Even though it’s not coming to the United States, we’re excited by the new Suzuki Jimny. It’s a cheap 4×4 that looks like a 2/3rds-scale G-Wagen, so what’s not to like? Even if it wasn’t very good off road, we’d probably still dig it, but according to Autocar, that’s not the case.
The Jimny is an old-school off-roader like a Jeep Wrangler. It’s got a ladder frame, solid axles front and rear, and a real low-range transfer case. The only thing it lacks are locking differentials, instead using brake-actuated torque vectoring to help get power to the wheel with the most grip. Where so many modern off-road vehicles rely on fancy computer controls to deal with low-grip surfaces, the Jimny uses tried and true tech.
Autocar’s Matt Prior says the Jimny might not be as good a rock-crawler as a Wrangler, or wade as deeply as a Range Rover raised on its air springs, but it excels most everywhere else. And because it’s short and narrow, the Jimny can tackle wooded trails too tight for other modern 4x4s.
It’s only real limitations stem from the lack of locking diffs, and in the case of this very green Jimny, a small naturally aspirated four-cylinder gas engine without much low-end torque. A diesel, or a turbocharged gas engine would probably make more sense here.
The Jimny fills an interesting niche by basically offering much of the capability of a Wrangler in a smaller package. That, plus its amazing design is why we’d love to see it in the US, but that’s almost assuredly not going to happen. Instead, we’re going to hit eBay to watch old Samurai prices.