The Internet's favourite little off-roader, the Suzuki Jimny, is already offered in several lengths depending on the market. The global version (known in Japan as the Jimny Sierra) is 3,550 mm (139.8 inches) long while the JDM-spec kei car is just 3,395 mm (133.7 in). The model sold in India is the biggest of the three, measuring 3,645 mm (143.5 in).
As previously rumoured, a long-wheelbase Jimny is in the offing, and these spy shots provide us with an early look.
Save for the extra distance between the front and rear axles, the prototype looks virtually the same as the shorter Jimny configurations, complete with the rear-mounted spare wheel akin to a Mercedes G-Class. Interestingly, it still has only two doors, although we're hearing a more practical four-door body style is on the agenda to make it easier for rear passengers to get in and out. Needless to say, the long-wheelbase configuration will pay dividends in terms of rear legroom and possibly enable a slightly more spacious cargo area.
Gallery: Suzuki Jimny long wheelbase spy photos
We can't help but wonder whether Suzuki is also planning a pickup considering the Jimny Survive concept for the Tokyo Auto Salon a couple of years ago had a tiny bed. The lengthened wheelbase and a possible rear seat delete could make room for a bigger truck bed, but it remains to be seen whether it's going to happen.
A more pressing matter is the Jimny's status in Europe because Suzuki was forced in 2020 to turn the current model into a two-seater commercial vehicle to help meet the company's fleet average CO2 emissions. Homologating the Jimny as a commercial vehicle means it's subject to a far less stringent EU fleet average target of 147 g/km rather than the 95 g/km for passenger cars.
In an ideal scenario, the Jimny LWB will have a more efficient (and powerful) engine than the lethargic 1.5-litre naturally aspirated mill with its measly 101 bhp offered today. A thriftier engine, possibly with hybridisation and turbocharging aids, would bring back the passenger version, but it's just wishful thinking at this point.
Suzuki is expected to unveil the stretched Jimny later this year when the four-door derivative could join the range as well. From what we've heard, the version with rear doors will be assembled in India by using kits imported from Japan, but we are hoping the automaker has global plans for the more family-friendly Jimny.