► New five-door Suzuki Jimny rumoured
► Not likely to come to the UK though
► Plan to extend appeal of tiny 4x4
Rumours are circulating that a Wrangler-challenging five-door Suzuki Jimny is in the works. The spy photo above is a file picture from the original Jimny development programme and we have yet to spot the extra pair of doors on a prototype.
Indian publication Autocar India recently published an article claiming that a five-door model is currently in development and will eventually be sold in India.
The report claimed the longer five-door model would employ the three-door's ladder-frame chassis, 4wd system and 1.5-litre petrol engine.
Best 4x4s: Suzuki Jimny vs Mercedes G-Wagen vs Jeep Wrangler
Suzuki Jimny future in doubt in UK owing to high CO2 emissions
Suzuki has admitted that UK sales of the Jimny may not continue beyond 2020, as high CO2 emissions will limit the company's ability to hit the tough new 95g/km target next year. But it seems the plan for a five-door variant is being driven by ongoing demand in overseas markets.
The Jimny's old-school, tough body-on-frame construction (below) means it's easier to spin off bodystyles and derivatives and the company has already shown concept versions of pick-ups and commercials.
Our sister magazine WhichCar spoke to Suzuki Australia last year at the launch of the three-door Jimny about the prospects of Australia getting a five-door version of the iconic nameplate, with Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota saying it was clearly a desirable product.
'If the name starts with "Jimny", we’ll sell it,' Pachota said. 'A five-door would broaden the range of customers beyond just the thrill seekers, the adventure seekers and the young drivers who just want the cutest 4x4 on the block. It would really broaden our demographic.
'The five-door would be great as an added bonus, but once you develop a long-wheelbase platform, you’ve got both ends covered – it’s just about the shell,' he said.
A cut-price Defender?
With steep prices of the latest LWB JL Wrangler and Land Rover Defender, a five-door Jimny would be a considerably more affordable way into the 4x4 wagon segment.
The AutoCar India report claimed the manufacture of the three-door Jimny is slated to begin "around June 2020" at Maruti Suzuki’s Hansalpur plant, with production of the five-door version 'to commence six months later.'
Our Suziki Jimny full review
This article originally appeared on whichcar.com.au