Few cars have blown up on the internet this year as the Suzuki Jimny. Every spied photo, every leaked detail and just about anything new on the new Jimny has gone viral. To all and sundry, this is the modern Gypsy replacement we’ve all been waiting for. And it won’t be giving much of the verdict away to tell you that the new Jimny is comprehensively better than its two-gen-old predecessor that’s still starring at off-road meets and in the extremities of India as the vehicle of choice for the border patrol forces. But while a lot about the new Jimny has changed, much will be familiar to the Gypsy’s fervent fan base.

Suzuki’s mission statement to make ‘the one-and-only, small, lightweight four-wheel-drive vehicle’ remains. Under that new body, the fourth-generation Jimny still features a ladder frame chassis, three-link rigid axle coil spring suspension and four-wheel drive. The addition of new tech such as hill hold and descent control, brake support and a host of driver assistance systems are all intended to make the new Jimny even more capable than the old car.

2018 Suzuki Jimny

What’s it like on the outside?

Design-wise, the old Jimny – the third-gen model that was given a miss for India – was beginning to show its age, so there’s some irony in the fact Suzuki has modernised it by giving it something of a retro design. While the new model is sharper and boxier, it retains familiar Jimny traits such as the round headlights, independent indicators and front grille design. It gives the new car something of a mini Mercedes G-class vibe, served with a side of micro-sized Japanese fun. This is subjective but, to this tester, it looks fantastic.

Fantastic and tiny, the new Jimny retains the small size of its predecessors. In fact, though it is 45mm wider and 20mm higher, this new model is actually 30mm shorter than the old one. Those dimensions ensure a variant of the Jimny (fitted with a 650cc engine) qualified for Japan’s Kei car class.

2018 Suzuki Jimny

What’s it like on the inside?

The Jimny’s small size means it remains a small car inside. The driver’s footwell feels a little cramped, with the accelerator pedal right up against the transmission tunnel.

It’s still decades ahead of the Gypsy in comfort but the vibe on the inside is still that of serious little off-roader. Suzuki describes the interior as “functional”, and that’s what it is. The mostly black dashboard and switches are predominantly plastic, with many switches shared with other Suzuki models, and the seats are comfortable rather than cosseting. There are only two seats in the back, without much leg room on offer, and the luggage capacity is a mere 377 litres, and that’s with the rear seats folded down. With the seats up, there’s just 85 litres of storage, accessed through a sideways opening boot.

2018 Suzuki Jimny

There are some nods to luxury – or at least modernity – inside, with features on our top-spec SZ5 model including auto climate control, Suzuki’s 7.0-inch touchscreen, rear privacy glass and heated front seats.