Suzuki Jimny it is—or for can we refer to the old favorite “Jimmy,” Jimny which was a GMC SUV in the ’90s which small, affordable, elemental SUV that’s been missing from many dealerships since Jeep’s Wrangler went huge, Hyundai and Kia grew up and started building crossovers. With off-roaders roaring back, however, it’s worth taking a few moments to drool over the Jimny.
Suzuki showed off a Jimny pickup truck concept at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon, and it garnered more positive hype for the already beloved new-generation 4×4. But more than a year later, there are no signs that a production version is coming in the immediate future, if at all. So, members of the aftermarket are building their own.
The Suzuki’s spec sheet describes a delightfully sparse yet rugged little vehicle. You can have your Jimny any way you want as long as it’s with two doors, a fixed roof, and four-wheel drive with low-range gearing. A 101-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder can be paired with either a four-speed automatic (throwback!) or a proper five-speed manual. You can probably guess which transmission does a better job extracting maximum performance, if that’s the right word, from that tiny engine. Just like a Wrangler, the Suzuki rides on coil-sprung solid axles front and rear. Dripping wet, a fully optioned Jimny weighs about 2500 pounds (the lightest version tips the scales, barely, at 2400 pounds). And from its snub nose to its externally mounted spare tire in back, it measures just under 12 feet long.
In today’s world, where vehicles increasingly isolate drivers and passengers from the road and the surrounding world, the starkly elemental Jimny is a throwback in modern clothing. The Interior is simple, though, yes, it offers a touchscreen, and the exterior is highlighted by big round headlights, bumpers, and lots of flat sheet metal. (In fact, if its styling looks a little familiar, it’s because the second-generation Jimny from the ’80s was sold here as the Samurai.) We really want one and you
Suzuki Jimny pickup truck conversions aren’t a new thing but a conversion kit for the new-ish current-generation Jimny is new. In UK Shropshire Quads, a small family-owned distributor of ATVs, started converting Jimnies into pickup trucks in 2017 to fill what it perceived to be a gap in the agricultural vehicle market. That gap, according to the company’s website, called for “a small, lightweight pickup with more creature comforts and reliability than your usual UTVs.” After some research and development, the company settled on the small yet capable Suzuki Jimny as a base, and it’s been selling lightly used Jimny truck conversions ever since.
Because the current Jimny uses the same ladder-frame chassis as the previous model, adapting its truck conversion kit for the latest Suzuki SUV probably didn’t require too much work. Also carried over from the last-gen Jimny are the five-speed manual transmission and low-range transfer case. But one welcome upgrade is the new model’s bigger engine, which now displaces 1.5 liters and makes 100 horsepower and 95 lb-ft of torque (up 14 ponies from the outgoing version). We’d also argue that the new Jimny looks better with its retro styling that hearkens back to earlier generations (remember the Suzuki Samurai? That was the only Jimny we got in the U.S., officially). Its ultra-boxy look also brings to mind other tough 4x4s like the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen—so much so that there’s another company in Japan that sells body kits that make your Jimny look even more like one of those bigger, pricier SUVs.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen and fantasized about a Jimny pickup truck. Back in 2018, Suzuki showed off a concept it called the Jimny Sierra Pickup Style at the Tokyo auto show. It’s unclear whether the automaker plans to produce a Jimny truck model of its own, but even if it does, it definitely won’t come here—and there’s a chance it might not even make it to the U.K.
The Jimny’s 1.5-liter gas engine emits abnormally high levels of carbon dioxide, which means Suzuki will have to stop selling the SUV in the U.K. by 2021. There’s a chance that the Jimny could continue to be sold there as a commercial vehicle, but no decision has been made yet. So if you live in the British Isles and want a new Jimny with a truck bed, buy a stock SUV now and give Shropshire Quads a call—and have at least £7,500 (roughly $9,340) in hand.