In March this year Suzuki debuted the iM-4 concept, a tall, boxy quasi-SUV that it described as its "vision for a new compact 4x4 that embodies Suzuki 4WD DNA while bristling with the latest technology".
Now new patent images have been uncovered that show the iM-4 in production-ready guise. The big showy wheels and slim mirrors of the concept are gone, but much of the concept's sheetmetal makes the transition unscathed.
But if you were hoping for the next-generation Jimny 4x4, this isn't it. Designed instead to compete with Fiat's Panda, the iM-4 is a compact crossover that will complement the Celerio and Swift in the light car market and slot in beneath the S-Cross.
Both front-drive and AWD configurations will likely be offered, though the concept car's 1.2 litre engine and mild hybrid system will probably make way for something less complex.
What that is isn't immediately apparent, but the Celerio's 1.0 litre three-pot or the Swift's 1.4 litre four-cylinder could see service in the iM-4's production-ready offspring, whose name has yet to be revealed.
It's a car that Suzuki Australia has expressed its interest in bringing here, and given the strengthening sales performance of compact SUVs in this country its arrival would be a welcome one for the company's bottom line.
Last year Suzuki sold 17,422 cars, a decrease on 2013's 22,075 sales result.
When can we expect the iM-4? We don't know, but the appearance of patent imagery suggests development is in its final stages and an official reveal isn't far away. Expect to see it surface either later this year, or in the first half of 2016.
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