If you happened to see a green 2019 Suzuki Jimny in and around Los Angeles these past few days, you weren’t dreaming.
It was for real and it was a Suzuki-owned press car. Wait, don’t jump into conclusions just yet. As you may know, Suzuki left the U.S. market in 2012 and doesn’t plan to return. The reason Suzuki shipped the Jimny to Los Angeles had nothing to do with the auto show but with the 2019 World Car Awards.
The tiny SUV is one of 38 cars shortlisted for the prestigious award and is in play for both the 2019 World Car of The Year grand prize and 2019 World Urban Car award. As is customary, the 48 jurors have to drive the cars in order to assess them, and this year it was LA’s turn to host the World Car Awards test drives (November 24-29) on the Angeles Crest Highway. There, puzzle solved.
Now, we know what you’re thinking, a small capable off-roader like the 2019 Jimny would sell really well in the United States. We can’t argue with that but sadly the Jimny remains one of many cars U.S. buyers can’t have.
The journalists that drove the Jimny on U.S. roads had mostly positive things to say about it. CNET’s Steven Ewing shared some driving impressions on his Twitter account and said “it has a ton of body roll and bounces around, it kind of feels like a tiny Wrangler.”
I’ve been driving the Suzuki Jimny around LA today for @WorldCarAwards testing. It’s super interesting, and not for sale in the US. I’ll start a thread here with some thoughts. @roadshow pic.twitter.com/KCQlHhWsjP
— Steven Ewing (@stevenewing) November 24, 2018
He also said the 100-hp 1.5-liter gasoline engine is powerful enough for driving around town “but runs out of steam above 75 mph (120 km/h) on the highway.” While it would need a little more power to survive in U.S. traffic and it’s too small inside for most people, the Jimny is described as “a total hoot” by Ewing.
CarBuyer’s Ginny Buckley is also part of the jury and she seemed thrilled to drive the Jimny as well. Too bad U.S. customers won’t get the chance to test drive the pint-sized off-roader.
— Ginny Buckley 🐝 (@GinnyBuckley) November 26, 2018