Suzuki GB have finally given us a sneak peak of the new 2019 Jimny due to arrive at the end of this year. So as we say goodbye to the current iconic model and usher in the new generation, we take a look back at the history of the Jimny.

Lauded over the years as a tough and rugged, cheap and cheerful 4x4, the Jimny has stayed true to its roots for decades.

FIRST GENERATION (1970 - 1981)

The original Jimny, dubbed the LJ10 was released back in 1970 and made its name as the one-and-only compact 4WD in the minicar segment. It may have been small, but it was mighty and quickly earned acclaim from both professional and regular users. Powered by a 360cc 25bhp engine (miniscule by today's standards) but with a chassis weighing just 590kg, it meant that it managed a top speed of 47mph.

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The first generation Jimny was revised several times during its 11 year production, with the final iteration making its debut as the SJ20 in 1977. This 770kg model had a new 797cc 4-stroke engine capable of 41bhp and was retired in 1981 to make way for the second generation Jimny.

Second Generation (1981 - 1998)

The second generation Jimny, also known as the SJ30, began production in 1981 with two engine choices. A 550cc or 660cc 3-cylinder. The new Japanese model was exported worldwide where it became known under a multitude of names such as "Samurai", "Sierra", "Potohar", "Caribian", "Katana" and "Gypsy", and it was this Suzuki "Samurai" that broke the world record for the highest altitude attained by a 4WD vehicle.

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In 2007, Chilean duo Gonzalo Bravo and Eduardo Canales drove their second generation Suzuki Jimny up Ojos del Salado, reaching a final altitude of 6,688 meters (21,942ft)! The previous record was held by a Jeep Wrangler, and the pair brought home a sign left by the Jeep team which read "Jeep Parking Only: All others don't make it up here anyway."

THIRD GENERATION (1998 - 2018)

Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997, the third generation Jimny encompassed a much more modern design but retaining its roots as a highly capable off-road vehicle. The engine was upgraded to a 1.3 80bhp version, and to improve fuel economy a drive change button was added to swap between 2WD & 4WD. In 2013, the Jimny was facelifted to the vehicle we know today; encompassing more onboard technology such as DAB radio, remote central locking and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

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So after an incredible 20 years on sale, we say farewell to the third generation Jimny as it steps aside to make way for the fourth generation model. And this is what we know so far.

FOURTH GENERATION (DUE LATE 2018)

Suzuki have unveiled some of the details of the new, fourth generation Suzuki Jimny - but they're keeping tight-lipped on specification and features of the new model. So what do we know so far?

A number of official images have been released showing the rugged, new exterior and an impressive array of colour choices from 2-tone "Kinetic Yellow" and "Chiffon Ivory" to single-tone "Jungle Green".

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Suzuki have also unveiled the Jimny's new interior, which features a colour touchscreen console incorporating sat nav and DAB radio (as seen in the Ignis, Swift, new Swift Sport, Vitara & S-Cross) amongst other creature comforts like air-conditioning - but still adheres to the clean, uncomplicated character of the Jimny.

We can only speculate as to what will be under the bonnet of the new Jimny. Our guess is that it may be similar to the Ignis and Swift 4x4 utilising the frugal 1.2 dualjet engine, or Suzuki may ramp up the power with the 1.0 boosterjet engine from the Baleno, Swift and S-Cross. What we do know is that Suzuki will be focusing on maintaining the Jimny as an affordable, capable off-roader; so expect this model to be no different to previous generations in terms of starting price and reliability.

Suffice to say... we're really looking forward to its arrival!

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SO, WHEN CAN I BUY ONE?

There's been no official release date for the 2019 Jimny yet, but we expect it to be officially unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. Current speculation is that the new model may go on sale at the end of the year, but at the moment it is too early to say.

If you want to be kept up-to-date on new information as we receive it, just get in touch.