Mercedes and I went to Iceland in July. As we were booking details for the trip last spring, including a rental car, it dawned on me that we could rent a little bit of North American unobtainium. A new 2019 Suzuki Jimny.
Low and behold, we were able to snag one of these little 4x4s for our nine-day trip to the island nation. I’ll let the video do most of the talking about the rig, however. Side note: People may think of dried fish or rotting shark meat as a traditional Icelandic food, hot dogs are probably the most available and popular quick bite—and they’re everywhere (and amazing).
We didn’t touch on a few things in the video, but I’ll keep this brief: In in the city, the Jimny is brilliant. Great turning radius, zippy acceleration, and it’s easy-peasy to park. The narrow Icelandic highways have a maximum speed of 90 kmh (56 mph), and the 100 hp Jimny is a great cruiser for this infrastructure. Yes, it will go faster and even cruise faster, it’s totally happy at 100 kmh (62 mph) and under. Our rental even had cruise control, lane keeping, and an anti-sway feature which we put to the test in 50 mph wind gusts. Of course, off pavement is where this little guy shines. With a two-speed transfer case, the Jimny has the ability to zoom down dirt roads with ease or crawl slowly up rocky trails. We did both, and the Jimny never flinched. It’s simply a brilliant vehicle.
Our slick-shifting five-speed micro ute was a complete blast to drive in nearly every scenario we encountered. It was a great mix of new tech and old-time ruggedness. I just wish we could’ve brought it home with us; even the color was right. It wasn’t without its issues. The rear seats have seatbelt sensors that don’t shut off even if the seats are folded down with gear on them. Fastening the rear belts around our cargo solved the problem. Additionally, it definitely got thrown around by crosswinds. I mean look at the thing? It’s like the size and weight of a box of Kleenex. We still adored it.
But alas, after nine days, we had to leave Iceland and leave the Jimny there. It’s a damned travesty that North America doesn’t get this amazing ute. I wish there were some way it could make it here, whether under another brand (hey, Suzuki and Mitsubishi already have a kei car partnership … Montero Jr.?) or as a full-blown return to the North American Market (I’m not holding my breath). The bottom line is that the Jimny is a world-class all-road runabout. I’m totally smitten.
While the 2019 Suzuki Jimmy isn’t available for sale in the U.S., that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few here. I’m wondering if Suzuki Motor of America might have a couple floating around for ‘test purposes’, you know? We had GT-Rs and a bunch of other Nissan vehicles that weren’t legal in the U.S. at our HQs, and occasionally I’d see non-U.S. spec Toyotas and Hondas in the vicinity since all three were within a 10-mile radius.
Unobtainium is the one part of any vehicle that makes them so damn captivating. I admit to a micro car fetish of my own, as I used to test drive Suzukis all the time when I lived in Southern California. They were so much smaller than most of the other Japanese cars of that time, and it was a shame to see them go away. The same could be said for Isuzu, and prior to Nissan’s involvement, it looked as though Mitsubishi wouldn’t be around much longer.
Nice review, Andy and Mercedes.
Great insight, Jason, and I agree on all fronts.
I don’t really know what it’d take to get the new Jimny to the U.S. in terms of compliance and federalization. If it’s sold in Europe, my guess is it’d be pretty easy to get it sold here. However, with the brand no longer selling passenger cars, it’d need to either show up as a badge-engineered vehicle or, as mentioned, come with a reintroduction of Suzuki to the North American market which seems even less likely than a Jimny sold under another marque.
My tinfoil hat “compact conspiracy” (read: dream scenario) would be that Mitsubishi leverages its relationship with Suzuki and finds away to introduce the Jimny to the North American market wearing a three-diamond badge. Maybe call it the Montero Sport again. Hey, they brought the Eclipse name back. This would also align with Mitsubishi’s new Small But Beautiful strategy. However, it’s yet to be seen whether that mantra will also be used in North America.
All I know is this: If I could get one tomorrow, I’d find a way to do so. And yes, it’s that good.
Thank you for taking me on the tour with you. Love it as much as Bert did.
Love you 2.