Pictured: A Suzuki Jimny, modified by Wald.
Jeep, as we’ve learned recently, has some big plans — but its next SUV could be a tiny one designed to compete with the Suzuki Jimny.
Recently, a Jeep exec confirmed to AutoExpress that the company would launch a new SUV in 2022. The new vehicle would be somewhere between the Jimny’s 10.8 feet of length and the Nissan Juke’s 13.5 feet. In Jeep terms, we’re talking a foot to a foot-and-a-half shorter than the two-door Jeep Wrangler.
The question is how Jeep will compete with the Suzuki Jimny: on off-road capability, or just market share? Jeep’s European head of brand marketing Marco Pigozzi did not provide much clarity. He told AutoExpress the new SUV “will still be able to be used as a badass Jeep, but it has also been designed to be used every day.”
One would presume Jeep, maker of the Wrangler and Gladiator, would have a firm understanding of what “badass” entails. Then again, Jeep is also the company that named the tiny, Fiat-based Renegade the “Renegade.” So “badass” could very easily mean a small crossover running on a new Peugeot platform courtesy of FCA’s recent alliance with the brand, complete with a PSA-sourced hybrid or electric powertrain.
There’s also the question as to whether Jeep will bring the new SUV to the United States. Americans love their crossovers — but they love practical ones. This new vehicle may have the same drawback as the Jimny, in that it could be too small and underpowered for American highway driving. Jeep already has the Renegade and Compass in the compact SUV segment; does it need one more?
But Jeep would have a far easier route to bringing a new vehicle to the U.S. than Suzuki would have with the Jimny, as that brand left the American car market in 2012. Hey, where there’s a will, there’s a way.