New Jimny spied

Suzuki’s prac­ti­cal 4x4 shapes up

Auto Car (UK) - - CONTENTS - SAM SHEE­HAN

The next-gen­er­a­tion Suzuki Jimny will re­tain the rugged char­ac­ter of its pre­de­ces­sor, rather than fol­low­ing the larger Vi­tara’s lead in be­com­ing a more roadori­en­tated small SUV.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion model, which has been spot­ted test­ing in Spain, is be­ing de­vel­oped with feed­back from ex­ist­ing Jimny own­ers, who rank its ef­fec­tive off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties and rugged ro­bust­ness more highly than its on-road per­for­mance.

The Jimny’s on-road han­dling will still be im­proved, but a Suzuki spokesman said the car’s unique sell­ing point had been its hardy na­ture, so that will re­main a key fo­cus dur­ing de­vel­op­ment.

Due for re­veal at the Tokyo mo­tor show be­fore ar­riv­ing in 2019, the new car’s sim­ple, box-shaped body re­flects its off-road abil­i­ties and takes in­flu­ence from ear­lier­gen­er­a­tion Jim­nys.

Much of the de­sign ap­pears sim­i­lar to that of the Mercedesbenz G-class, in­clud­ing the squared-off wheel arches and tail-lights lo­cated low on the rear bumper.

Leaked of­fi­cial im­ages have also re­vealed the look of the car’s in­te­rior. Al­though it gains mod­ern fea­tures such as touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment, the over­all de­sign re­mains func­tional, most likely to en­able users to op­er­ate the con­trols and but­tons with gloves on.

Suzuki has been test­ing the Jimny in four coun­tries, in­clud­ing the UK, in or­der to de­velop the car’s chas­sis set-up and re­fine­ment for launch on the global mar­ket. Its size is not ex­pected to change dras­ti­cally from that of the out­go­ing car, which, at 3675mm long, is just 120mm longer than a Smart For­four.

The brand has re­mained tight-lipped as to which en­gines will power the new model, but sources ex­pect Suzuki’s 1.0-litre Boost­er­jet turbo triple to be of­fered, with the brand’s nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 1.2-litre en­gine act­ing as a po­ten­tial en­try-point unit.

Suzuki swapped the man­ual low-range gear se­lec­tor in its lat­est Vi­tara for an electric ro­tary dial, but the Jimny could stick with the for­mer set-up to max­imise off-road ad­justa­bil­ity.

The brand’s de­ci­sion to ig­nore the temp­ta­tion to build a more main­stream model should en­sure that sales re­main com­par­a­tively small com­pared with other com­pact SUVS. The Jimny sells around 1200 units per year in Bri­tain, a fig­ure it has achieved con­sis­tently since the out­go­ing ver­sion launched in 1998.

This com­pares with its larger Vi­tara sibling, which achieves about 11,000 units per year and is ex­pected to grow fur­ther.

Suzuki’s Jimny will re­tain boxy styling and func­tional cabin

Leaked im­age shows fi­nal de­sign

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