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.