LAT­EST NEWS FROM THE 4X4 WORLD

POCKET ROCKET TO LAND LO­CALLY BY YEAR’S END, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STOCK­MAN?

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

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

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