There's always a way to beat the system.
Leave it to Europe to ban sales of a small 4x4 SUV with a niche audience all because it didn't meet specific carbon emissions standards. No exemptions were made for the Suzuki Jimny, which had only just been redesigned when the ban took effect last year. Suzuki obviously wasn't pleased but refused to give up. So its engineers and management teams put their thinking caps on and came up with a brilliant and shockingly simple solution: a two-seat commercial vehicle version.
By removing the rear seats, the Jimny became a commercial vehicle and was therefore not subject to the harsher C02 emissions requirements. And now Autocar is reporting the newly two-seater is back on the market for the 2021 model year.
Prices start at £16,796 before VAT, or about $23,150 according to current exchange rates. Despite ripping out the back seat, the Jimny still comes powered by the same engine: a small but durable naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder with just 100 horsepower. The ladder frame, three-link axle suspension and part-time 4WD system with a low range transfer gear are key elements to its go-anywhere capabilities. The Jimny is also relatively bare bones on the safety front as well because it lacks advanced safety systems found in most other new vehicles. However, it does come with automatic emergency braking, hill hold and decent control, and the eCall emergency assist function.
The no-frills, purest off-roader isn't sold in the US because Suzuki left the North American market back in 2010. Those who want a three-door body-on-frame SUV without access to a Jimny have three fantastic alternatives: the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, and the Land Rover Defender.
The downside? Those three are all more expensive. The cheapest Wrangler and Bronco both begin at about $28,500. The Defender can't be had for anything less than $46,100. The Jimny's lack of rear seats may not be suitable for some buyers, but those who simply want a greater off-roader for a great price should look no further. It's a shame we can't get our hands on one.