A greener Jimny is in the pipeline, but we'll probably never see it.
It's nearing on a decade since Suzuki exited the American car market, and that means we've missed out on one of the marque's most-loved models: the no-frills, high-value Jimny 4x4 SUV. Still fresh after the recent introduction of the fourth-generation model, the folks at Autocar India surprisingly reported on the immediate discontinuation of the Jimny in Europe.
The move comes after harsher European regulations for CO2 emissions are set to come into effect in 2021, with each car-maker allowed a maximum fleet average of 95g of CO2 per km, a standard which the Jimny no longer adheres to.
The Jimny's 1.5-liter gas engine's CO2 levels are up to 170g/km when paired with the available automatic transmission, nearly double the maximum fleet average limit which will be phased in from this year. Until the brand can equip the small SUV with a more efficient powertrain, it'll need to sell more of its efficient models such as the Ignis and Swift to avoid penalties.
Suzuki's bigger plan is to sell all its vehicles with some level of hybridization, with models like the larger Vitara SUV already making use of a 48V system, while the smaller Swift uses a 12V system. Other automakers like Honda are following a similar trend, with the new Fit (sadly not available here) offered exclusively with hybrid power.
Emissions regulations aside, the Jimny could still fill a real gap in the local market if Suzuki ever decided to return. Its unpretentious design, genuine off-road capability, and low price are appealing to adventure junkies who can't stretch to a Land Rover Defender - or even a Jeep Wrangler. Suzuki's legendary reliability is also what you want when buying a vehicle that can tackle rough terrain.
Its ladder-frame structure and low-range gearing endow it with almost unequaled dirt-road skills for something that costs the equivalent of around $20,000.
Like all enduring classics, this isn't the end of the Suzuki Jimny, though. It's set to return to the European market next year as an N1 commercial vehicle with no rear seats - these vehicles don't need to conform to the latest emissions standards. After that, there are plans to fit the Jimny with a more efficient powertrain that can once again be sold as part of the brand's passenger vehicle range.
While there's no sign of Suzuki making a comeback Stateside - and consequently little chance of us being able to experience a more efficient Jimny here - we'll continue holding thumbs.