Suzuki Jimny History, Generations & More: Pocket-Sized Adventure

It is small in size, light on the pocket, and yet boasts capabilities that could put some larger and more expensive 4WD SUVs to shame. In this DubiCars Car Spotlight article, we dig deep and take a look at the Suzuki Jimny history, generations, models, and more. 

Suzuki Jimny History

Did you know, the Suzuki Jimny owes its existence to a small Japanese brand that you might not have heard of at all? Mitsubishi too has a role to play here. Let’s get right to it and explore the fascinating story of the Suzuki Jimny, tracing its journey through the decades and highlighting the key features that define each generation.

Origins Of The Suzuki Jimny

The words Suzuki Jimny are sure to conjure up images of a plucky little SUV conquering some tough terrain. Today, the Suzuki Jimny is known for its off-road prowess. However, its beginnings are rather humble. In fact, Suzuki didn’t even expect it to be as successful as it currently is.

HopeStar ON360 - Suzuki Jimny History

In the 1960s, a car manufacturer named Hope Motor Company developed a small, sturdy 4WD vehicle named the HopeStar ON360. It was powered by a 359cc, twin-cylinder, two-stroke engine sourced from Mitsubishi. The tiny engine produced just over 20hp and 32Nm. The ON360 didn’t even have doors. The brand only sold about 45 units of the ON360.

In 1968, Hope Motor Company sold the ON360’s design rights to Suzuki and Suzuki then began developing its own version of the ON360 — the Jimny.

First Generation | 1970-1981

The first-generation Suzuki Jimny, also known as the LJ10, made its debut in 1970. Initially designed as a lightweight and compact 4×4 for farmers and outdoor enthusiasts, the LJ10 quickly gained popularity for its off-road capabilities. It was a redesigned version of the Hope ON360 and Suzuki even replaced the Mitsubishi engine.

1st Gen Suzuki Jimny

Instead, it was powered by a Suzuki 359cc, two-stroke, two-cylinder engine. It was a Kei car, which means it was small and the taxes on it were the lowest. The market response to the Jimny surprised Suzuki. It even outsold the Mitsubishi Jeep, the market leader at the time.

Suzuki continued improving the Jimny, launching multiple updates and facelifts. The first one came in 1972 and was called the LJ20. In 1975, the SJ10 was launched and exports had officially begun. In 1977, Suzuki launched the SJ20, also known as the LJ80 and Jimny 8 in certain regions.

Second Generation | 1981-2019

In 1981, Suzuki introduced the second generation of the Jimny, marked by a more modern design and improved performance. It was known by several names in different markets over the years. This iteration featured a larger and more powerful 1.0-litre inline-4 engine and a more refined suspension system

2nd Gen Suzuki Jimny

This generation witnessed Suzuki’s global expansion as the Jimny started to make its presence felt in various international markets. Its compact size, capable off-road performance, and affordability contributed to its popularity worldwide. 

In the 90s, several markets saw the arrival of an updated Jimny with a large 1.3-litre G-series engine. These engines were known for their robust nature and tunability. The Jimny began conquering rally stages and off-road events and this generation is still an off-road enthusiast’s favourite even to this day.

2nd Gen Suzuki Jimny - Maruti Suzuki Hypsy

This generation was also called the Suzuki Samurai, Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, Suzuki Sierra, and Suzuki Super Jimny. Though production for international markets ended in 1998, it was produced in Spain until 2004, in Indonesia until 2005, and in India until 2019. It remains a mainstay of the Indian armed forces even to this day.

Third Generation | 1998-2018

The third generation, introduced in 1998, marked a significant departure from the traditional boxy design of its predecessors. With a more rounded and modern aesthetic, the Jimny continued to evolve without sacrificing its off-road prowess.

3rd Gen Suzuki Jimny

This generation continued to feature the 1.3-litre G13B inline-4. However, a later update brought with it a 1.5-litre unit in certain regions. The Jimny’s interior received a makeover, incorporating more comfort and convenience features. While maintaining its rugged capabilities, the third generation also appealed to urban drivers seeking a compact SUV with an adventurous spirit.

Fourth Generation | 2018-Present

The latest iteration of the Suzuki Jimny, the fourth generation, was introduced in 2018 and has continued to captivate enthusiasts worldwide. This model rekindles the spirit of the original LJ series with its distinctive boxy design while integrating modern features and technologies.

4th Gen Suzuki Jimny

It was initially available only in a short wheelbase 3-door configuration. In 2023, Suzuki introduced a five-door version which further added to the appeal. It features a modern 1.5-litre K15B engine that produces 103hp and 138Nm. It can be paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed AMT gearbox

The ladder-frame chassis, part-time four-wheel drive, and three-link rigid axle suspension contribute to its formidable off-road capabilities. Despite its modernization, the fourth-generation Jimny remains true to its roots as a rugged and capable off-road vehicle. It has gained a cult following for its charm, compact size, and exceptional off-road performance. 

4th Gen Suzuki Jimny

Most Popular Suzuki Jimny Generations In The UAE

In the UAE, there are a few enthusiasts who hold the second-generation Jimny very dear and have imported a few of them. However, it doesn’t even come close to being as popular as the fourth generation. 

The ability of the fourth-gen Suzuki Jimny to munch miles on the highway and bash some dunes in the desert, all while being efficient, comfortable, and value for money is simply unmatched.

4th Gen Suzuki Jimny

Find new Suzuki Jimny cars for sale in the UAE and used Suzuki Jimny cars for sale in the UAE.

Also Read:

Top 10 Cars From The 1990s That Redefined Speed & Performance

How To Sell Your Imported Car In The UAE

Top 10 Best Pickup Trucks In The UAE

Comment on this article

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *