UK prices and specification details for the new Suzuki Jimny have been revealed as first deliveries of the SUV approach.
The Jimny, on sale now, costs from £15,499 for the entry-level SZ4 with a manual gearbox, rising to £18,999 for an automatic variant of the top specification SZ5. A manual SZ5 is available from £17,999.
Metallic and dual tone paint finishes are available as options for £485 and £650 respectively on all trim specifications.
A 1.5-litre naturally aspirated unit replaces the outgoing Jimny's 1.3-litre engine. It produces 101bhp and 96lb ft of torque for a claimed top speed of 90mph.
No diesel version of the Jimny is planned, with Suzuki having recently cut all diesel options from its line-up.
Talking to Autocar, Suzuki’s UK boss, Dale Wyatt, said 4500 UK buyers had signed up on the website as “interested” in the Jimny by October 2017 - the first time it has had such a level of interest.
That’s 150% of the previous model’s best annual sales volume; the last Jimny ended at 1100 units annually in UK after 20 years. The problem is going to be volume supplied, says Wyatt. Demand in Japan, where the Jimny is made, has been “staggering”. Wyatt sees scope in allocating 1100 cars for the UK in the new Jimny's first year, then 2000 subsequently.
The Jimny will offer five-speed manual and four-speed automatic gearboxes, with a part-time four-wheel drive system channelling power to the rear wheels normal use and with high and low-range modes. Suzuki swapped the manual low-range gear selector in the latest Vitara for an electric rotary dial, but the new Jimny sticks with the former system to maximise its off-road adjustability.
Like its predecessor, the new Jimny is built on a ladder-frame chassis, but it now has additional crossmembers to increase rigidity. It also gets three-link rigid axle suspension for off-road agility. The fourth-generation model has been developed with the feedback of existing Jimny owners in mind, who rank its effective off-road capabilities and robustness more highly than on-road performance.
Suzuki claims the Jimny can drive up inclines with a 37deg approach angle and a 49deg departure angle. Ground clearance is 210mm.
The car's design reflects its 4x4 status, taking influence from earlier Jimnys through the simple, box-shaped body, vertical grille and round headlights with separate indicators. Much of the design appears similar to that applied to the latest Mercedes-Benz G-Class, such as the squared-off wheel arches and tail-lights located low on the bumper.
The Jimny's interior, meanwhile, gains modern features such as a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth. However, the overall design remains chunky, with function favoured over form to enable users to operate controls and buttons while wearing gloves.