All it took were a few simple changes.
The Suzuki Jimny, without question one of the best and coolest off-road SUVs in the world, won't be coming to the US anytime soon. It's been about a decade since Suzuki left the North American market due to declining sales. Elsewhere, however, the Japanese automaker is thriving, though it hit a snag earlier this year.
That all-new, no-frills Jimny 4x4 was suddenly faced with a European sales ban. It's been off the market for two months now. Why? Because of harsher C02 emissions scheduled to come into effect in 2021. Automakers doing business in Europe will be allowed a maximum fleet average of 95g of C02 per km. The Jimny, in its current form, can no longer meet that. But Suzuki has now come up with a solution that kind of works.
Introducing the Jimny two-seat commercial model (pictured in remarkably low-res press images below). The rear seats have been removed for increased cargo space, now measuring just over 30 cubic feet. There's also a flat floor and safety cargo partition. In other words, Suzuki has homologated the Suzuki as a commercial vehicle, a segment that faces less stringent EU fleet average targets.
Nothing has changed under the hood. The naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 100 horsepower remains, as does the standard five-speed manual and optional four-speed slushbox. Off-road enthusiasts also won't be disappointed because the ladder frame, three-link axle suspension, and AllGrip Pro part-time 4WD system with low range transfer gear also remain. Nothing has changed on the safety front, such as a system that automatically applies the brakes to help avoid a collision, with the sole exception of a new emergency messaging function, called eCall.
Official European market pricing has yet to be announced, though it shouldn't differ too much from around €18,000. It's worth knowing the latest Jimny is offered with a turbocharged inline-three engine in other markets but the press release makes no mention of it making its way to Europe. Suzuki was caught a bit off-guard by the sales ban and the commercialized SUV option could just be a stop-gap measure until a more long-term solution is found. After all, the fourth-generation Jimny only debuted in 2018 and its predecessor was on the market for two decades. It's way too early for today's Jimny to retire.