Opinion: The case for the Jimny 4X2

    A 3-door 4x2 Jimny is good for product line extension and help Maruti Suzuki bring in volumes.

    Published on Apr 22, 2023 09:00:00 AM


    Maruti Suzuki Jimny front tracking

    A 4X2 Thar isn’t any more city-friendly than a 4X4, but a 2-door 4X2 Jimny most certainly is.

    A few months ago, I wrote about why I think the Jimny and Thar aren’t competitors. In short, much like how a Celerio and i20 are both hatchbacks but aren’t competitors, the Thar and Jimny are both proper 4x4s, but sit in different segments, with vast differences in their size and engine power. There’s also going to be a slight difference in customer type, and it’s here why I really think the Jimny needs a 4x2 drivetrain and the Thar does not.

    About two years after the 4x4, Mahindra launched the Thar 4x2 to appeal to customers who didn’t necessarily want the off-road ability but still wanted to enjoy the imagery and lifestyle appeal of the Thar, and of course, to lower the entry price. The plan has merit, because there are many who will never venture off-road and simply use the Thar for city and weekend drives. But this also slightly dilutes the hardcore, tough-as-nails image the Thar built for itself right from the first generation. It’s a good idea to have variations of the Thar, but I think the upcoming 5-door and its variants would provide that.

    And as we pointed out in our review too, without the 4x4, it’s not any more suited to the city or highways. In fact, the ride is now bouncier thanks to the lighter weight, the steering – though lighter – is still too heavy for city manoeuvring, and the wide track means it’s not easy squeezing through traffic.

    And it’s for precisely these reasons that I really think Maruti should have a 3-door Jimny with a 4x2 driveline in its portfolio. For starters, it expands on the sole 5-door body style, but the compact dimensions are also perfect for the city, the steering is light, and efficiency would improve further still without the weight and friction of the 4x4 system. What’s more, Maruti has always been saying the 3-door Jimny would be too pricey for India, but delete the expensive 4x4 gear and you’ll have a better price too.

    But, being seen primarily as a ‘car’ maker, Maruti will be wary of diluting the off-road image of the Jimny, its one and only hardcore SUV.

    If it were up to me though, I’d still launch a 4x2, 3-door Jimny. Yes, there would be 4x4 fans that would cry foul, but equally there will be those that won’t, having understood the differentiation. A 3-door 4x2 Jimny is also a good product line extension, bringing in volumes that a single product sitting on its own platform would greatly benefit from, and that’s a gold standard at Maruti Suzuki. And at the end of it, I’d say launch the 3-door 4x2 Jimny quite simply because it nails the brief that Mahindra has attempted with the Thar 4x2.

    Also see:

    Opinion: Why the Jimny and Thar are not competitors

    unknown - 358 days ago

    For Maruti bringing in the Jimny is itself a big thing: Hey we're doing you a favor by bringing you the Jimny type and commanding a little less than 50% market share they have had that "take it or leave it" attitude right from start...They culd have done so much by bringing in Suzuki's really cute and up to date "Kei" cars which they didn't: Maruti Suzuki has been satisfied with milking the Indian market with substandard and unsafe cars for long and repatriating profits to Japan

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