The Jimny is one of the coolest off-roaders bar none, but did you know that there’s room for improvement even for the Jimny? This is what peak performance looks like, and its name is the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy.
The Jimny already rocks, and I’m bracing myself for my first sighting of the Mexican market Jimnys. But I’ll confess that I arrived to the Jimny by way of the Samurai and its overseas cousin, the Maruti Gypsy. Sold in India, I first fell in love with the Gypsy from the only secret agent that gives James Bond a run for his money, Jason Bourne:
The Gypsy in this The Bourne Supremacy scene is a Gypsy King which is really just a Jimny with a longer wheelbase and a taller roofline. Bourne’s off-roader sports a hardtop but the Gypsy was available with a soft top and it even came with rear bench seats!
You could almost call it a Defender knock off but in this case, it would only be a compliment because the Gypsy King ends up being as cool as any Rover.
It was nigh unstoppable off road but kind of sucked on the road. That sounds like the modern Jimny, except the modern version has some creature comforts while the Gypsy and Gypsy King had nothing in the way of amenities. Though, if you ask me, that’s a plus for a truck like this.
The platform the Gypsy is built on, the SJ410, was available with a long-wheelbase and a pop-top (plus a slew of other combinations) globally, according to Suzuki Club UK and Motor Trend. But the Maruti trucks were exclusively LWBs and either soft or pop tops. I think it may be because this was a military and first aid vehicle, so standardizing production would save money. Also, they were the only ones in the family with bench seats. I suspect the benches are why the Marutis came with the LWB, to maximize passenger capacity.
It was very successful with Indian law enforcement and the Indian Military and it enjoyed quite a run in Indian motorsport. Of course, those trucks running in rally events had upgraded drivetrains because the stock motor started at a modest four-cylinder 1.0 liter which did not exceed 80 or so horsepower and 76 lb-ft of torque, even in its last iterations.
The Gypsy sold in its home market for over three decades, from 1985 - 2019, per Autocar India, but it could be set for a return! There are reports of the Jimny being reintroduced into the Indian market — maybe even as a Gypsy — and I think it was only a matter of time given its popularity.
And also because the Jimny is currently produced in India. Maruti Suzuki may not have a hard time selling it in its country of origin and the carmaker is considering its viability, per Autocar India. I really hope there’s a new one with the long wheelbase and tall roof.
Of course, I should mention that the Gypsy has a nameplate that may be offensive to people of Romani heritage, so if Maruti does revive the iconic off roader it might be time to give it a new badge. But, hey, Jimny King has got a nice ring to it.