With previous models withdrawn under EU emission laws, this new version of the plucky 4x4 receives a warm welcome from Ed Coles
The Suzuki Jimny doesn’t need much introduction; the wee Japanese 4×4 has earned itself a cult status and many, including yours truly, were thrilled when the latest Jimny was released in 2018. We were equally devastated when, thanks to emissions laws, it was withdrawn from EU and UK markets in 2020.
With a year-long waiting list, there were many who missed out on the mighty new Jimny. As a result, if you can find a second-hand one, expect to pay up to and over £10,000 above the original price tag. Fortunately, in 2021 the Jimny got a lifeline, following the announcement of the new Jimny LCV (light commercial vehicle). That’s right, the legendary Jimny lives on with the back seats taken out and a bulkhead cage put in. Take that Brussels.
It’s easily identifiable as a Jimny – or possibly a baby G-wagon from a certain angle. The silhouettes of petite ruggedness are pleasing to the eye. The workhorse black-steel wheels and black paintwork look good together, although slightly more rugged tyres might be in order. As I walk around the Jimny, taking in its rugged lines, grille and lights, I can feel my smile widen, although I’m not sure why the rear windows haven’t been boarded or blackened out. From the front, the rugged look is continued with beefy bumpers and classic round headlights.
Pulling out the trusty feed bag to check the undercarriage, it all looks very promising. With 210mm of ground clearance the Jimny should be able to handle the same terrain as its larger competitors. The 4×4 running gear looks suitably sturdy, verging on agricultural. With independent suspension at the front and a three-point rigid axle with coil springs at the back, the 4×4 set-up is reassuringly simple. The LCV features part-time manual 4×4 with 2 wheel high, and 4 wheel high or low. There’s also a hill descent mode.
On opening the boot, complete with mounted spare, there is a reasonable-sized loading area and the all-important caged bulkhead. The shotgun slip squeezes in diagonally with enough room for luggage, shopping or kit. There’s certainly enough room for a couple of labs or a small pack of cockers. I managed to load up 11 bags of wheat and probably could have packed in another. Despite that, the official loading weight is only 150kg. I hope this is an error, especially as the Jimny is capable of towing 1,350kg.
Spirited Suzuki Jimny
Underneath the bonnet we have a four cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox. The dinky Japanese motor pumps out 101bhp and 130Nm of torque. With a top speed of 90mph it’s not lightning quick but spirited enough.
Inside, the Jimny is quite pleasing and comfortable. The ruggedness continues with the chunky dash and console, which has a few classic Jimny touches worked in. The controls are functional and user-friendly. The simple 4×4 controls are reassuringly familiar and the electric hill hold and descent should be up to task without getting into tricky situations.
Kit wise, the LCV comes with just enough entertainment to keep us amused; a relatively simple audio set-up with CD, DAB, USB audio connection and Bluetooth connectivity. This version also includes standard air conditioning, cruise control and automatic lights with high beam assist. There are a few driver aids, such as lane change assist, but I like how things are kept simple.
With the Jimny possibly overloaded, I was off to top up some feeders. I selected 4 high mode and was soon motoring around the wilds of Edwardshire. The plucky little Jimny handles the rough stuff with relative ease. Having a narrower wheelbase than your average pickup, it straddles deep ruts well. When you slip into said ruts the sturdy suspension and 4×4 set-up comes into its own and makes easy work of the track. There’s a mild bit of slipping and sliding but that would soon be overcome with slightly more rugged tyres. Its size, with a narrow and short wheelbase, makes the Jimny’s handling nimble and precise through the wood, and negotiating tight twisty bits is a breeze. Around the country lanes the Jimny is great fun. You have to push the 1.5-litre engine a bit but it soon gets going. It holds the road reasonably well but has a characteristic 4×4 wobble. On the open road you do have to push it, while a sixth gear for motorways would probably come in handy.
The Jimny LCV ticks many boxes — the main one being that it makes me smile while driving. More than capable off-road, it’s a near-perfect shoot run around. It’s a versatile and hard-working little 4×4 — the only downside is the load weight. Add an extra gear on the open road and slightly tighter steering, and it would be perfect for the field or commuting.
The Jimny LCV starts off at £16,796 (plus VAT) which is good value, but getting hold of one may be a problem as supply is limited. With that in mind, I don’t want to give it back. If Suzuki can please send the bill to Shooting Times.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Suzuki
- Model Jimny LCV (Light Commercial Vehicle)
- Power 101bhp 130Nm of torque
- Top speed 90mph
- Emissions (g/km) CO2 173g/km
- Economy 37.7mpg combined
- Towing weight braked 1,350kg
- Ground clearance 210mm