Full specs and details have dropped on the adorable 2019 Suzuki Jimny, a miniature retro G-Wagen lookalike with true off-road capability at a fraction of the price. And we see nothing here that makes us like this humble, fun 4x4 any less.
The engine will be a cheap 'n' cheerful 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline unit called the K15B. It's tuned for bang on 100 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque, and comes with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto transmission, both of which come with a high/low transfer gear ratio selector to make it suitable for steep and slippery off-road action.
If a whole liter and a half of raging performance sounds a little hard to handle, certain markets (particularly through Asia and the subcontinent) will also get the option of a 660cc turbo for even greater fuel economy. In these markets, the 660cc version will be called the Jimny Minicar, and the 1.5 liter will be the Jimny Sierra. Other markets will likely run multiple versions of the 1.5-liter version.
A rigid ladder frame and 3-link rigid axle suspension at both ends are nods to the rough road intentions Suzuki is designing the Jimny for. When an obstacle pushes one wheel up, the opposite wheel gets forced down for additional traction.
Hill hold control prevents rollback from a standstill on steep takeoffs, and hill descent control lets you forget about the pedals and concentrate on steering as you take it down a nasty slope. And if the car detects that diagonally opposite wheels are losing traction at the same time on a slippery surface, it'll brake the two slipping wheels and redistribute torque to the ones that have got grip.
Other electronic driver aids include auto emergency braking, automatically dimming high beams that can detect and dip the headlights for oncoming vehicles, weaving alerts, lane departure warnings and traffic sign recognition, the most useful application of which is that the car will display the most recently detected speed sign on your dash in case you forget.
Ground clearance of 210 mm isn't huge, but the Jimny's wheel-at-each-corner design gives it the ability to tackle some fairly steep angles without scraping. Approach angle is 37 degrees, and departure is 49 degrees. Ramp breakover is a little less impressive; you'll drag the undercarriage driving forward off anything greater than 28 degrees. Headlights are neat round LED jobbies with built-in washers to clear the view if they get gunked up with mud or snow.
As a compact 4-seater, the Jimny isn't the most spacious looking machine on the planet, but Suzuki has worked hard to make maximal use of the space available. As an example, the brake lights and rear indicators have been moved right down onto the bumper so the entire rear gate can swing open. If you've got the back seats folded forward, that gives you full access to a spacious rear compartment. If you don't, it gives you full access to lick your finger and poke it into the ears of your back seat passengers while shouting "wet Willy!"
The Jimny is at once the antithesis of the brawny, muscle-shirted 4x4 scene, and the epitome of cheap, humble, capable off-roading. It's simple, fresh and looks like a lot of fun. We suspect Suzuki's got a hit on its hands here.
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