What is it?
Like a phoenix arising from the ashes, this is the reborn Suzuki Jimny obtaining a new lease of life thanks to an unlikely avenue: the van market.
After arriving in 2018, the fourth-generation Jimny quickly built up a huge backlog of orders, but the small off-roader’s relatively high CO2 emissions always risked jeopardising Suzuki’s European fleet average.
Following confirmation that the passenger car model would be phased out throughout 2020 ahead of changes to the emissions regulations introduced on 1 January 2021, Suzuki eventually confirmed an N1 light commercial vehicle (LCV) version would go on sale this year in its place.
As a van, the Jimny LCV doesn't contribute to its fleet average and therefore doesn’t impact upon the 95g/km it needs to achieve. Instead, it's governed by more lenient regulations for vans.
The Jimny LCV is then, the first commercial vehicle from the Japanese brand since the Carry microvan. But don’t be under any illusions that the commercial vehicle version of the Jimny heralds a triumphant return to vans for the company. It's very much a way of continuing to sell the fun and exceedingly popular Jimny despite EU regulations forcing the car off sale.
For all intents and purposes, the Jimny LCV is the same as the passenger car, with no differences in its powertrain, suspension or body. Power comes from the same 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 100bhp and 95 lb ft and is paired to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The part-time four-wheel-drive system is unchanged and so too is the three-link rigid-axle suspension with coil springs. What has changed is the removal of the rear seats, which have been replaced by a steel-and-mesh bulkhead to separate the driver and passenger from the new loadspace area.
To achieve a load length of more than 900mm (to enable the Jimny LCV qualify as a commercial vehicle), the front seats have been moved forward 10mm, creating a total usable area of 0.86 cubic metres (or 863 litres), which is 33 litres more than the passenger car has when the seats are folded flat.
It also has the same safety features as the outgoing passenger car, with Dual Sensor Brake Support with automatic emergency braking, an eCall emergency assist function, tyre pressure monitoring, hill hold and hill descent control.
It gets black 15in steel wheels and a more basic DAB radio with Bluetooth rather than the touchscreen with sat-nav that top-spec SZ5 car models could have, but the LCV does get a multi-function steering wheel and air conditioning as standard.