SPACE ODYSSEY

SUZUKI

FELIPE UBILLA

REPORT EIGHT

SUZUKI JIMNY

Price as tested: $24,490

This month: 1466km @ 5.9L/100km

THERE’S A MISSION to complete. On the cards is a ‘quick dash’ to Melbourne’s mega mall, the Chadstone Shopping Centre – though whether it’s quick is in the hands of the traffic gods. Available are the keys to the monstrous Ford Ranger Raptor and the pocket-sized Suzuki Jimny. Which one to pick? The choice is pretty simple to make.

‘Chaddy’, as it’s more commonly known, reminds me of how old I am.I remember this retail behemoth – Australia’s biggest shopping centre – when it was half as big as it is now, and nowhere near as trendy. Mirroring its growth is its damned car park. Half the problem with visiting the place is navigating the concrete jungle and the sometimes simple folk that congregate within it.

Taking on this mission with a press car results in approaching the trip with a higher degree of caution. If there’s a spot next to a beat-up, ratty looking car, it’s best to keep searching to avoid ending up with panels with more dints than a golf ball.

Experience has taught me that there is one spot in the complex where I’m guaranteed to always find space within one of the multi-level car parks.

While the Raptor is great for scaring people out of your way, its whale-like proportions make it a pain around any suburban shopping centre. The height alone is enough to deter entry into tighter car parks.

This is where the Jimny shines. Manoeuvering past those ever-hopeful drivers waiting for the ideal park near the entrance, or those making 17-point turns into one, is a breeze. The large glasshouse gives great visibility all round and the sharp turning circle makes slotting into a spot easy.

The massive doors can be a problem if you’re not attentive – they’ll swing out eagerly and strike anything within their extensive reach. A visit to the city recently nearly caught us out when the Jimny’s door sprung open in sloping lot within a high-rise complex.

Getting in and out of those dreadful car parks swiftly has become something of an art form now. Dealing with the actual act of shopping ? Well, we’ve all had our own experiences, so let’s leave it unsaid.

FELIPE UBILLA

LIKE THEM APPLES?

Having bounced around a few cars in the Wheels garage lately, I’ve come to appreciate old-fashioned buttons and dials to control the air-con, instead of the touch-screen numbers. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay is the icing on the cake. The fact that it’s free for the Jimny while Ferrari charges nearly $7000 to install it makes my head hurt.