Suzuki Jimny LCV review

Category: Small Van

Rich in character and great off road, but limited payload restricts its usefulness

Suzuki Jimny LCV front driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV front driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV rear right driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV interior dashboard
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV interior load bay
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV interior stereo
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV right driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV front left driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV front wading
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV left driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV rear driving
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV front driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV rear right driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV interior dashboard
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV interior load bay
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV interior stereo
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV right driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV front left driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV front wading
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV left driving off road
  • Suzuki Jimny LCV rear driving


What Car? says...

The Suzuki Jimny LCV – or Light Commercial Vehicle – is carrying on where the now-discontinued Jimny small SUV left off.

You see, ever-tightening emissions regulations meant the Jimny was no longer viable as a no-nonsense, go-anywhere family car because it risked jeopardising the brand's chances of meeting the 95g/km across-the-range target outlined in European legislation. 

However, Suzuki realised that, with small vans covered by separate, more lenient emissions targets, the model could live on for a while if the rear seats were removed.

The Jimny LCV range is an undeniably simple one. In fact, it can’t really get any simpler, because there’s only one model to choose from – take it or leave it.

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Various trim levels? Nope. Different body styles? Not here, sir. Choice of engines? There’s a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and… that’s it. All Jimny LCV models are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox and a selectable four-wheel-drive system.

The good news for Suzuki is that there are not that many direct rivals. The closest competition comes from the similarly priced Dacia Duster Commercial 4x4, while the Fiat Fiorino is a slightly larger but doesn’t have four-wheel drive.

The Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 offers more space but won’t go as far off road as a Jimny LCV. You could also look at the Land Rover Defender Hard Top and the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial but they cost much more.

If you do more of your miles on-road than off, there’s the Ford Fiesta Van and the electric Renault Zoe Van. However, neither of those has anywhere near the cult appeal the Jimny has managed to build up over the 50-year lifespan of the nameplate.

The next few pages of this review will give you a great insight into the pros and cons of Suzuki Jimny LCV ownership, and how it rates against rivals.

Once you've decided what to buy, you could save thousands of pounds by checking out the best prices on the What Car? New Car Deals pages.

Read more: How we test vans


It’s difficult to consider the Jimny LCV as a van when all indicators point towards it being a passenger car with a larger boot. Off-road talent and one of the cheapest starting prices of any commercial vehicle still don’t disguise the fact that the Jimny LCV has a limited cargo carrying capacity.

  • Great off-road
  • Cheap to buy
  • Huge character
  • Terrible payload
  • Limited load volume
  • Not really a van

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The very existence of the Suzuki Jimny LCV is down to the 1.5-litre petrol engine and its emissions: with an official figure of 173g/km CO2, it was always going to be phased out for use in a passenger car, but is currently acceptable in a small van

It's a gutsy little engine that produces a respectable 100bhp and 95lb ft of torque, but being a non-turbocharged unit, its maximum power is reached at 6,000rpm and peak torque arrives at 4,000rpm. That's not ideal for a commercial vehicle that will be expected to carry heavy loads or perform towing duties.

Suzuki Jimny image
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The engine is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, and the Allgrip Pro selectable four-wheel-drive system lets you switch between rear-wheel drive and four-while drive depending on the road (or off-road) surface.

The Jimny LCV comes alive in trickier conditions: its modest weight of just over one tonne enables it to skip over loose surfaces with ease, while the four-wheel-drive system does a good job of keeping you moving. There’s no differential, just clever electronics, but it’s effective and pretty effortless. 

It's not quite as accomplished on the road. A short wheelbase makes the van bouncy and there's a good deal of body roll – more than you experience in the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial for example.

While coil springs go some way to providing you with a degree of sophistication over a leaf-sprung pick-up truck, the Jimny is far from SUV-like in its ride comfort. Most comparable vans do it better, including the Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4

The engine is very noisy if you’re trying to make use of all the power, while the gearbox’s short ratios means it's also loud at a cruise. Add plenty of road and wind noise into the mix and it’s a car that will have you reaching for the volume control on the stereo. A relaxed motorway cruiser it is not.

Suzuki Jimny LCV rear right driving off road


The interior layout, fit and finish

The inside of the Suzuki Jimny LCV looks virtually unchanged from its passenger car form. Well, that is until you look over your shoulder and instead of back seats see a steel mesh partition designed to prevent items from falling into the front passenger compartment. 

The model has a utilitarian feel about it, with its plastic-heavy dash and oversized controls. Simple details make it seem tougher than it probably is too. From the dial surrounds with a hex key-like screw head in each corner to the chunky door grab handles, it makes you feel like you’re in a tough and capable little workhorse. 

