The Suzuki Jimny Takes Over Tokyo Auto Salon

Every year at Tokyo Auto Salon, I always make a point to find the most popular platform among Japanese tuning shops. Without a shadow of a doubt, the new Suzuki Jimny was 2019’s winner.

People just can’t seem to get enough of the little off-roader, and the fact that a vast number of tuners are working their magic on them is testament to the model’s popularity in Japan right now.


I’ve already shown you the monster truck-inspired Jimny from Shibata/R31 House, but it’s so damn cool that I have to include another photo here. Shibata-san’s interpretation of the Jimny had to be the most extreme version at Makuhari Messe.


Given the Jimny’s box-like shape, it was a no brainier for Kato-san of Liberty Walk – the man responsible for making miniature versions of the NSX and GT-R – to draw inspiration from the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon and create the G-Mini.

Liberty Walk wasn’t alone – it seemed like a few other tuners had the same idea, too.

DAMD went to town on their demo car, ensuring the interior kept up the exterior image.


But what if you consider yourself more of an adventurer of the great outdoors, and the G-Wagon’s urban jungle status isn’t suited for you? Well, DAMD has another option, this time with a bit of Land Rover influence. Knobbly BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/As, skid plate, roof rack light bar, and you’re good to go.


It may be simple, but a decent lift kit and set of purposeful tires really sets the Jimny off.


While I was at TAS shooting these Jimnys, I wondered why some shops opted to take the flares off when they look so good with them on. It turns out that removing the flares means the Suzuki can be classed as a kei car, which equates to cheaper taxes and running costs.


Renowned brands including Bilstein, HKS and Cusco have all got in behind the Jimny; there are already aftermarket parts to help the Suzuki corner flatter, improve ride comfort, and gain extra power through exhaust systems and turbocharger upgrades.

Suzuki itself presented two interpretations of the Jimny – the Sierra, which reminds me of a miniature FJ (minus the fake woodgrain), and the Survive.

Unlike the Sierra the Survive keeps the rear section, and has also been equipped with rock sliders, skid plates to protect vitals underneath, an exoskeleton roll cage, and high lift jack. As the name suggests, this Jimny was designed to survive anywhere.


Some of the craziest builds at TAS can always be found on the Nihon Automotive Technology School (NATS) booth, and this year its student-built ‘Jimny Adventure’ was definitely a show-stopper.


A group of 13 worked on transforming the Jimny and creating the trailer out back. Using heavily modified Jeep rigs for inspiration, the students went about cutting the doors in half, lifting frame a few inches, and added an exoskeleton roll cage and 40-inch tires. The party trick is a roof that opens and closes electrically.


When creating a TAS build, NATS students must ensure that their vehicle can pass Japan’s stringent shaken inspection. Normally, if your tires poke out pass the fenders (which in this case they easily do), a car won’t pass, but since the exoskeleton is a part of the frame structure, they technically count as fenders so it’s all legal. Pretty clever, right?

I know which one of these Jimnys I’d take home if given the chance, but how about you? Does one tick all the boxes, or would you mix and match to make your perfect Suzuki mini off-roader?

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography



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I don't know why but I love this cute thing so much
I hope the Jimny comes to India soon!


Same here


Really dig the cream one with the roof tent. The Jimny is certainly the best new car out there.


road legal and cheaper than a side by side. redneck rejoice.


R.I.P Suzuki Corp. USA


This is not fit for the US market. That is just the truth. This thing is cool but would not help Suzuki out here at all.


Are the United States not getting it either? I feel your pain as the UK is getting it, but not Ireland.


Ireland not getting the Jim is an archetypal injustice,
and I, for one, really cannot understand the reasoning behind it...


That shouldn't be to hard to import from Northern Ireland? At least until the Brexit? I had an old LJ80 as my first car. Sj413 shortblock with the Swift GTI heads and some other mods: 145 Bhp on tap in 900Kg.


Could do, but would mean a trip North for any service / warranty items along with an outrageous amount of import tax (which would have to be paid anyway, but it feels much worse when you're paying it directly to the government)


And what about waiting until they become available in the second hand market? By then importing won't be that expensive? Vat is exempt after 6 month or 6000Km. the VRT is just a percentage of current market value, so when they're about 3 years old that isn't that much. And parts missing or damage will only lower the economic market value, so there is a quite a lot of leeway. Percentage wise its somewhere around the 30% fee range or Band E. Its kind of a brick on wheels, so thats why the fee's so high....


