SEE | Retro looks for your rock climber - Three popular modern SUVs with timeless designs

• Jimny, Thar, Wrangler retain retro looks

• Jimny one of most popular 4x4s in SA

• Wrangler arrived in SA almost silently

Back in the day, you'd buy a 4x4 for proper off-road sessions. Not to have the 4x4 sticker and show that you own a top model in a specific range. While some 4x4s have become soft, some automakers are continuing with the tried-and-tested formulae.

This means rugged, retro-looking SUVs that have no issue staying true to their heritage.

We list three 4x4 SUVs that are still retro to the core.


Of the three SUVs listed below, which one are you likely to acquire? Email us with your answer.


Suzuki Jimny

The new Jimny arrived locally in 2018 and immediately garnered widespread interest. It is a constant top-seller for Suzuki South Africa, despite the 18-month waiting list. Yes, it is that popular. The Jimny is powered by one engine: a 1.5-litre petrol motor that produces 75kW and 130Nm. The three-model range sends power to all four wheels via Suzuki's AllGrip 4x4 system, via either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

The Jimny retains the square design of the three generations preceding it and boasts with 210mm. Weighing a lowly 1095kg, the SUV can clamber over and through any obstacle with very little trouble.

Its 15-inch tyres may seem small, but there is nothing that can deter this retro SUV.

Price: R285 900 – R343 900

WATCH: Unlikely 4x4 battle - Can Suzuki's giant-slaying Jimny keep up with a Jeep Wrangler off-road?

Suzuki Jimny

2020 Suzuki Jimny. (MotorPress)

Mahindra Thar

The Thar is Mahindra's most iconic off-roader and is endowed with a retro look that makes it instantly recognizable. Two models make up the range - the standard and Adventure (pictured) models - and both are powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine that's mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The turbocharged engine produces 79kW and 247Nm, but has to haul around a rather hefty 1745kg.

The Thar has 10mm less ground clearance than the Jimny and only has seating for two passengers.

But the Thar is more of a weekend toy than an everyday run-about. It has a stellar off-road system and can tackle just about any obstacle in its way.

Price: R242 999 – R305 999

READ: Need a new 4x4? Mahindra SA debuts Thar Adventure Series

Mahindra Thar

2020 Mahindra Thar Adventure. (QuickPic)

Jeep Wrangler

The most famous, most iconic retro SUV of them all is the Jeep Wrangler. The latest generation sneaked into South Africa almost unnoticed, but we should get it on test very soon. Until then, the new range consists of four models, priced from R868 635 to R919 719.

A 3.6-litre V6 engine is the only choice of power and delivers 209kW and 347Nm. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Jeep claims a ground clearance of 252mm, which should see it conquer just about any challenge in its way.

Four or five passengers can fit in the Wrangler, depending on whether you opt for the two- or four-door model.

Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler. (QuickPic)

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