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Suzuki Jimny gets confused by American guardrails

Road conditions conspire to confuse the Jimny's auto-braking software

The reborn Suzuki Jimny 4x4 has faced some crosswinds in the time it's been on the market: It earned only three stars in its Euro NCAP test due to a badly-inflating driver airbag and troubles with pedestrian protection. The automatic emergency braking function also had some issues in NCAP testing, but now the Jimny's AEB system is facing an another problem — it appears to be confused by guardrails.

Two German-market Jimnys had been shipped to Los Angeles for the World Car of the Year testing, Australian journalists found that on some corners of the California test route, the AEB was seemingly triggered by a guardrail in a curve in the road. The problem was found with both Jimnys, and Suzuki's Jimny chief engineer was present to look into the matter; later, Suzuki engineers were able to replicate the glitch with these particular vehicles on the same road. While U.S. sales of the Jimny are extremely unlikely, test data acquired on American roads still seems to be highly valuable for Suzuki, as tests in Japan could not replicate the problem.

It appears the road condition, tilt angle, curve aspects and vehicle speed all conspired to puzzle the AEB system, which is now being evaluated for a software or calibration change. The jerky correction by the electronic stability program, audible on the CarAdvice video, happened at 45-55 mph, which is not overly fast for even the narrow and tall Jimny — it is possible that the AEB mistook the guardrail for another car.

Suzuki stated: "There is a possibility that the (stability control) is instantaneously switched on (by) reacting to the vehicle sway when departing the S-shaped curve — and then consecutively switches on because the vehicle is circling the curve at high speeds. [...] The intervention of the stability control may give a sense of discomfort to the driver but is not an event that would disturb the vehicle's direction of movement."

The driver safety assists are a good addition to the Jimny, of course, given that the 1980s second-generation truck was the subject of a beef between Consumer Reports and Suzuki North America due to its reported tippiness in corners.

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