On sale Early 2019 Price from £13,000 (est)
Think cheap and rugged motoring in an SUV-shaped package and your thoughts might naturally turn to the Dacia Duster, but in truth the Suzuki Jimny was there first. In fact, while Dacia's bargain SUV has a heritage dating back to 2009, the Jimny is a child of the 1970s.
The current model has lasted a long time, too, having first gone on sale in 1998, when the market for small SUVs was still relatively small. In recent years, it's been outclassed by more modern and well-rounded rivals, meaning this new Jimny has a lot of catching up to do if it's to entice UK buyers.
2019 Suzuki Jimny styling
While the outgoing Jimny eschewed the box-shaped looks of its predecessors in search of a more family-friendly and aerodynamic design, this new model looks every inch the rufty-tufty SUV. That's partly down to feedback from current Jimny owners, who rate its off-road ability far more than its on-road comfort. In fact, there's more than a hint of Mercedes-Benz G-Class about the new car's styling, including its squared-off wheel arches and brake lights located low down on the rear bumper.
Despite its more aggressive appearance, though, this Jimny is actually marginally shorter and taller than the car it replaces.
2019 Suzuki Jimny engines
Power will come from a sole 1.5-litre petrol engine with 101bhp. It has a top speed of 90mph, emits 154g/km of CO2 and returns an official 41.5mpg. Selectable four-wheel drive is standard, while gearbox options are a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
2019 Suzuki Jimny interior
The biggest noticeable addition inside the new Jimny is Suzuki's touchscreen infotainment system. It's the same 7.0in set-up that's offered in the current Ignis, and while we've found it slow to respond in that car, it does at least offer a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The screen will only be offered on high-end versions of the Jimny, though, to keep the car’s entry-level price low.
Space is at a premium in the new Jimny, with just 85 litres on offer with the rear seats in place, though that rises to 377 litres if you fold them down – enough for some light tenting gear. Available safety systems include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and high-beam assistance.
2019 Suzuki Jimny price
The fourth-generation Jimny will sit between Suzuki's other tiny off-roader, the £9999 Ignis, and the larger £15,999 Vitara in the rang, meaning a price of close to £13,000 is likely. That means the Jimny should undercut most other small SUVs on price, with the exception of the Dacia Duster.
The Jimny has a cult following, but isn't expected to sell in big numbers. In fact, only around 1200 Jimnys are sold in the UK each year.
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Looking for a used small SUV? Here's our round-up of the best options to buy right now.
10. Kia Soul
Aimed at the sort of person who likes to stand out but needs a practical vehicle, the Kia Soul is a likeable vehicle that’s spacious, well equipped and distinctive to look at. Its average ride quality and so-so handling mean the Soul isn’t great to drive but, if you can live with that, you get a small SUV that offers huge amounts of room in every seat and, thanks to its boxy profile, a large boot.
There’s also plenty of equipment, and it all comes backed up by a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty – so even if you buy a three-year-old example, you’ll still have four years’ warranty left to run. And with seriously low prices, the Soul looks like fabulous value, too.
Thanks to squared-off corners, a raised ride height and the option of four-wheel drive, the Vitara at least has some of the off-road abilities people associate with SUVs; abilities that many of its rivals seem to have forgotten. That doesn’t mean the Vitara drives like an old-school SUV, because it doesn’t. The balance between ride and handling is well judged and is even quite rewarding; this is quite unusual for a small SUV. The brilliant 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol is a very nipply engine, but it’s only available with four-wheel drive and higher-spec trims, so can be expensive. This makes the 1.6-litre petrol a better buy financially and it’s just as economical.
The Vitara is well equipped, but we’d suggest going for SZ-T because you get an integrated sat-nav and media system, 17in alloy wheels and rear privacy glass. The interior isn’t particularly stylish, but there are some thoughtful touches, such as an attractive analogue clock and gloss black trim. Suzuki also has a good reputation for reliability, so there shouldn’t be anything to trouble you.