LATEST NEWS FROM THE 4X4 WORLD
POCKET ROCKET TO LAND LOCALLY BY YEAR’S END, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STOCKMAN?
SUZUKI’S Australian arm has confirmed the diminutive 4x4 will be arriving here at year’s end and will be on sale in January. “The Jimny is synonymous with the Suzuki brand, and to have an all-new model on its way is something worth talking about,” Suzuki Australia general manager, Michael Pachota, said. “The Australian landscape will be a true test for the iconic 4WD and I have no doubt it will rise to the challenge.”
The boxy fourth-generation Jimny retains its ladder-frame chassis, live front and rear axles, and dual-range transmission (activated by a proper lever no less!), but has been modernised with improved safety and specification. The chassis has been stiffened for improved dynamics, and tech such as dual front, side and curtain airbags, dual-sensor brake support and Electronic Stability Control, have all been added. There’s even a large multimedia screen in the dash, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The powertrain has been confirmed to be a 1.5-litre (up from 1.3L) petrol fourcylinder engine, backed by either a fivespeed manual or four-speed automatic transmission with part-time 4x4 and the aforementioned dual-range transfer case.
“I am very excited and highly anticipating the return of this legendary off-road compact SUV in its all-new guise, to complement our already strong line-up of Suzuki vehicles in Australia.” Pachota said.
The Jimny and Sierra predecessors are off-road icons and a new model has been eagerly awaited. Their light weight and nimble manoeuvrability has seen them reach places that challenge many bigger and more powerful off-road vehicles.
Chief engineer for the next-generation Jimny, Hiroyuki Yonezawa said of the new vehicle: “The Jimny has been loved by customers around the world for nearly 50 years, since its launch in 1970. It became
an indispensable part of customer’s work, life and outdoor activities with its excellent off-road performance and high manoeuvrability.”
To say we’re excited about the forthcoming new Suzuki Jimny Sierra would be an understatement. It’s not every day – or every year, for that matter – we get served up a new 4x4 with live axles front and rear, a strong off-road heritage and genuine off-road ability, let alone one that looks as cool as the little Suzi. We can’t wait to take the new Jimny off-road, but the question everyone asks is: ‘What about a ute? Where’s the Stockman?’ All we can say on that front is, don’t hold your breath.
Looking back, the first Suzuki ‘ute’ in the Jimny family was the LJ80 long wheelbase cab-chassis that debuted in 1979. The ute continued in the second generation SJ series of the early 1980s when it was called the Suzuki Stockman in Australia, and Holden even rebadged it and marketed it as the Holden Drover.
The Stockman became the farmer’s friend, loved by the man on the land for its simplicity, go-anywhere ability and affordability. The Stockman was cheap, but it wasn’t nasty, and many served duty on rural property for decades and tens of thousands of kilometres.
You still see them used on properties around Australia, often without registration, but always getting on with the job at hand.
The long wheelbase cab-chassis died with the second-generation Jimny/ Sierra and the third-gen vehicle was SWB hard-top or soft-top only. Sadly, we doubt we’ll see the LWB ute again as the numbers don’t add up to make a business case for it, which is surprising, as farmers and primary producers still need such a vehicle to earn a living on the land.
Maybe if enough followers let Suzuki Australia know they want a new Stockman built off the 2019 Jimny, we might convince them.
The new, thoroughly modern fourth-generation Jimny retains its (upgraded) ladder-frame chassis with live axles fore and aft and dual-range transmission design. ladder legend