SHORT SHIFT

ITíS SLIM PICKINGS IN THE RANKS OF TWO-DOOR 4X4s IN TODAYíS NEW-CAR MARKET. UNTIL THE DEFENDER 90 LOBS LATE IN 2020, THE WRANGLER AND JIMNY ARE THE ONLY OPTIONS AVAILABLE, SO WE TOOK THEM OUT FOR A PLAY TO SEE WHICH SHORTY STANDS TALLEST.

WORDS MATT RAUDONIKIS

THERE WAS a time when all our 4x4 vehicles were short (SWB) two-door rigs and the ability to comfortably carry a family in the suburbs was never really a consideration. The original Jeeps, Land Cruisers, Patrols, Land Rovers, Suzuki 4x4s and even Range Rovers were all simple shorties, many of them with removable soft-tops.

Times have changed and shorties are now the exception to the rule, as passenger comfort takes precedence over off-road functionality. While we have more choices of 4WD vehicles now than at any other time in history, there are currently only two two-door SWB 4x4 wagons on sale in Australia: the Jeep Wrangler and the Suzuki Jimny.

Interestingly, both of these new-for-2019 models can trace their heritage back to the original models from their respective marques, and both of them carry over some styling features to pay homage to their forbears. But donít be fooled, these are modern vehicles, and as such are a far cry from the utilitarian vehicles they were spawned from.

Letís see how they line upÖ

SUZUKI JIMNY SMALL BOX

THE JIMNY returned to the Australian market early in 2019 as an all-new vehicle that was launched internationally a few months prior. The new Jimny is a descendant of the original Suzuki 4x4, the 1970s LJ10. The LJ10 progressed to the LJ20, LJ50, LJ80, Stockman and Sierra variants with soft- and hard-top bodies, short and long wheelbases and even a ute version, but it always stayed true to its simple and functional design roots.

The new Jimny is available in just one body style, one wheelbase and one model variant, albeit with the choice of automatic or manual transmissions. It retains the lovable boxy styling of its predecessors and hasnít lost any of its off-road charm, either.

The Jimny starts at $23,990 (+ORC) when fitted with the manual gearbox, and you can add $2000 if you prefer an auto.

POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE