Watch a tiny off-roader worth a fraction of the price defeat a luxury Range Rover worth many times more.
When it comes to off-roading, price doesn’t always equal performance. Getting through muddy valleys, craggy hills, and sandy fields is a difficult thing even for the best of automobiles, but there are a lucky few designs that can defeat such obstacles without breaking the bank.
That’s what Autocar’s Dan Prosser and Matt Prior set out to prove when they took a tiny Suzuki Jimny and a massive Range Rover SVAutobiography to a small English off-road park. Both are designed to be taken off-road, but one is much, much cheaper than the other. The Suzuki (if it were sold in America) would be about $20,000, while the Range Rover SVAutobiography (a mouthful if there ever was one) is a bit pricier at $180,000.
The Ranger Rover naturally comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a luxury SUV: adaptive traction control, multiple traction settings that you can set manually, and a whopping 5.0-L V8 engine that pumps out 542 hp.
The little Jimny, on the other hand, has exactly three drive modes: two-wheel-drive, where only the front wheels get power, four-wheel-drive, and 4-wheel low ratio where the car’s 4-wheel drive locks itself into a lower gear ratio to better defeat hills and inclines. Along with that, it gets a 1.3-L inline 4-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and the pluckiness that can only come from being the underdog.
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And while the Jimny was definitely outmatched technologically, it had one thing the Range Rover didn’t: lightness.
The Range Rover is a tank at roughly 5,600 pounds, while the Jimny weighs basically half that at 2350 lbs. And if there’s one thing you don’t want when you’re driving through mud it’s an extra two tons.
While the Range Rover struggled through muddy inclines, the Suzuki breezed through everything. The Range Rover got stuck twice on the course while the Suzuki only got stuck once, and managed to correct itself and escape on the second attempt up a muddy incline.
Sadly, the Jimny isn’t sold here in North America, but watching this video makes us wish that it were.