When we traveled to Galapagos a few weeks ago, one of the first things I noticed walking around on Santa Cruz was that there was a ton of these tiny jeep-ish looking vehicles everywhere. Here’s just a few that I saw in a pretty brief span:
Upon first look, they definitely reminded me of something like a 1980’s Suzuki Samurai, but a lot smaller. I’ve never seen these vehicles in the United States and before I got a closer look at the logo, I thought that maybe what I was seeing was the new Suzuki Jimny. I recalled reading about the new Jimny in Car and Driver magazine and I thought I remembered reading that it wouldn’t be made in the U.S. market so it made sense. However, once I got a closer look at a few of these mini-jeeps, I didn’t recognize the logo. Also, I noticed a couple of other body styles of small vehicles rockin’ the same logo.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I kind of regret not trying to rent one or at least sit in one for an amusing photo opportunity. Look at how tiny these things are!
They actually reminded me of a couple of pretty tiny electric cars that I saw in Norway a couple of years ago – a “buddy”, a Norwegian city electric car and a “REVAi”, which was produced by the Indian manufacturer Reva electric car company.
Anyways, so going back a few paragraphs to my comment about the Jimny – while I was working on this post I did some internet sleuthing and it turns out that Suzuki just redesigned the Jimny for 2019, with the previous generation having run for twenty years, between 1998 and 2018. Unfortunately, Suzuki doesn’t exist in the U.S. market anymore. Womp womp.
So the mini-jeeps that I thought looked like the Suzuki Jimny, it turns out that they are pretty much a copy of the previous model Suzuki Jimny, produced by Chinese company Dayang. Its called the Dayang Chok G and it is powered by an 8 horsepower electric motor. 8. Eight. Eight horsepower. The top speed is listed at 50 km/h, so approximately 31 miles per hour.
The tiny blue car from the pics above is called the Dayang Chok S. I’m not seeing the power listed in this description here but it seems it is also a fully electric car that doesn’t have a particularly high top speed. Knowing some of these details – it makes a lot of sense these vehicles would be popular in smaller island settings like Galapagos. Eight horsepower though. Someone needs to fix this. At least get it into the double digits.
All jokes aside, I dig the styling on the both the last gen and new gen Suzuki Jimny and I wish they were available in the US market. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way: https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilwinton/2018/12/04/suzukis-jimny-excites-u-s-offroaders-but-probably-in-vain/#642a0fbc1949
Come on Suzuki!