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We’ve already reported Suzuki’s new product plan: six new models over the next three years, with the principle being there’s both a sensible and a sporty choice in each of the segments Suzuki occupies.

One car is set to sit proudly outside of the product plan though. Step forward, Jimny. The plucky little off-roader is likened to the Land Rover Defender by Suzuki’s UK sales chief Dale Wyatt, thanks to its go-anywhere ability and huge popularity with farmers, who typically only chop in their Jimny for another.

Good point, but it’s also like the Defender in that it’s really bloody old now. Introduced in 1998, the current generation (pictured) will be nearly two decades old by the time it’s replaced in 2017. But given the car’s cultish appeal, Suzuki isn’t planning on revolution.

“The next Jimny will be an evolution”, Wyatt told TG. “It will follow the same recipe. When you see it you’ll know it’s a Jimny.

“If you were a sheep farmer in the Scottish hills you’d see the car is perfect; no argument to change it.” 

That may be a niche audience, but it’s a reliable one, Suzuki selling 1500 Jimnys in the UK each year despite the fact its price reliably rises with inflation. It achieves those sales with zero marketing, Wyatt is
keen to point out.

The current Jimny is known for its extreme off-roading ability, which it possesses at the cost of on-road manners and everyday comfort (even a heater is optional). As we’ve reported in the past, it’s a very compromised road car.

“It’s a loveable icon”, continued Wyatt. “You’ve got to forgive it for its flaws, as they’re why it’s so good at what it does.”

While the current car requires plenty of off-road driving skill, shorn of of the hill start assist or hill descent control trickery that make other 4x4s more accessible, the next Jimny will usher in some basic assistance
systems. It will remain an authentic 4x4, though, we’re assured, and it will be as narrow and wieldy as the car it replaces.

We’re likely to see the new Jimny at one of 2016’s major motor shows prior to its 2017 launch. Are you glad Suzuki’s standing firm? Or should it be overhauled, like the new Vitara?

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