The Philippines experiences more than its fair share of natural disasters. Thankfully, excessive snow fall is not one of them. Japan not only gets typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions as we do, but being a country with temperate climes, they also get inundated with these things called snow. And ice. And thermometer-plummeting temperatures.
With winter comes low-traction road surfaces. The need for winter-specific road tires and, yes, four-wheel drive, arises. This is why Japan has the capability to engineer some of the greatest 4×4 vehicles in current employ (i.e. Land Cruiser, Patrol). This is also why that we shouldn’t be surprised that some Multicabs in the Philippines are fitted with part-time 4WD with transfer cases and locking diffs. Not bad for surplus.
Suzuki, one of the grand masters for all things kei, is also the manufacturer of a great cute ute, the Jimny. The third generation Jimny, first released in 1998, is still available new in the Philippines, and still reasonably priced, to boot. It still has a rough-and-tough ladder-frame chassis, coil-sprung 3-link rigid axle for excellent articulation, part-time four-wheel drive, and a powerful 1.3L gasoline engine. The car is also small, easy to park, cheap at the pump, with high ground clearance, has awesome aftermarket parts support and is as adorable as another Japanese product, Hello Kitty.
In Japan, the Jimny is sold with an even smaller 660cc engine so that the car fits into the keijidosha car classification. This allows Jimny owners to have cheaper road taxes and other regulatory perks for buying small, fuel-efficient cars. But they still get their work cut out for them, as you can see below.
It still boggles the mind on how this particular Jimny in Japan managed to rescue a particular vehicle in a slippy-slippy avenue this one night. Check out this Youtube video after the jump.
Should we transition from racing cars through cones to bashing mud and stone, the Jimny seems to be an awesome project to play with.