When Suzuki formally withdrew from the Malaysian market in early 2015 to facilitate a strategic partnership with Proton, some tears were shed. It meant saying goodbye to cars that were a little left field but always characterful and more importantly, affordable; values that are not often spoken in the same breadth.
The recent debut of the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny, some 20 years after the last new one, may have just turned those droplets of tears into streams, if the decidedly adorable Ignis hadn’t already done so. The new Jimny is easily the coolest-looking retro thing to have emerged in recent memory, while holding true to its roots as a robust and authentic go-anywhere compact 4WD, just like the original one first sold in Japan back in 1970. Suzuki has sold 2.85 million Jimnys across the globe since.
You won’t find any sissy monocoque body construction under the new Jimny — it’s built on a ladder frame. The engine that rests under the clamshell bonnet drives the rear wheels, with part-time 4WD and a low range transfer gear for off-road duties. The presence of modern electronics means brake LSD is available along with traction control. The Jimny rides on three-link rigid axles with coil springs at both ends, and the steering is a recirculating ball system. Wow.
The powertrain for global markets is a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder capable of 95hp and 130Nm, with the choice of either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Suzuki doesn’t quote a 0-100km/h time, but the far-from-aerodynamic, 1.1-tonne 4WD is capable of a 145km/h top speed. It is available as a three-door and only seats four, but who’s cares. Please come back to Malaysia, Suzuki?