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Suzuki's compact SUV caught before July debut

by Ben Hsu

The small but genuine off-roader emerges with a retro design.

Actual images of the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny have leaked prior to its July debut. The cars were revealed when an intrepid spy photographer who captured rows of the mini SUVs, ready for delivery, outside the company's Hiroshima factory.

Despite having been on the market for nearly 50 years, the Jimny has undergone only three generational redesigns. The last one took place in 1998, which means the third-gen model has been on the market — both in Japan, Asia, and Europe — for almost 20 years.

The design of the fourth-gen, originally leaked in an artist's rendering by Japanese magazine Best Car and confirmed by the recent spy photos, is somewhat of a throwback design. The vertically slotted grille, low-mounted taillights, boxy shape, and even two lines on the cowl mimicking the second-gen's hood vents are callbacks to the beloved 1980s and 1990s models (that generation, too, lasted almost 20 years).

It may look small, but the Jimny has always been a true SUV, boasting a ladder frame chassis, 4WD transfer case, and a low range. Its size and light weight (the outgoing model can ring in at just 2,140 pounds) make it ideal for navigating tight off-road terrain.

Though details have not been released, it is expected Suzuki will continue to sell two versions. A Japanese registration tax evading 660cc turbo version with a horsepower limit of 63, and a larger 1.5 liter version for non-kei registration and export markets.