The car launches in January, and demand is already building.

Suzuki’s Australian arm has now taken a sizeable 123 preorders on its new Jimny micro off-roader, well ahead of its projected launch here in late January of 2019.

As you may recall, less than two months ago (shortly after the car’s online reveal) Suzuki held 37 local orders, meaning demand keeps spiking as the arrival nears.

This writer caught up with Suzuki Australia general manager, Michael Pachota, this week to check on demand levels. We know the Japanese plant is already stretched, with one report suggesting the first year’s allocation at home was sold out in just a month.

There’s also hot demand in the UK ahead of that market’s launch in January. We hope Suzuki hasn’t dramatically underestimated what looks like hot demand.

And why wouldn't people be queuing up? The Jimny is quite unlike anything on sale, with an expected price point of around $25,000 before on-road costs (topping out under $30k), properly hardcore four-wheel drive ability putting anything this side of a Jeep Wrangler to shame, and retro-cool looks.

It’s basic, but charm is in short supply at times these days.

What we know

As revealed on the company's Japanese website, the non-turbo 1.5 petrol engine under the bonnet produces 75kW of power and 130Nm of torque. That isn't buckets of power, but one should remember the old Jimny offered 62.5 kW and 110Nm from a 1.3-litre engine. A five-speed manual and four-speed auto should feature once again.

It's also worth noting the previous model's kerb weight began at around 1045kg depending on spec, while the new one will come in at about 1100kg.

Ground clearance sits at 210mm, up 20mm on the outgoing car, and there's a proper ladder-frame chassis under the skin. Forget cutesy city SUVs, this is a proper off-roader with AllGrip Pro 4WD and low range.

Unlike the old model, we're expecting a range of modern active safety features to be included in the car this time, like autonomous emergency braking, stability control, and 2018 necessities like front, side and curtain airbags.

However, it’s also worth remembering the Jimny scored just three stars in recent Euro NCAP testing, on the back of relatively low scores for adult occupant and vulnerable road-user protection.

Behind the wheel, expect to see a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with sat-nav.

“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 four-wheel drive and I have no doubt it will rise to the challenge,” Pachota said.

He cited the “huge amount enquiry since announcing it for the Australian market” and said he was “expecting a lot more [orders]” before launch.