We like that all the buttons are big and within easy reach of the driver’s hand. You can see that it’s an interior that has been designed with bad road conditions in mind – you’re in no danger of turning on the hazard lights when you meant to hit the temperature controls.

There are some plastics lower down in the interior that feel a little cheap, but the same can be said for the Dacia Duster Commercial 4x4 and the Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4.

In terms of gadgets, you get a DAB radio rather than a fancy touchscreen. Air conditioning is standard, along with a multi-function steering wheel to control Bluetooth, audio settings and the cruise control and speed limiter functions. 

The addition of a bulkhead has made the seating position a little less flexible than in the passenger version: 10mm has been taken out of the seat travel, and you can no longer recline the seat as far. Combined with a steering wheel that lacks reach adjustment it can be tricky to find a perfect driving position.

Visibility is excellent thanks to the clearly defined edges of the boxy Jimny LCV. There’s no problem with blind-spots and certainly no fear of any parking mishaps, as is often the case with small vans.

Suzuki Jimny LCV interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Suzuki Jimny LCV has a narrow interior – so narrow in fact that most drivers will be able to touch the opposite door without stretching. However, it doesn’t feel particularly cramped thanks to the car’s boxy dimensions. 

Taller passengers might feel like they’re sitting a little too upright, but then this is unlikely to be anyone’s first choice of vehicle for a long journey.

Of greater importance should be the useable rear space. With no rear seats and a completely flat floor, you get 0.86m3 of volume, and if that sounds small, it is. It's even less load volume than in the Ford Fiesta Van.

While the part-steel and mesh bulkhead does give the occupants some protection (and helps satisfy the requirements to make this a commercial vehicle), there’s very little about the Jimny LCV to suggest that it's actually a van. 

The rear loadspace is carpeted when it should be rubber or even bare metal, and unlike in the Land Rover Defender Hard Top there are no lashing points for securing items. There is a 12V connection, and the concealed spare tyre compartment under the floor is a neat bit of packaging, but make no bones about it, this is only paying lip service to being a small van.

A tiny 150kg payload underlines the fact that Suzuki has cleverly engineered the Jimny passenger car to within the N1 requirements for a commercial vehicle simply to continue selling a vehicle that may get some limited usage as a multi-purpose load carrier. A Dacia Duster Commercial can carry up to 492kg, while the larger Defender Hard Top 90 can lug around an impressive 670kg. 

Suzuki Jimny LCV interior load bay

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

A considerable amount of the appeal of the Suzuki Jimny small SUV was in its pricing, and the same is true of the LCV version. Plus, businesses will be able to claim back the VAT, making it even more affordable.

Indeed, in the context of the 4x4 off-road commercial vehicle market, it's just over half the price of the short-wheelbase Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial and less than half the price of a Land Rover Defender 90 Hard Top. The only commercial SUV that gets close is the Dacia Duster Commercial.

Given the expected rarity of the Jimny LCV – Suzuki anticipate an allocation of just 400 per year in the UK – residual values will likely be strong. Fuel bills might well be the most expensive thing about running one: its official fuel economy figure is 36.7mpg on the WLTP testing cycle, and it manages close to that in the real world.

With no trim or options to choose from, the range is beautifully simple, with notable standard equipment being electric mirrors, air conditioning, an alarm, cruise control and automatic headlights. Safety equipment includes hill-hold assist and hill-descent control as well as a tyre-pressure monitoring system and the automatic emergency service contacting system, eCall.

Euro NCAP has not safety tested the Jimny LCV but the small SUV variant received only three stars out of five, with low scores in almost every category. The Dacia Duster scored only three stars too.

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Suzuki Jimny LCV interior stereo


  • The Suzuki Jimny LCV has an average economy figure of 36.7mpg, which is actually pretty decent for a naturally aspirated petrol-powered 4x4 that appears to have the aerodynamics of a three-bed semi.

  • No. The Jimny LCV has only ever been offered with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The engine has no turbocharger, so needs to be revved quite hard to perform with any degree of enthusiasm, which is less than ideal in a commercial vehicle.

  • The 1.5-litre petrol engine in the Suzuki Jimny was unable to meet the ever-stricter emissions rules for passenger cars, which necessitated the car’s removal from sale. The engine is able to meet the less-strict regulations for commercial vehicles, which means that Suzuki can continue to sell it as a van with no rear seats.

  • Given that the Jimny LCV is designed for delivery jobs in the back of beyond, you’d expect it to have decent ground clearance, and it does. It has 210mm of ground clearance, and extremely short overhangs at each end, which will allow it to traverse severe terrain.