There’s something very comforting about a 4×4 with the perception that it will get you out of most sticky situations – and still keep you safely on the road when the UK roads ice up (if you’re in the south, you might have to dig back into your memory bank for that one) while everyone else leaves their car in the driveway.
This thought process certainly hasn’t done Land Rover any harm, and keeping the same basic shape and design for the likes of the Defender has simply enhanced that rugged and trustworthy ideal. So what happens when you attempt to break the mould for what a 4×4 should look like?
The Suzuki e-Survivor is certainly no Defender or Mercedes G-Series, that’s for sure, but the concept does somehow still retain that go-anywhere rugged appeal with a mighty hint of classic VW Baja…
The e-Survivor was revealed recently at the Tokyo Motor Show; the show where Japanese manufacturers are expected to reveal their new eye candy for the masses. The e-Survivor is a compact SUV concept vehicle that will inevitably be compared to the Suzuki Jimny – the cheap and cheerful 1.3 litre engined off-roader that has had mixed reviews in its time; often reviewers have cited engine power as being a major disadvantage compared to rivals.
So what does the e-Survivor offer us in comparison to the Jimny then? The e-Survivor is slightly wider and longer than the current Jimny and not surprisingly, it’s actually an all-electric vehicle that is here to hint at the future of Suzuki off-roaders. The 4×4 has a motor at each of the highly exposed wheels giving true 4×4 independence for each strikingly LED lit wheel. Whether this will be an improvement on the power of the aforementioned 4×4 remains to be seen, as Suzuki has revealed no actual tech specs as yet.
It certainly gives the impression of being a very capable 4×4 vehicle and Suzuki claim that lightweight materials will further enhance its off-road capabilities.
The electric 4-wheel drive e-Survivor is certainly very open plan, hence the Baja comparison. Suspension is on show and ground clearance is pretty impressive. Inside (which is also open to the elements) the strictly 2-seater e-Survivor features two large digital screens – one on the centre of the steering wheel with access to the infotainment system and a Suzuki augmented reality display.
If you like the look of this open-to-the-elements 4×4, don’t get your hopes up just yet. Somewhat disappointingly, Suzuki has said that the e-Survivor could be for a 4×4 market 100 years into the future. So I guess we can forget any immediate trickle-down to the forthcoming 2018 Jimny then.