The long awaited fourth-generation Jimny is finally here, offering a blend of retro aesthetics with the best ever performance off- and on-road from Suzuki’s ageless 4x4.

The Jimny has always taken the road less travelled, as a small, lightweight and functional vehicle, majoring on good design and simplicity to deliver performance both off and on the road. It’s a unique approach in a sector filled with large, heavily styled feature-overloaded 4WDs aimed increasingly at urban driving. The Jimny is famed as an honest and durable 4x4 that blazes its own trail in the SUV landscape, but the new generation vehicle retains everything that was attractive about the earlier models while improving in every area: smoothness and agility off-road, fuel economy and performance on-road, and sheer practicality for people who routinely drive in the harshest weather and terrain. Earlier this year a modified Jimny scooped the world altitude record for 4x4s, reaching a height of 6,646m in Chile  – proof that the Jimny can go where no other 4WDs can follow. The Jimny has truly created a cult-like following with its giant slaying off-road capabilities.

The new Jimny returns to the simple, no-nonsense aesthetics of the earlier vehicles. Styling cues echo the JB10 of 1970 and the SJ30 Samurai of 1981, with round headlights, slotted radiator grille and sharp-edged ‘two box’ configuration. It’s a bold and attractive form that stands out from the sculpted and streamlined norm. The interior is just as down-to-earth, with simple horizontal and vertical lines, allowing the driver to pick out instruments and controls at a glance, while instantly assessing the angle of the vehicle in rugged terrain. The external dimensions are only slightly larger than the third generation, but the new Jimny’s cabin is more spacious and ergonomic than any previous version.

The new Jimny may see a return to the simpler aesthetics of the past, but dynamically it represents a step into the future. Suzuki has taken time-honoured design choices for good off-road performance – a stiff ladder chassis, solid axles and a short wheelbase – and judiciously added new technology to turn a good off-road performance into a great one. Suzuki’s new Brake LSD Traction Control subtly adjusts wheel speed when crossing obstacles, making off-road driving even smoother. Part-time 4WD, for optimum performance off-road and fuel economy on-road, is retained from the previous model with enhanced and simplified operation.

But the Jimny’s compact dimensions make it just as nimble and practical in an urban environment as on the roughest trails. On-road performance is dramatically improved due to the stiff chassis, while a larger capacity engine 1.5 litre engine offers more power and torque while being lighter and having better fuel economy than the previous 1.3 litre. The tough, practical, go-anywhere Jimny is perennially popular in the Caribbean, and will continue to be, thanks to the new model. Wheels 24 calls it “The Lionel Messi of serious 4x4 adventuring”, and concludes that “In truly challenging off-road conditions the new Jimny has no real rival.”

The legend continues.