It’s endearing, it’s off-road-capable, and we can’t have it in the US. That ‘it’ is the Suzuki Jimny, a small-scale SUV that’s charmed a good portion of the world. Unfortunately, the modern Jimny isn’t sold here, as is the case with Suzuki’s other cars. But classic models are now old enough to import at relatively low prices. And one of these SUVs, a 1994 Suzuki Jimny ‘SJ413’ Sierra, is now available on Cars & Bids.
The Suzuki Jimny SJ413 is an off-road Samurai by another name
For a brief period of time, Suzuki did offer a version of the Jimny in the US. In 1985, the Japanese brand launched its first US-market four-wheeled vehicle, the 1986 Suzuki Samurai, MotorTrend reports. Unfortunately, a Consumer Reports scandal meant Samurai sales plummeted, and the lightweight SUV was discontinued after 1995.
The Samurai, though, was essentially the US version of the second-gen ‘SJ410/SJ413’ Suzuki Jimny. So, while the US market was closed, overseas sales continued. And by the mid-90s, the little SUV gained several notable upgrades.
Introduced in 1985, the ‘SJ413’ Suzuki Jimny was more advanced than the earlier SJ410, Suzuki Club UK says. Instead of a 45-bhp 970cc four-cylinder engine with a four-speed manual, the SJ413 models have a 63-bhp 1342cc engine with a five-speed manual. Suzuki also changed the standard 4WD system’s axle ratios and swapped the front drum brakes with power-assisted discs. And with the Samurai’s launch, the whole Jimny lineup gained wider axles, retuned suspension geometry, and a new dashboard design.
The SJ413 Suzuki Jimny didn’t get the same mid-1988 updates as the US-market Samurai. However, the SUV did get a new standard fuel-injected engine in 1992. The 1298cc four-cylinder engine makes 66 hp and 76 lb-ft of torque, making it slightly more powerful than the 1342cc engine. But, more importantly, it’s more fuel-efficient, especially at higher speeds.
With leaf springs instead of the later coils and solid axles, the SJ413 Suzuki Jimny/Samurai isn’t exactly comfortable or refined, MT says. But just like the modern Jimny can hang with G-Wagons, the vintage version can match pace with contemporary 4Runners and Monteros, Hagerty reports. A 1994 Suzuki Jimny isn’t fast, but it only weighs 2100 lbs. That, combined with its 4WD, compact size, and solid axles, make off-roading a breeze. And its steering is surprisingly accurate. It’s basically “the nonconformist’s Wrangler,” MT muses.
There’s a 1994 Jimny Sierra up for sale on Cars & Bids
The Suzuki Jimny currently listed on Cars & Bids is a two-door Sierra model, usually sold in-period with a convertible soft-top. This 1994 example, though, has a factory hardtop. And while a five-speed manual was the standard transmission, this Jimny has the optional three-speed automatic.
Being an SJ413 Suzuki Jimny, this 1994 SUV has the upgraded dash, as well as manual-locking front hubs and manual door locks and windows. Speaking of windows, this SUV has pop-out quarter windows. Also, a folding rear seat, two-speed transfer case, altimeter, inclinometer, and A/C.
In addition, this Jimny has a number of modifications. It has a suspension lift and rides on 16” wheels wrapped in recently-replaced tires. It also has running boards, a bull bar with fog lights, and tinted windows. And inside, it has leather seat covers, a Nardo wood-trimmed steering wheel, and an aftermarket Kenwood head unit.
Admittedly, some of this Jimny’s rear-window tint is starting to peel. But apart from a small passenger-seat tear and some scratches, it’s in fairly good condition. Plus, it has less than 57,500 miles on the clock, and the seller just changed the oil and oil filter.
An imported Suzuki Jimny makes for a more affordable Samurai
As of this writing, this 1994 Suzuki Jimny Sierra is listed on Cars & Bids for $5200 with three days left in the auction. That’s on the bottom end of what Samurais usually go for, Hagerty claims.
Speaking of the Samurai, an imported Jimny tends to be cheaper than an unmodified Samurai. Not to mention significantly easier to get your hands on these days. So, if you’re looking for a simple, rugged off-roader, this Suzuki SUV might be a worthy bargain.
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