Fans of the now-iconic Suzuki Jimny - a rugged little 4x4 that boldly goes where few other cars dare to tread - might be happy to know that the brand new (and un-revealed) version looks highly likely to come to Australia after all, potentially around November this year.
There had been some murmurings that this iteration may have been created for developing markets with fewer hurdles - the old model didn't meet expected (voluntary) safety standards here by the end of its life - but it appears that this speculation was all a furphy.
Suzuki Automobiles Australia general manager Michael Pachota spoke with us this week, and said that while there's no official response from Suzuki globally, "we have requested for the vehicle to hopefully be here by quarter four".
"I can confirm that we've put the request in," he said, adding that "it is sounding positive, it would be a great little car to have in Australia."
We haven't even 'officially' seen the new model yet, though we've nabbed a few leaked images already that prove the company has a successor lined up, moreover one that retains the boxy design that made its predecessor (and the Sierra before that) so vaunted.
And unlike the wave of city-focused crossovers like the Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona, you can expect the new Jimny to retain its ladder frame construction, off-road suspension and low-range gearing for proper off-road applications.
We spoke a while back 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.
What we've already reported:
The current (third-generation) car has its roots in 1998, with power from a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine making 62.5kW and 110Nm. Creature comforts include central locking, fabric seats, a two-speaker stereo and front airbags.
Pictured: Previous-generation Jimny
Although it hasn’t been revolutionised, the new model will sport a more modern, angular face when it arrives. The circular headlamps are a nod to the Suzuki Gypsy, as is the clamshell bonnet with subtle side vents.
Down back, the low-set brake lights represent a fairly significant departure from the current, vertical design.
The new Jimny is likely to offer a more comprehensive suite of safety equipment than the current model, although the extent of the overhaul is yet to be revealed.
Rumours have suggested the car will be powered by the 1.0-litre BoosterJet turbo engine from the Swift, with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.
Other suggested upgrades will include the company’s satellite navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and cruise control.
With a range comprising Ignis, Swift, Vitara and new Jimny by the end of 2018, Suzuki is fast becoming the yardstick for 'cool' in the B segment, don't you think?