This is how I know you're not Irish XD

In theory, you are correct. In reality, it literally never works like that here as Revenue themselves determine the market value. Although, we don't have it as bad as other places, truth be told.


Definitly not Irish! Have been there a couple of times though and have friends living there.

But they do account for market value based on condition. Lets say the same as a site like hagerty does? And they have to based on current market values. Buying price can be way lower then economic value based in your country. So it's still way cheaper if you do it right.


Again, in theory, you're correct.

The reality is that if you buy a car from outside Ireland, you must bring it for a VRT inspection where they choose a valuation seemingly at random. Regardless of what they choose, you must pay that fee and then attempt to appeal it afterwards if you think it's unfair.

There's currently talk at the moment of stopping imports which are over 10 years old also...


Not only in theory: In real life as well. There are EU laws, which Ireland, as well as any other country in the EU, must abide by. They can put a stop to importing altogether (country based decision), but they can't make unjust pricing ajustments based on their own desires(territory based decision). As long as your in the EU you have to abide to them. So it really can't be based on something random, but is just based on economic value. They even have to let you know what the current economic value is based on. That alone is reason enough for it to not be based on something random. Every appeal would be lost by the government of Ireland. They most certainly aren't that stupid.

The UK on the other hand won't have that same ruling in place, as they are no longer in the EU come next year....


They can, and they do. There's no way to know how much you will be charged until you've already purchased the car and presented it for VRT inspection. There's an online calculator, but it's rarely correct. If you can't afford the VRT, you have to sell and export the car immediately.

But this is a conversation about Jimnys :)


And registering it as a van has only 13,3% fee.

As a side note: Wow: €200,-- flat rate for vintage cars? Damn thats cheap!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I seriously did not expect the new Jimny to explode into the scene like this! I really hope that rendered 6x6 version would become a reality. LOL!


Only a matter of time for a 6x6 one!


This is genius. The new jimny will no doubt be the most capable offroader base of all street legal cars... just an engine and axle swap away from a lizard-agile beast.


Wish suzuki would come back to USA. I'd buy one of these guys. And give my suzuki sidekick to the kids.

Clapped out Nissan Micra

WOW The Mini Defender one is soooo cute


The Jimny is actually offered in two main specs Ron. One is the Kei class version without fenders and the one the rest of the world is getting.


Correct, two flavors
1) Jimny 660cc Kei
2) Jimmy Sierra 1.5L


So happy these things are going main stream there will be so many custom parts available for them compared to the (still popular) older generations of jimny.


Was the HKS stand manned by the M.I.B? :)


Wow what a nice looking little off-roader, hope they comes to Indonesia sooner. Well done Suzuki!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

So much want! This is Japan's unexpected surprise for 2018, a run away success and will continue to be over the course of 2019. There's currently an 18 month waiting list in Japan...nuts!!


I was shocked when the saleman said “you can order but expect delivery in 12+ months for the Kei/660cc and 18-24 for the Sierra/1.5L.”
I test drove both, I’d chose the 1.5L.



I was shock when the saleman said “you can order but expect delivery in 12+ months for the Kei/660cc and 18-24 for the Sierra/1.5L.”
I test drove both, I’d chose the 1.5L.
Lance At Yokota


Shame we dont have it in canada , i would buy one in a heartbeat! Seems so great with good tires for our snowy winters!


loving the little Land rover and cabana styled jimnys.

but the mini airstream trailer made my day :)


Well deserved. I would have never thought that new Jimny would excite me at least as much as the new Supra.


I don't know if they're coming to North America, but, as a Canadian I'd love to have one!


Sierra with a DAMD kit please.


Looks like samurai is coming back!Suzuki, please come back to USA!


If Canada had this before Suzuki departed, they would likely have had the sales they were seeking; I WANT!!!


Expected as it may be, the diversity of products & concepts seems unusually refreshing.

To me it's the official Suzuki stand that stole the show - that mini pickup Sierra concept adds
tremendous cred to the Jimny, and
I wouldn't count it out as possibly being a future
commercially available version.

The narrow, Kei-category versions are actually available from the start, in spite of the impresssion this article produced, that it's a purely tuners' intervention.

The Defender-inspired kit is awesome, really well executed, and I'd bet it'll sell well.

I expected more hardcore camping oriented kits, but time will tell.

It has a special and cheerful sense of occasion, this entire Jim hype.



The one by DAMD is my favorite. Utilitarian, but clean as well.