Origins: New Suzuki Jimny Bumps Into Its Ancestor, The SJ410/Samurai

Suzuki has been enjoying great success with the latest Jimny, proving that not everyone wants a raised hatchback pretending to be an off-roader.

The Japanese company has a rather long tradition of affordable off-roaders, which started with the introduction of the LJ10 in 1970. Most people, however, first fell in love with these little Suzukis when they came up with the SJ40 generation, also known as the Samurai.

Autocar got their hands on a lovely 1989 SJ410 that spent most of its lifetime off the public roads. Under the square bonnet lies a tiny 1.0-liter engine with just 45hp, but with only 900kg (1,984lbs) to haul around, performance is a little better than expected.

What’s also to be expected is the dodgy on-road handling; these cars were built as off-roaders first and foremost, meaning that the whole car bounces around with every undulation while the steering would easily win a vagueness competition.

Take it off the beaten path, though, and the SJ410 will take you to places that will trouble much more expensive off-roaders, thanks to its almost non-existent overhangs and tiny footprint.

The new Jimny manages to retain all the core values of the SJ and its direct predecessor, but in a much more modern and easier-to-live-with package. It may still have “only” 100hp, but its road manners are light years ahead of the SJ and still manages to make you smile every time you go off-roading.


  • ace_9

    I could not watch the video because of that noob CONSTANTLY putting his left hand on a gear lever. That’s not only dangerous, but it also damages the transmission components and is stupid overall. Mostly done by people who don’t have a clue about driving, nor mechanical principles of a car. I’m surprised such a person is doing automotive reviews. I would not listen to anything he says just because he does not even know how to drive properly.

    • Adam

      Such a stupid statement. He is not pulling the gear lever back and forth. I drive like this all the time and I know about the mechanical principles of a car and I know how to drive well. Never had an issue. Please explain how one should drive, Sherlock?

      • ace_9

        I’m not explaining anything about driving to people that are clueless in that matter. It would be a waste of time.

        • Adam

          True. I shouldn’t have asked someone who clearly has no idea about the mechanical relationship between a gear lever and a gear box on how to explain how to drive. Lesson learned 😘

          • ace_9

            Fine. Transmission components wear depends on the construction and I will not go deeper, because we would end up at dissecting internal transmission components of only some specific cars. It is simply always generally better to avoid it . Not resting a hand on a gear lever is even stated in many car manuals. But what’s most important is that it can be dangerous for you and also for the others. Resting your hand on a gear lever has literally zero positive effects.
            You also asked how one should drive, so I will explain. The proper way of holding the steering wheel is with both hands at 9 and 3 o’clock with thumbs not curled to the inside too much. Most cars nowadays have ergonomically shaped portions on a steering wheel. They are not there for no reason. Operating other controls (including gear lever) should be done always only with one hand (the other kept on a steering wheel) as efficiently and fast as possible and then moving the hand back to the steering wheel. You probably think that this is mostly valid for racing drivers, but I will also explain why it’s true for all drivers. Having only one hand on a steering wheel slows down or even prevents the proper reaction to sudden torque applied to steering wheel by external forces. One hand is simply not so strong as two hands, especially in extreme positions on a steering wheel, when big steering input is required (e.g. big turn). And having only one hand at a wrong position on a steering wheel also limits possible turning range. Having thumb/s curled around a wheel to grip it properly can result in a broken thumb in certain situations (huge pothole, puncture, other car crashing into your car). Having hand/s at improper position (which is common with one hand steering) can also result in arm injury when airbag is deployed. Using only one hand is also dangerous during sudden hard braking and can result in a bad driver position for airbag deployment in a following crash. In most of the unexpected situations requiring a sudden steering input, the other hand is usually necessary and the overall reaction is slowed down by the time necessary to put the other hand on a steering wheel properly and using it to steer. So it is also very important for reaction times. If all this does not matter to you, than you maybe can drive well, but not in unexpected situations or when going fast (of course, I’m not talking about a straight empty highway).
            Now I invite you to enlighten us about the benefits of one hand steering and second hand resting on a gear lever…

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Resting your hand on a gear lever has literally zero positive effects.
            What are the negative ones?

          • ace_9

            You must be kidding… I thought that you can at least read…

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Indulge me.

          • ace_9

            Learn to read… I wrote a lengthy comment about negatives and you ask what are the negatives like a total imbecile…

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Thank you for informing me I am a total imbecile.
            I still don’t see the real reason that Resting your hand on a gear lever has literally zero positive effects.
            I must find that “driver’s handbook of dangerous gearshift manoeuvres.”

          • ace_9

            Having one hand on a gear lever means using only one hand on a steering wheel and that’s the most important negative.
            I certainly hope that you are not going to ask about the negatives of having only one hand on a steering wheel.

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Thanks Skip. I swear I’ll never change gear again. Bloody fools and their gears…mutter, mutter.

    • Marc

      Ace that only applies to inline gearboxes when the gear stick went directly into the top of the gearbox, you could cause excessive wear to the selector fork. But now most gearboxes will use 2 cables or bars.

  • charlotteharry57

    I’m shocked at how much smaller the Jimny is. Does this thing have any higher than the lowest possible crash tests scores? I doubt it. It’d never be able to pass US safety regs, so please stop pining for it.

  • Six_Tymes

    I wonder who would win in a boxing ring, ace_9 or Adam?

    • Adam

      I fight with words not fists. So if it’s a boxing ring, probably ace_9, but if it’s with words, then I’ll provide the knockout 😉

    • ace_9

      That’s really relevant here…

  • Maricaibo

    Ah, yes- the infamous Suzuki Sepuku.

  • Gullet

    Samuraj is the coolest name. They should have kept it.

  • ace_9

    Nice that you ignored the most important part of my comment. That’s what stupid people do to keep being stupid. Bravo.

    • Adam

      I ignored it because it wasn’t worth replying to. I’m an effective and safe driver and I don’t need an internet know it all to tell me. Much love 😘

      • ace_9

        Yes, yes, one-hand drivers are always the most effective and safe 😀

        • Adam

          Wow! You really do not like disabled people do you! Way to go showing your true colours!

          • ace_9

            You are pathetic… But I knew that already from your stupid smileys. Only losers are communicating that way.
            For people that are not pathetic like you: Disabled people don’t have a choice and they need specially modified car controls to be able to drive a car safely. And even with modifications it’s not always the same level of safety as with all working limbs. But it’s not fair or even relevant to use disabled people as an excuse for something, e.g. poor driving habits. That’s what only the lowest people do when they are cornered, instead of admitting that they are wrong.

          • Adam

            Hahahahaha! You are hilarious! Your comments make me laugh. I’m not cornered, sweetheart. Only a person who is not winning an argument resorts to using insults. I’m also not going to admit I’m wrong when I’m clearly right. Much love 😘

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