Everyone Wants A Suzuki Jimny: Jeep and Toyota are Responding
Everybody loves the Suzuki Jimny, and we don’t even get them here in the US. We don’t get any Suzuki cars and trucks anymore. It would seem anecdotally there is a market in the US for these super-mini Jeep-like off-roaders. Now we have signals from both Jeep and Toyota that they’re more than just looking at producing something in this segment.
Marco Pigozzi, Jeep’s European Head of Brand Marketing, has been teasing such a vehicle for years. This comes from the Head of Brand Marketing for Europe. So, it would seem that he wouldn’t be discussing this if it weren’t in the works.
And Toyota has gone further with the debut of its Compact Cruiser last year, a mini FJ if there ever was one. Riding on Toyota’s e-TNGA electric platform, it’s the same underpinning as its bZ4x and the Subaru Solterra. Hopefully, by the time a production version is ready, it will offer a better range and fast charging numbers than the bZ4x and Solterra.
A brief bit about the Suzuki Jimny
For those not familiar with the Suzuki Jimny, here’s a brief rundown. First, Suzuki pulled out of the US in 2013. It has sold the Jimny since 1970 and rebadged it “Samurai” when it hit our shores in 1985. Things went well for the Samurai until Consumer Reports kept tipping their tester over.
After CR published its test results along with images of the tipping Samurai in 1988 sales dropped off the chart. That was the end of the Samurai/Jimny. In total Suzuki has sold almost three million worldwide over the decades. Then Suzuki tooled up a slightly larger “Sidekick” which GM adopted as the Geo Tracker. Remember those? And it sued CR for $60 million. A settlement was reached out of court with CR saying it might have been a bit overzealous in its assessment of the Samurai. It didn’t matter much at this point, with the Samurai not having been sold here since 1995.
Where you can still get a Jimny today is in Japan, Australia, and South America. And in China, several small off-road EVs are sold. The GM joint venture SAIC and Wuling make the Baojin Yep mini EV, which comes pretty close to what we’re talking about here. And an all-new Jimny debuted in 2019, with a four-door version just released in 2023.
How much could a mini Jeep or Toyota FJ cost?
If the Jimny was sold here, it would probably go for around $25,000. The estimated price for Toyota’s Mini-FJ EV would probably hover around $40,000. As nothing definitive has yet to come from Jeep, pricing is hard to pinpoint. But we’ll say that as diminutive as these mini off-roaders might be, they would both need the ability to climb some steep stuff to dismiss any doubts about their prowess. Toyota already has a good start.
The concept features good ground clearance, short overhangs, and lots of skidplates. That means at least the Mini-FJ could handle off-road adventures, and do it better than a Jeep Wrangler based on its size alone. And as an EV, it’s a sustainable alternative to gas- and diesel-powered larger 4x4s.
So what about the Jeep Jimny version?
From what we know a Jeep/Jimny will be a tad longer than 13 feet long. It will slot just below the Jeep Renegade. Also, it looks like it will be close to the size of the Jimny. The electric platform underpinning certain Citroen and Peugeot electric vehicles already exists as the “Common Modular Platform” that could work.
Since this platform is able to be modified to fit under just about anything including a small vehicle like this. If Jeep was to add an electric motor for the rear axle it could create a 4×4 EV. That would get with the program in a big way. You’ll need to let Jeep and Toyota know if you would like a baby Jeep. Who knows, it might help goose things along.