A second kit lifts it all the way up.
ESB, a Japan-based tuner, has introduced two new upgrade kits for the Suzuki Jimny, both of which absolutely ruin the vehicle. This happy little off-roader has to count as one of the most sought-after forbidden fruits Americans yearn for, though there is a loophole in case you're desperate.
Just know that the Jimny is a severely compromised vehicle, and neither of these packages will enhance an already flawed package. We've had the pleasure of driving one in several African countries, and you need to wear elbow pads to prevent road rash when cornering. At anything above 75 mph, the steering wheel is more of a suggestion wheel. Still, we love it because it's the perennial tiny thorn in the side of off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.
From that perspective, you can make a case for the LST-Up kit, which increases the ride height to improve off-road performance.
Both kits have an angry grille, white-painted 16-inch alloys, fender extensions to create a widebody look, a ducktail spoiler, and a straight pipe. We think ESB was aiming to recreate the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution, which you can now legally import to the USA.
The main difference between the two is ride height. You can choose between LST and LST-Up, which are pretty self-explanatory. The Up gets a three-inch lift kit, while the LST is almost slammed on its belly thanks to lowering springs taking the car down between 1.6 and 3.5 inches. ESB also made some necessary changes to ensure both cars work mechanically. The LST has side skirt extensions and a larger bumper for aesthetic reasons but ESB had to cut the front bumpers to make the wheels fit on the LST-Up.
The LST gets Nankang slicks as a final touch, while the LST-Up is equipped with 245/70R16 off-road rubber.
First, let's dismiss the LST. Buying a proper off-roader like the Jimny and then slamming it down is downright stupid. Rather invest in a Suzuki Swift Sport, on which semi-slick tires would actually work and not look ridiculous.
The Jimny is only available with two powertrains, and neither one is spectacular. Japan gets the turbocharged three-cylinder, while the rest of the world, including Mexico, has to make do with a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder producing 100 horses. And we're talking angry high-revving horses, which will inevitably make the straight pipe unbearable.
Next, the LST-Up. If you're going to use it on a ranch or only as a recreational off-roader, it's okay. But if you want to use it in any reasonable, regular way, it will all fall to pieces.
The Jimny is already heavily underpowered. With the 1.5 four-pot under the hood, it weighs just over 2,500 pounds. In addition to the heavier tires, ESB adds underbody protection, likely resulting in a car that a plump middle-aged man on a heavy red meat diet can outsprint. Not to mention the suspension lift, which will make a Wrangler feel like a Lotus Emira.
Trust us when we say the best Jimny is a standard Jimny. If you still have your heart set on these kits, the Jimny with slicks kit retails for $4,469, while the off-road-biased package retails for $2,939. Add roughly $45k to get a Jimny to the States for the sole purposes of off-roading, and you might as well get a 2023 three-door Wrangler Rubicon.