 130Nm of torque, mated to either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual or gearbox.
Utilizing a newly-developed ladder frame, the Jimny body rides on three-link rigid axle suspensions with coil springs. Meanwhile, an AllGrip Pro part-time, four-wheel-drive system with low-range transfer gear boosts its off-road capabilities. Ground clearance sits at a comfy 210mm, and approach, break over, and departure angles of 37-, 28-, and 49-degrees, respectively.
For those interested, the Suzuki Jimny costs PHP1.06 to 1.18 million brand new, with four different variants to choose from. If you’re looking for other subcompact crossovers to buy, here are some of the Jimny’s biggest rivals in its segment.
Once the epitome of the subcompact crossover, the Ford Ecosport has largely been overshadowed by newer competitors. Despite being the kuya in its segment, the Ecosport still manages to swing big against its more modern contemporaries.
The EcoSport saw plenty of improvements in 2018, its last major update. One of the biggest changes for the model was the introduction of the 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost inline-three engine, along with the introduction of the new front face. The signature hexagonal grille is still there, but Ford enlarged it to the point that it eradicates the slim grille opening above it, effectively streamlining the Ecosport’s facade. A 1.5-liter Ti-VCT, good for 121hp and 150Nm, serves as an alternative engine option. As for transmission, the 1.0L variant shifts solely via a new 6-speed automatic, while the 1.5L offers a choice between a 6-speed automatic and a 5-speed manual.
Cabin-wise, Ford appears to have taken great effort to make the EcoSport interior ergonomic and stylish, without appearing too flashy. Knobs and controls are all within reach, with plenty of head and leg room to go with its bevy of storage options. Additionally, the Ecosport interior is one of the more spacious choices in its segment boasting a 2490mm wheelbase. Infotainment in the upper trims is powered by Ford’s popular SYNC 3 system.
Launched in the country in the fourth quarter of 2019, the Geely Coolray made an immediate impact in the local auto market, even managing to be crowned the king in its category last year. For power, the Coolray relies on a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that sends its power to the front wheels, with power topping at 175hp and torque capping off at 255Nm. This power mill relies on a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for shifting.
Exterior-wise, the Coolray’s design elements look cohesive. Projector-type headlamps, carbon fiber front spoiler rear diffuser, and a Piano Black roof with panoramic sunroof complete the Coolray’s exterior style points.
Inside, a black color motif permeates in the cabin, highlighted with silver and maroon (top trim only) accents that convey the crossover's sporty nature excellently. Meanwhile, a hexagonal-centric theme with some smartly placed chrome trims dresses up the dash and side panels, giving the entire cabin a sophisticated contemporary look. Leather seats (top trim only), paddle shifters, and a 10.25-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system with QD link Android connectivity and voice control enhance the Coolray's comfort and convenience utilities.
With regards to safety, apart from the standard airbags, seatbelts, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, the Coolray is also equipped with advanced safety features such as Geely's GPilot system that adds ease to driving.
The combustion engine-equipped Hyundai Kona (completely different from the fully-electric version) runs on a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain is good for 147hp and 179Nm, sending all its power and torque solely to the front wheels.
Inside, a potent and responsive 7-inch instrument cluster display makes critical trip information visible at a glance, but there’s also the 8-inch head-up display to keep trip details within line of sight. For infotainment, the Kona relies on a floating-type touchscreen complete with built-in navigation system, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Aside from button controls, the system can also be operated with voice commands.
The Kona covers all safety bases starting with six airbags, and anti-lock braking system (ABS), and on to the SuperStructure high-strength steel vehicle chassis. In addition, the Kona boasts a slew of advanced driver assistance technologies, such as a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and Hyundai SmartSense driver assistance suite.
Meant as a replacement to the quirky Kia Soul, the Kia Seltos is built on the same platform as the aforementioned Kona from sister company Hyundai, but as you may have noticed, its pricier. Both share the same engine producing the same power (147hp, 179Nm) but the Seltos entrusts its gear changes to an infinitely variable transmission (IVT) system. Meanwhile, a Drive Mode Select feature allows the driver to choose between five different driving modes (Custome, Smart, Comfort, Sport, and Eco) to control different functions including throttle, steering response, and transmission RPM shift points, among others.
Inside, driver controls take on an ergonomic and intuitive design, beginning with a head-up display that provides vital trip information while ensuring the driver’s eyes are on the road at all times. The roomy interior is made more welcome with comfortable seats and tasteful appointments such as Push Start convenience (SX only), automatic climate control (SX only), Smart Entry, and an 8-inch infotainment system with six speakers plus Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility.
Safety-wise, the 2020 Seltos comes equipped with a suite of standard safety features that you would expect to find exclusively in premium luxury vehicles, which would explain the slightly higher price point of its upper trims.
A bit pricier than the Jimny, the latest locally available Mazda CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G gas engine that dishes out 150hp and 195Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic gearbox with Sport Mode that sends power solely to the front rubbers.
Mazda certainly made sure that the layout of the CX-3 puts every function within the driver’s easy reach. The addition of a new armrest further provides enhanced driving comfort. Meanwhile, the standard SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics with G-Vectoring Control delivers a more relaxed and balanced driving feel by adjusting power delivery and shifting vehicle weight on initial turn-in and throughout the corner. Passenger confidence and convenience at the rear is enhanced by a stowable padded rear center armrest with cupholders.
Other standard interior features include leather steering wheel, fabric-upholstered seats, push start/stop engine, and a 7-inch infotainment screen that runs on MZD Connect. Although Bluetooth connectivity is available, sadly, the system isn’t compatible with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto apps.
For those looking for more style and flair with a little more money to spare, there’s the Honda HR-V. Under this subcompact’s hood lies a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC engine that outputs 140hp and 172Nm of torque. This five-seater’s engine comes solely with an Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
The updated HR-V has a redesigned exterior accentuated by the Solid Wing Face design that prettifies up the grille and front bumper nicely. The sharper design is one of the HR-V’s biggest selling points and will probably win many crossover SUV buyers over if aesthetics are a priority.
The HR-V also has plenty of storage spaces with three cup holders and four bottle holders in total—more than enough for any day’s worth of travel for vehicle’s full capacity of five people, including driver. Meanwhile, the spacious boot space provides impressive luggage-carrying capacity, so this car makes a great choice for small Filipino families who frequently go on road trips.
In addition to the leather-wrapped interiors that exude a plush sporty design, the HR-V also offers powered central locking, power windows, and power-adjustable rearview mirrors with integrated turn indicators. A 7-inch touchscreen display serves as navigation system, infotainment, and backup camera.
Photos from Suzuki, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Geely