Suzuki e-Survivor channels the spirit of the classic SJ

Published: 25 October 2017

 Crazy off-road EV concept
 Superb baby off-roader
 Don’t expect it to go on sale…

Suzuki’s Tokyo show stand is crammed full of interesting pint-pot cars. Kei–cars might be the company’s stock-in-trade, but the tiny e-Survivor concept is small, but rather more perfectly formed than its tax-friendly friends. This is a rough, tough off-roader said to be cast in the mould of the old SJ-Series, or Jimny.

We’re not so sure – this beach-car aping concept looks less utilitarian, and a whole lot more fun than an old Jimny. It’s electric – as inevitably any 2017-vintage Tokyo concept has to be – but it’s also exceedingly clever. And desirable.

The small convertible off-roader is still a very small car – a little wider and longer than the current Jimny, but a long way off any of its 4×4 opposition. But all the go-anywhere necessities are there: high ground clearance, near-zero overhangs for steep attack angles, and huge, knobbly wheels.

Would it be any good in the city? Who cares?

You’re joking. We can’t think of a genuine reason to expect it to go well in London – but could see it happily playing in the south of France. It’s a lightweight affair, and comes with a two-seat layout that screams leisure and fun. A modern beach car, perhaps?

Inside, it’s a basic affair, too – there’s a screen on the steering wheel boss, and another at the base of the windscreen, both of which promise interesting user interaction. But we like it – it promises to be hose clean.

Under the show-car fineries, there’s a ladder-frame chassis, and simple construction, which Suzuki says mean that legislation permitting, it could still be around in 100 years’ time. Bless.

Suzuki e-Survivor

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR