Despite The Original Being A Jeep Copycat, Today’s Suzuki Jimny Is Sweet Forbidden Fruit

SUV

But with just 100 hp, it can't outrun zombies.

The moment the Imperial Japanese Army discovered an abandoned US Army Jeep in the Philippines during WWII it realized it stumbled upon something special. That Jeep was immediately shipped back to Japan where authorities ordered Toyota to reverse engineer it and build something similar. Toyota wasn’t the only automaker to do this, as the Land Rover Defender and Suzuki Jimny are both descendants of the original Willys Jeep.

But what’s interesting is how different today’s Jeep Wrangler is from the current Toyota Land Cruiser and the rest of the Land Rover lineup (the original Defender is gone but it will soon be reborn). But there is one other Jeep descendant that has retained its relatively bare-bones back-to-basics approach, the Suzuki Jimny.

Now, Suzuki left the US market back in 2012, taking with it any chance for the all-new fourth generation Jimny to be sold here. Fortunately, we checked out the Suzuki display at this year’s Paris Motor Show and, lo and behold, there were several new Jimnys on hand, plus an original 1970 LJ10 model. Yes, it does bear a remarkable resemblance to the Willys Jeep despite not hitting the market until 25 years after WWII ended.

But what’s cool is just how much the new 2019 Suzuki Jimny has retained some traditions. For example, it still only has two doors (three if you count the rear door), body on frame chassis, and a manual transmission. You know, how a real rugged small SUV ought to be.

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Power for the new Jimny comes courtesy of a small 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making only 100 hp and 95 lb-ft of torque. Clearly, that output isn’t good enough for the US, but we still want this thing. It’s simple. It’s rugged. It wants to play outdoors. Above all, it’s not luxurious or particularly premium. The new Suzuki Jimny is an honest, no-frills off-roader that is forbidden fruit for America. And what a sweet piece of forbidden fruit it is. Too bad it didn’t do very well in European crash tests.

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