In town, that high seating position and excellent all-round visibility make it great for nipping in and out of traffic. The 1.3-litre all-aluminium 16v engine is in its element here too. On the open road, however, it can sound a little stretched due to the fact that most of its 85 braked horses are not available until you get the engine singing right up at 6,000rpm. Handling around twisty tarmac is not as accomplished as the sharpest superminis, but it's quite good enough to satisfy most. Besides, there's always the bonus, denied to conventional road users, that when the fancy takes you, the muddy stuff beckons. Four-wheel drive is selectable via Suzuki's 'Drive Select' system, a surprisingly painless operation that can be accomplished whilst on the move.
Over reasonably rough terrain, the little Suzuki inspires confidence, thanks to its tough ladder frame chassis, a standard design feature that many small off-roaders lack and which renders many virtually useless for real off-road work. You'll have to accept, however, that the Jimny won't ultimately have the wherewithal to reach the places that larger off roaders can. At least not in normal circumstances. Over in Iceland, they prefer light, simple little 4x4s like this because they don't sink into the snow: in soft boggy conditions here, it might well be the same. One drawback of all this off roading prowess is that it necessitates a harder, more jiggly ride. Again, it's not something that will bother you too much on short journeys, where the light steering, progressive brakes and smooth gearchange make the little Suzuki easy to live with.