New-generation Jimny to touch down in first part of next year with new engine and proper off-roading talents.
It should have been a sure thing, given the long-running local love for the little tike and the easy availability of right-hand drive, but there was a hint of a chance we'd be left out.
UPDATE, 10/07/2018: We've added new images of the Jimny in action. There are a few in the body, but you'll need to click on the images and scroll through the gallery for the full experience. Do it, we dare you.
Well, as of tonight (indeed, the press release landed at dinner time, thanks gang…), it's now official: the 2019 Suzuki Jimny will come to Australia.
That's good news, because it's been 20 bloody long years since the last model first surfaced, and a good long while since any but the most obsessive fans would've considered buying one.
We first got a clear look at the new 2019 model almost a year ago, with a new-gen Jimny spied testing in revealing camouflage, accompanied by a set of leaked images from an internal presentation.
Then, in January, Suzuki Australia chief Michael Pachota told us the company had officially requested an allocation, promising the deal was "sounding positive".
Above: New model on top, and, it should be obvious, the old model on bottom.
Recent weeks have brought more and more revealing spy photos and leaks, so that by the time the car surfaced on the company's Japanese and global corporate websites in mid-June, there was little we hadn't already seen.
Australian-delivered models will be offered with a new 1.5-litre petrol engine, foregoing the 660cc mill offered in its homeland to comply with the 'kei' regulations that offer tiny-engined tiny cars and restrictions on external dimensions.
As revealed on the company's Japanese website, the non-turbo 1.5 petrol engine produces 75kW of power and 130Nm of torque. That isn't buckets of power, but a) Suzuki's content dropping it in a larger seven-seat people mover like the Ertiga, and b) the old Jimny's 1.3-litre engine offered 62.5kW and 110Nm. Reckon we'll be alright.
It's also worth noting the previous model's kerb weight began at around 1045kg depending on spec and fitout, while the new model will come in at between 1090 and 1135kg.
Further details such as fuel consumption and acceleration, are still to be revealed. Likewise, the company has not confirmed which transmissions we'll be offered in Australia, although the same five-speed manual and four-speed auto options offered overseas are likely.
And while Suzuki hasn't confirmed specifically, we'll likely get only the wider, non-kei compliant Jimny Sierra here, meaning flared bolt-on guards, baby.
As last month's online unveiling revealed, we can also expect a raft of modern features to accompany the retro styling, such as front dual, side and curtain airbags, Dual Sensor Brake Support (Suzuki's name for autonomous emergency braking) and Electronic Stability Control.
Other kit will include high beam assist, daytime running lights, and a 7.0-inch screen with the latest connectivity functions (yes, CarPlay and Android) and integrated satellite navigation.
Under the skin is perhaps the most important aspect of this little tacker, and that's where you'll discover the new Jimny retains a ladder-frame chassis design, along with AllGrip Pro 4WD with a reduction gear. Proper off-roading stuff here. There's even hill-hold and hill-descent control.
And, for those going off-road, there's a not inconsiderable 210mm of ground clearance, beating the 190mm of the previous model.
“The Jimny is synonymous with the Suzuki brand and to have an all-new model on its way is something worth talking about. The Australian landscape will be a true test for the iconic 4WD and I have no doubt it will rise to the challenge,” Pachota says.
“I am very excited and highly anticipating the return of this legendary off-road compact SUV, in its all-new guise, to complement our already strong line-up of Suzuki vehicles in Australia."
The new Jimny won't hit local showrooms until the first quarter of 2019, but we expect we'll get a spin before then. Keep an eye out for our first impressions.