After around a year away, the Suzuki Jimny has returned to the UK market as a rugged and compact commercial vehicle. It’s only available in “very limited numbers”, but the cult hero will cost private customers £19,999 while some businesses can reclaim the VAT and cut the price to £16,796.

The Jimny was removed from sale in the UK as a result of emissions legislation, which also saw Suzuki turn over most of its fleet to hybrid or mild-hybrid power. However, a loophole in the rules means the Jimny can return (with a few modifications) as a light commercial vehicle.

The new Jimny ‘vans’ will be based on the same underpinnings as the passenger-carrying examples, but the back seats have been ripped out. In their place, the Jimny gets an extended load bay with a mesh cargo partition that prevents heavy items flying at the occupants of the two front seats.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial in the UK

In total, the load bay measures 863 litres in volume, which is about 30 litres more than you got in the passenger-carrying car with the rear seats folded. It also has a completely flat floor, allowing heavier items to be loaded more easily.

Up front, it’s much the same as the passenger car, with the same dashboard and steering wheel. The materials are more or less unchanged, and things are more or less in the same place as before. The only difference is the equipment, which is slightly more limited this time around.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial in the UK

With just one trim level available, the Jimny Light Commercial is missing a few mod cons. There’s no touch screen and alloy wheels are off the menu, but you do get a few other luxuries.

First off, you get cruise control and manual air conditioning, as well as automatic headlights with high-beam assistance to stop you dazzling other motorists. And although the van does without the touchscreen, it still comes with Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio controls on the steering wheel.

Under the bonnet, the van gets the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as the passenger car did, boasting 101 bhp and a five-speed manual gearbox. With selectable all-wheel drive, the Jimny is capable of 90 mph flat out, while it returns 36.7 mpg on the official economy test.

More importantly, though, the Jimny comes with 210 mm of ground clearance and a low-range gearbox, giving it the same unstoppable off-road ability as the passenger car. Short overhangs also allow it to scramble over large bumps and boulders without grounding out.

Gallery: Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial in the UK