The levels of want for this forbidden fruit in the USA are still high.
At long last, Suzuki has revealed a five-door version of its much-loved Jimny off-roader, with the covers being pulled off the longer-wheelbase variant at Auto Expo 2023 in India, where the automaker also revealed its first production-bound EV yesterday.
Now in its fourth generation, the Jimny is one piece of forbidden fruit American off-road enthusiasts are obsessed with. And with good reason. Not only does it look like a miniature Mercedes-Benz G-Class, but it's arguably even more capable than the big Gelandewagen. Well, the Jimny is now more practical than ever, with a new long-wheelbase derivative adding a pair of extra doors and an extra 13.4 inches to the wheelbase and 13.8 inches to the overall length.
The Jimny is one of the most capable off-roaders thanks to its short wheelbase, so lengthening that reduces its breakover angle. Still, the Jimny's off-road figures embarrass much bigger rock climbers, with approach, departure, and breakover angles pegged at 36, 50, and 24 degrees, respectively, despite ground clearance of only 8.3 inches.
The Jimny five-door retains the same powertrain as the three-door derivative, with a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder producing 101 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque. Power and torque are divvied to a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a dual-range transfer case via either a five-speed manual gearbox or an antiquated four-speed auto. Having driven the Jimny in standard guise, we know the motor paired with a manual gearbox is adequate at low altitudes, but high altitudes result in an asthmatic experience. The automatic transmission is to be avoided at all costs. However, the longer wheelbase will make the little off-roader much more stable, especially in its default 2H drivetrain mode.
Importantly, the Jimny ships as standard without any mechanical lockable differentials, a common first upgrade to make it even more capable off the beaten track. Instead, a 'Brake LSD' function applies the brakes to a slipping wheel, imitating an LSD.
With more than a foot of extra length added between the axles, the interior has been greatly enhanced. Rear seat occupants now have much more space at their disposal, although the Jimny remains a four-seater at the best of times. Suzuki mentioned 'special rear seats' in the reveal material for the five-door, but these look largely the same as the stock items from the shorter variant. However, the front seats can now fully recline and lie completely flat, creating enough space for two occupants to stretch out fully and sleep inside the Jimny, much like the new Ford F-150.
The interior may be spartan with rugged hard plastics and plenty of grab handles, but also features contemporary technology like a touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay technology, voice control, Bluetooth, and more. Cruise control and push-button start are also available, as is automatic climate control.
The Jimny five-door will launch initially in India, but we expect a global roll-out to other markets like Latin America. It's through these channels that American off-road fans can import a Jimny and will likely be able to get their hands on a Jimny five-door, albeit only for off-road use.
The Jimny has been a massive hit amongst off-road fans thanks to its body-on-frame construction, proper 4x4 system, and simple construction. Since the introduction of the fourth-gen 4x4, the Jimny was temporarily banned in Europe due to strict new emissions standards, but Suzuki sneakily removed the rear seats to get around this, effectively making the 4x4 a "commercial vehicle."