Suzuki might have overlaid G-Class styling cues atop an overall aesthetic that has since day one been inspired by the Wrangler, but the car before you is unmistakably Jimny.

Much of that has to do with its size – marginally wider and taller but shorter than before, the new car is only a touch longer than a Volkswagen Up and, somehow, would negotiate precisely the same city-centre width restrictors as the supermini. The boxy geometry gives it stature, however, as do a serious quartet of wheel arches that are absent on the even more diminutive, fully kei-spec model found overseas.

Simon Davis

Simon Davis

Road tester
I reckon this new Jimny is right up there with the Alpine A110 in terms of visual appeal. It’s a truly wonderful piece of design, and one of the best-looking cars we’ve road tested this year

That Japan special derivative will drive its four wheels with a tiny 650cc engine but British examples will use a naturally aspirated, four-cylinder 100bhp 1.5-litre petrol unit (up from 1.3 litres) mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. The former makes for a marginally more fuel-efficient car – 35.8mpg plays 32.2mpg on the WLTP cycle – but neither is quick, with a 0-62mph of around 12sec and a top speed in double figures.

Not that the focus here is on-road driving. As ever, the hardware says ‘boulder track’ far more than it does ‘B-road’. The Jimny retains a separate ladder chassis beneath a steel body – the former half as stiff again as before – with three-link, rigid-axle suspension at both ends.

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Suzuki has also added two extra cross-members to the ladder frame to improve durability and further increase stiffness, while the car’s front axle housing is now made of more robust high-tensile steel. While the Jimny benefits from a selectable low-range transfer gearing – its driveline mechanically switchable between ‘2WD-high’, ‘4WD-high’ and ‘4WD-low’ modes – what you don’t get is a set of mechanically locking differentials. Suzuki instead uses an electronic traction control system that automatically brakes a slipping wheel to redistribute torque asymmetrically.

Were you to scale the Jimny up a few sizes, the resulting off-roader would be the class of the field by many of the metrics that define such vehicles. As it happens, this little 4x4 is still impressive, with 210mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 37deg and breakover and departure angles that better the Wrangler’s.

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