The confirmed successor to the much-loved Suzuki Jimny Sierra (current model pictured above) will retain the famed off-road ability and toughness, the company says.
Expect familiar ladder frame construction, off-road suspension and reduction gearing (low range) to remain part of the next iteration, which will also sport more safety equipment, cool retro styling language and potentially a downsized BoosterJet turbo engine — though the latter is not confirmed.
We spoke this week with Suzuki’s general manager for the Latin America and Oceania Division, Takanori Suzuki, who assured us that the company would not be ‘softening up’ its rugged little icon.
“One thing for sure is, we will keep Jimny as a concept, the Jimny has a ladder frame, [is a] real off-roader, has a reduction gear,” he said.
“New Jimny, we are planning to introduce a new one as well within a few years time. The Jimny keeps concept, as a real off roader.”
While the timing is a little vague, expect to see a new Jimny as soon as 2018, though it may well be a year after that. Suzuki’s lead times aren’t always the fastest. A 2017 Tokyo motor show world debut, perhaps?
This model will replace the current model that costs $20,990 plus on-road costs, and which remains on sale.
As we reported recently, Suzuki Australia is cutting local supply to a tiny 100 units this year — which will sell quickly — so it complies with a Voluntary Code of Practice from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries that requires limits on sale of vehicles without side airbags.
“We need side airbags – we’ve told the factory that – and the feedback I’ve had is that they’ve said we will have side and curtain airbags fitted [for the next-generation model],” Suzuki Australia general manager for automobiles, Andrew Moore, told us recently.
We also understand from sources that the next-generation Jimny/Sierra design is at an advanced stage, and retains the signature angular and tough boxy styling language. Suzuki is making a concerted effort to apply classic, retro design to many core models, including the current Vitara and new Ignis.
Pictured: New Suzuki Ignis, which shows the company's newfound retro flair
The current Jimny Sierra is a bit of an anachronism, because unlike more modern car-like crossovers, it is unapologetically designed for the rough stuff and lags on road.
Its light weight, small overhangs, good clearance and over-engineering has made it an icon that punches well above its weight. This is how Suzuki has gotten away with producing the current generation for almost 20 years (it premiered in 1998) — a lifetime in the car industry.
The Suzuki Jimny/Sierra nameplate itself dates back to 1970, and the previous iteration Sierra was hugely popular in Australia throughout the 1980s and 1990s as a runabout.
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss this comparison below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.