Suzuki Jimny: portraits of a tiny SUV for 50 years and 4 generationsOctober 17, 2020
You will be surprised, but the ancestor of the model was a car of a completely different Japanese brand.
For the modern automotive world, there is no more dangerous epithet than “constancy”. In order not to go to the bottom ahead of schedule, it is vital for manufacturers to be flexible, to gush with fresh ideas and be able to deviate from the established canons in time.
Exceptions can be counted on the fingers of one hand: only Mini, Defender, Gelendvagen, our Niva and the hero of this column, baby Jimny, managed to carry the original philosophy through the decades (and even then with reservations). And since we have at our disposal extremely cute illustrations of the guys from Budget Direct Insurance, we invite you to recall the beautiful history of the now cult model.
First-generation: developing other people’s ideas
The tailgate spare tire is a sign of modification for Europe. Jimny for the domestic market drove the fifth wheel behind one of the front seats: this allowed the car to fall into the tax-friendly category of key cars, but made it a three-seater.
Today it’s hard to believe, but half a century ago there was not a single all-wheel drive car in Suzuki’s cage, and the catalyst for its appearance was the purchase of a license for the production of the ON 360 SUV from a small Japanese office of Hope Motor Company in 1968.
It took about two years to rethink other people’s ideas, reduced to “witchcraft” over the appearance and replacing the original 359-cc Mitsubishi engine with a similar unit of its own design. The SUV, which debuted in 1970, was named the Suzuki LJ10.
The length, width and curb weight turned out to be natural toys: 3 meters, 1.3 meters and 590 kg, respectively. An air-cooled motor, docked with a mechanical four-stage, produced 25 “horses” and 33 “newtons”, and the maximum speed did not exceed 70 km / h.
Despite the frankly weak engine, the off-road capabilities of the mini-jeep (the name Jimny later came into use – a derivative of these two words) were amazing. In 1974, the Japanese launched the production of left-hand drive versions and set their sights on conquering the world.
The second generation: grow big
The second generation of the model is best known as the Suzuki Samurai. All in all, the SUV has about a billion titles that varied depending on the market: 4×4, Katana, Santana, Sierra, Potohar and Caribbean. In India, the car was sold as Maruti Gypsy.
The next generation of the SUV debuted in 1981, becoming a kind of “velvet revolution” of the model. Having retained a stunted two-stroke engine with a volume of 539 “cubes”, Jimny got a completely new body with a “mandatory” roll bar and has seriously grown in size, stretching up to 3.5 meters in length and one and a half in width.
Not surprisingly, Suzuki soon realized that you can’t go far without a good heart. A few months later, Jimny appeared on the shelves with the SJ40 index (in Europe – Jimny 1000), equipped with a 970-cc four-stroke engine with 45 “horses”. And in 1984 the line was replenished with a 70-horsepower 1.3-liter “four”, providing quite tolerable acceleration dynamics.
Among other things, in the mid-eighties, Jimny acquired front disc brakes, five-speed mechanics (a three-band hydromechanical automatic became available later – in 1992) and an unusual modification: to the classic “shorty” and a mini-truck with a flatbed body (the first generation even had a dump truck !) sided with a long wheelbase version with a removable plastic roof section.
Third generation: towards civilization
The first generation Jimny lasted 12 years on the assembly line. The second is eighteen. The third (in the picture above) has remained on the market for 21 years. And while the current “square” is pretty darn good, we would not be too keen for it to support the trend towards an increase in this cycle.
Suzuki Jimny of the third generation, presented at the end of 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show, tried their best to make it as civilized and comfortable as possible. And in general they succeeded. Retaining the familiar design, including continuous bridges, the car became friendlier and more comfortable on the asphalt. And at the same time it acquired “nishtyaks” like electric windows and front airbags. And the percentage of versions with automatic transmission has grown noticeably: behind the wheel of the third Jimny you can often meet girls.
During the first eleven years of life – until 2009 – the third generation car was offered both with a classic all-metal top and with a removable tarpaulin. However, since the latter enjoyed rather limited demand in a modest number of markets, the Japanese decided to go without it in the new decade.
A similar fate befell the one and a half liter turbodiesel with a capacity of 65 forces, available for European modifications of the SUV from 2004 to 2011. After the surrender of the “heavy fuel” unit under the hood of the baby, a 1.3-liter gasoline aspirated engine with a return of 83 hp and 110 Nm reigned. The exception was the domestic market, where Jimny was equipped with 660-cc engines in the name of low taxes.
Fourth generation: triumph of right angles
The current Jimny made its debut in Europe in the summer of 2018 and reached Russia exactly a year later. And yes – despite a cocktail of still primitive technology, modest equipment and an impressive price, the Japanese are doing well. We have collected links to the most interesting materials about the car below. Look how much noise this kid has managed to make!
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