As SUVs continue to grow in size, complexity and price, so they move further away from the ideals of early off-roaders. Because no genuine outdoorsman wants to explore in something enormous, expensive, and lavishly appointed. However, help may be at hand for those with a more traditional view on what a sports utility vehicle should be like, thanks to a new company called Yomper.
Based in Elland, West Yorkshire, Yomper is an offshoot of Samson Engineering. Its plan is simple: adapt and modify old Suzuki Jimnys to deliver "an unparalleled combination of load space and off-road capability." The idea is that the more space and load capacity means the result is better suited to farmers, off-road enthusiasts, and adventure types than the standard car. Exactly the kind of people who won't be buying road-biased SUVs, basically.
Yomper will build the cars with either 225 or 275 wheelbases (presumably denoting a length in millimetres) and Bergan (with the alloy drop side, inspired by the Subaru Brat) or Commercial specifications. All models have been built to accept a 500kg payload, which is decent enough for something Jimny based.
The Commercial was created first, with Yomper CEO Giles Walker converting the Jimny body into a chassis cab with a stronger rear bulkhead. The Bergan was then developed using knowledge accrued during the first built. Both use the standard Jimny 1.3-litre engine and are IVA approved already.
Walker said of the cars: "We've always worked in an environment where we apply advanced engineering principles to meet the specific demands of a job, so when I heard from a lot of people in my local community - many of whom are farmers - about the lack of a suitable small utility SUV on the market I decided it would be a great opportunity to create one. You can't buy an inexpensive go-anywhere working vehicle anymore, so I decided to make one." Clearly Walker's pals aren't too keen on paying the £30k an outgoing Jimny might cost, and need more carrying capacity than the new LCV can offer. It's easy to imagine a few more hardy types being among them.
Yomper reckons that its pick-up transformation is more thorough than others out there, suggesting that the Jimny here is "essentially a group-up vehicle that uses the Suzuki running gear and front bodywork more as components to create a full vehicle than as a basis for conversion". It's said to be "as close as possible to a brand new vehicle as is reasonably possible", but costs a useful bit less. Albeit with the original running gear, of course. Final price is all subject to personal spec and cost of the donor car, but Yomper reckons you could get one on the road for less than £20,000. When it's still not possible to buy an outgoing Jimny for less than £22k, that might appeal. Especially with reasonable donor cars from just £4,000...
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