New Suzuki Jimny is all the car you'll ever need

Every second car sold in India might be wearing the omnipresent ‘S’ badge but you will be hard-pressed to slot a car wearing one in the ‘aspirational’ category. The S-Cross – variants with that Fiat-sourced stonker of a 1.6-liter diesel engine – came close but it still didn’t look the part to be truly aspirational. Even globally, Swift Sport is the only model in Suzuki’s lineup that could pull at your heart strings, thanks to its suave styling, sporty handling and the peppy 1.4-liter turbo petrol power inside. That’s no longer the case.

When Suzuki unveiled the all-new Jimny - the first in twenty years - in Japan earlier this month, the brand’s new flag-bearer was born. 

A lot of you might know the Jimny and what it did for 'Brand Suzuki'. But for those of you that don’t, here is a brief background of the model and the legacy it carries. 

With over 285 million units sold across 194 countries, the Jimny is one of Suzuki’s long-serving and best-selling nameplates. That it happens to be a mini SUV with spot-on styling, perfect proportions and unchallenged off-roading capabilities is just an added bonus.

The first-generation Jimny debuted in 1970 as Japan’s only four wheel drive minicar meeting the market’s unique ‘kei’ specifications. With Suzuki getting serious about the export prospects, the second-generation model was launched in 1977 and continued in production until 1998. We know this as the Gypsy in India. The Jimny entered its third generation in 1998 and you could buy one of these until earlier this year. Yes, as incredible as it sounds, this model was on sale for twenty long years. 

This long gap partly explains the enthusiasm surrounding the new Jimny’s global unveiling. In addition to satisfying the demand amongst hardcore fans and loyalists – which we understand run into tens of thousands globally – the new Jimny arrives at a time when the global preferences are shifting towards SUVs and crossovers. Add to that the fact Jimny has no mainstream competitors to speak of anywhere in the globe, the stage is all set for a dream run!

Don’t believe us? Get this. The Jimny went on sale in Japan soon after the official unveiling on 05th of July. And now, less than a month later, waiting lists to own one of these is said to be between 8 and 24 months depending on the variant chosen. Admittedly, the production capacity is limited but it’s still no mean feat!

At first glance, the Jimny might come across as a wannabe off-roader trying to imitate the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and the Land Rover Defender, two legends of the trade. But, look beyond that and you’ll realize the new Jimny is just a modern interpretation of how its predecessors always looked like. Be it the simple circular headlights, the grille with five vertical slats, the boxy shape and the 3-door layout, every element that defined the Jimny for decades have neatly found their way into the all-new model. The standard Jimny is exclusive to Japan and designed to meet the country’s kei car regulations. The Jimny Sierra that gets chunkier bumpers and flared wheel arches is the one slated for exports and the model that looks much nicer. 

The interiors have come of age and looks like any other new Suzuki. The multi-function steering wheel follows the brand’s latest design theme while the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is the same that’s seen in other Suzuki models. The instrument cluster, the central air-conditioning vents and the array of buttons and switches in the center console are designed to look tough and they do that exceedingly well. Kit on offer includes modern day niceties like integrated satellite navigation, Android Auto and Apple Car Play and safety features like dual front, side and curtain airbags, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Electronic Stability Control.

In all markets outside of Japan, the Jimny would be powered by a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated petrol engine that drives the rear wheels and generates 100 horsepower. Peak torque is rated at 130 Nm. That’s not much but then Jimny is not made to go fast on expressways. It is designed to prevail over roads less taken and comes properly equipped for that.  

Built on a robust ladder-frame chassis with a 3-link rigid axle suspension and equipped with Suzuki’s famous AllGrip Pro 4WD with a low range transfer gear, the Jimny is not a poser off-road like most other compact crossovers and wannabe SUVs. This is a car you don’t have to think twice before venturing off-road. In fact, with a 37° approach, 49° departure and 28° ramp breakover angles aided by a 210 mm ground clearance and a very short wheelbase, the Jimny begs to be taken down the dirty path.  

If you are so smitten by the new Jimny, just know you aren’t alone. As a matter of fact, there is nothing not to like in it. Yes, 3 doors might be two too short for India but with the kind of revenue and profit Maruti-Suzuki sends back to the coffers in Japan, it wouldn’t be a tough act to get their nod to develop a longer 5-door model specifically for India.

If that happens, the all-new Jimny might be all the car we will ever need with its compact footprint, modern feature-rich interiors, go-anywhere capabilities, Maruti-Suzuki's extensive after-sales support and Japanese reliability. Dear Maruti-Suzuki, are you listening?

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