The New Suzuki Jimny Is the Tiny Off-Roader of Our Dreams

But can it stay true to its pared-down roots while offering modern amenities and refinement?

Though spy shots have been around online for some time, official images and details of the upcoming fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny have finally hit the web, and they give us our best look yet at what the Japanese automaker’s endearingly tiny and barebones off-roader will look like when it returns to the market refreshed. If you’re familiar with the current third-generation Jimny, you know that it’s barely changed in the 20 years that have passed since it debuted in 1998, for better or for worse. The tiny little overlander is beloved by some for retaining its pared-down charm but loathed by others for feeling woefully unrefined and outdated.

Based on what’s been unveiled thus far, the Jimny might be able to accommodate the desires of both camps. The former will appreciate the fact that Jimny will ride on a ladder frame with solid front and rear axles and feature a part-time 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case. The latter will appreciate the fact that the new Jimny will feature modern technology, most notably a large infotainment display and an autonomous emergency braking system.

Everybody, hopefully, can agree that the design itself is utterly magnificent. While the boxy retro aesthetic has been compared by many outlets to the opulent Mercedes G-Wagen, the design is clearly inspired by the first-generation Jimny, an honest and pure little off-roader that debuted long ago in the 1970s. Purportedly, two iterations appear to be available: the standard Jimny, a 660cc narrow-body variant to be sold as a Kei car in Japan and a wider Jimny Safari meant for export markets. Reports indicate the Safari will receive a 1.5-liter gasoline powered engine. That’ll be connected to either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual.

Given that Suzuki bowed out from the United States auto market back in 2012, we have a snowball’s chance in hell in getting the delightful-looking new Jimny in America. Which is a shame. Given that the market has seen growing demand for small crossovers and SUVs, one wonders if there’s good business sense for it in America amongst the “city-to-mountain” crowd. Imagine packing your little Jimny up with camping gear, mounting a set of mountain bikes to the roof, then escaping the urban jungle for a weekend of trail riding and driving, only to return once more to packed city streets, maneuvering in and out of traffic to find a small but accommodating street spot.

It’s a nice dream, but alas, that’s all it is. A dream.

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