Suzuki has revealed European specs for the upcoming next-generation Jimny, which is due in Britain in 2019. It will arrive with a single engine variant, a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol.
The naturally aspirated four-pot replaces the the outgoing Jimny‘s 1.3-litre engine, and will produce 101bhp and 96lb ft of torque for a claimed 90mph top speed. There is no diesel variant planned, with the brand having recently pulled all diesel options from its current line-up.
There will be a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearboxes, with a part-time four-wheel drive system channeling power to the rear wheels in high and low range modes. Suzuki swapped the manual low-range gear selector in the latest Vitara for an electric rotary dial, but the new Jimny sticks with the former system to maximise its off-road adjustability.
Like its predecessor, the new Jimny is built on a ladder frame chassis, with additional cross members to increase rigidity, and 3-link rigid axle suspension for off-road agility. The fourth-generation model has been developed with the feedback of existing Jimny owners in mind, who rank its effective off-road capabilities and robustness more highly than on-road performance.
Suzuki claims the Jimny can drive up inclines with a 37 degree approach departure angle of 49 degrees. Ground clearance is 210mm.
The car’s design reflects its 4×4 status, taking influence from earlier-generation Jimnys through the simple, box-shaped body, round headlamps with independent indicators, and vertical front grille. Much of the design appears similar to that applied to the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, such as the squared-off wheel arches and tail-lights located low on the bumper.
Images leaked onto the internet revealed the look of the car’s interior late last year. While it gains modern features such as a Bluetooth-enabled 7in touchscreen infotainment system, the overall design remains chunky, with function favoured over form to enable users to operate controls and buttons with gloves on.
It also gains new safety systems, including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and traffic sign detection – the latter being a first for any Suzuki model.
Two folding rear seats allow for up to 377 litres of luggage space, some 53 litres more than the previous generation Jimny. The new model rides 20mm higher on 15in alloy wheels, but overall length has reduced slightly to 3480mm.
The 2019 Jimny is due to go on sale early next year in the UK, following a Japanese launch this autumn. Prices are expected to be slightly higher than the outgoing model, which cost around £14,000 before it went out of production in April to make way for its successor. The last units – fewer than 200 cars – were still available for purchase until recently, but sold quickly.
The larger Vitara is currently the brand’s bestselling model, achieving UK sales of about 12,000 units per year, with the expectation of further growth.
The brand’s decision to ignore the temptation to build a more mainstream model should ensure that sales remain comparatively small (versus other compact SUVs). Around 1200 Jimnys are sold per year in Britain – a figure that has remained consistent since the outgoing version launched in 1998. The new car is expected to comfortably beat this while leading a charge to grow Suzuki sales by 20%.