• Sold overseas only
  • Subcompact SUV has retro styling
  • 1.5-liter 4-cylinder makes 100 horsepower

 

Suzuki may no longer be selling cars and trucks in the U.S., but perhaps we wish they were after seeing the 2019 Suzuki Jimny, which will make its European debut at the Paris Motor Show. The diminutive off-roader, formerly sold in the U.S. as the Samurai, capitalizes on rugged, simple looks in a subcompact package that could give the Jeep Renegade some serious competition.

Powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 100 horsepower and 95 lb-ft of torque, the Jimny has a back-to-basics look to it, with round headlamps, a slab-sided boxy body, exposed drip rails and a spare mounted out back on the side-hinged rear door. The retro look carries over into the interior with an upright dash, straightforward manual gearshift and basic bucket seats. The only hint of modernity in the cabin is the infotainment screen in the center of the dash.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2019

Dimensionally, the Jimny stays true to the original formula, riding on a short 88.5-inch wheelbase and measuring just 137 inches in overall length. It stands 64.7 inches tall and 67.7 inches wide, riding on 15-inch wheels. It weighs just over 2,400 pounds.

Helping the Jimny with its off-road prowess is body-on-frame construction with rigid front and rear axles suspended by coil springs. The 4-wheel drive system features a two-speed transfer case with a low range. The vehicle’s short overhangs and large approach and departure angles enable the Jimny to take on severe terrain. While it is a basic package, modern electronic aids add to the vehicle’s versatility with hill hold and hill descent control. The 2019 Suzuki Jimny is also equipped with modern driver assists like automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert and traffic sign recognition. Given Ford’s interest in a small off-roader positioned below the upcoming Bronco, perhaps Suzuki could be convinced to give it a go again in the U.S. market.

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