Suzuki Jimny: Farewell...
Next year, the famously-little Jimny will cease to be available in Europe, so let's pay tribute to such a wonderful vehicle...
As times go on, emissions regulations are getting stricter, more polar bears are falling over, so car companies are doing their bit to help the planet from an ecological disaster. Renault is going hybrid, VW is introducing their I.D range, cars in general are getting more modern by the day.
Unfortunately, some cars are badly affected by all of this change, including the spritely Suzuki Jimny...
The first off-road car to come from Suzuki came in 1968, Suzuki bought the Hope Motor Company, who specialised in building off-road cars. This lead to Suzuki bringing their own off-roader to the market in 1970 called the LJ10 - Light Jeep 10. The LJ10 had a 359cc, air-cooled, two-stroke, in-line two-cylinder engine, which was NOT powerful, but it did the job. A liquid-cooled engine came to the market in 1972 to battle the minor emissions regulations around, it also gained an entire 3bhp - riveting! This car was known as the LJ20, and it looks fabulous.
In 1975, Suzuki replaced the LJ20 with the LJ50, which used a slightly larger engine and bigger differentials to maximise its capability. Over the next three decades, Suzuki improved their car in a few ways, upgrading the engine each time. The biggest change for the Jimny, though, came in 1998.
The new Jimny was a massive success, with them being built for an entire 20 years. Suzuki took a plunge, but it's safe to say it worked. They came with a 1.3l petrol engine producing around 80bhp. They were very impressive off the beaten track; with off-roading, lightness is key, and that is something Land Rover doesn't get. Jimny all day long!
In 2017, amongst the internet, lay some leaked images of a possible new generation Jimny, people were very excited - or was that just me? News came along in 2018, when Suzuki officially announced a fourth-generation version of the Jimny, still being built today in 2020. People describe it as a cross-bread of a Land Rover Defender and a Mercedes G-Wagen, just without the massive price tag!
4th generation Jimny
The new-sparkly version of the Japanese hero uses a 1.5l petrol engine producing just 100bhp, some call it underpowered, but it's the optimum power needed for such a light off-roader. It manages 90mph full throttle, reaching 60mph in around 13 seconds - although that is not confirmed by Suzuki. All of these power stats are irrelevant because this car was designed for the mud and leaves of the countryside! You can choose between all-four wheels being driven, and just the rear for when you are on normal roads. Even in 2WD, the Jimny is still perfectly capable. With the right tyres, it can just about go anywhere.
I also think that the Jimny looks great, whenever I see one, I can't help but smile. Who says you can't call a car cute? The boxy-shape, two doors, cheeky grille, chunky wheel arches - they all contribute to a fantastic-looking machine. In Japan, Jimnys come without the wheel arches to allow them to fit into the kei car market. What do you think of the kei Jimny? Personally, I find it rather interesting!
The kei Jimny next to the European Jimny.
The Jimny uses a ladder-frame chassis, improving off-road performance. It really is a weapon underneath the soft fur. In some ways, it performs better than some of its more pricey competitors thanks to its tiny-weight figures. That's the main problem with most cars on the market - they are just too heavy. The Jimny conquers that drawback with confidence.
The Jimny is also quite good at being a daily. You can spec your Jimny with sat-nav, bluetooth, and much more. This all makes it a very usable car on a daily basis. It has four seats, although the back seats aren't actually any good for the average human. Bad mark for Suzuki there...
As with all cars, there are some drawbacks. Firstly, the car gets blown about by bigger vehicles and the wind because of the boxy shape. The suspension is also very 'spongey', which is great for off-road, but on the road, maybe not. I also think that the Jimny could do with some more power for overtaking and for that extra bit of grunt on today's roads, 100bhp just isn't enough for every occasion. Also, this probably isn't the best car to go shopping in, because, with the rear seats folded up, there is virtually no boot to be seen, hmm...
A lot of people would also complain about the interior quality, but this car is not a Rolls Royce Cullinan, it's a Jimny, and it costs just £15,000. Suzuki did everything they could to make the Jimny a nice place to be in - moving the usual stuff like window switches into the centre of the car to maximise space. Clever Suzuki!
To solve the problem of boot space, I would fit a roof-rack and some rough-looking boxes up top. Not only does it vastly improve the look of the car, but it also improves practicality. So, it's a win-win!
If Suzuki's design of the Jimny doesn't do it for you, then maybe consider some companies out there that modify them. Just look at these, they're incredible things!
All in all, The Jimny is an icon to be remembered. However, there is some very sad news. In 2021, the emissions regulations will be changing yet again, which means the Jimny will cease to be available in Europe. It's just too bad on emissions, so is this the end of the Jimny journey? It has been teased that the Jimny would return as a commercial vehicle, resulting in not-as strict emissions standards, and only two seats. Yes, you heard that correctly - a two-seater Jimny.
We will just have to wait and see, in the meantime, order your Jimnys quickly; the demand for these cars is beyond incredible.
Suzuki Jimny - affordable, fun and spritely...
Thank you for reading. Do you own a Jimny? Post a picture in the comments...
Daniel Achterhuis is a 14-year-old automotive journalist for DriveTribe and presenter of 'The Piston Podcast'. Daniel has written for various newspapers, magazines, and was the youngest-accredited press at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. He aspires to become a full-time automotive journalist in his later years. Follow him on social media: