It’s been clear for a while that eventually every car will have the letter “e” or “i” in front of its name, and to reconfirm this trend while throwing in a dash of 1980s nostalgia, Suzuki will debut the e-Survivor concept at the Tokyo motor show in a few weeks. The high-riding, four-wheel-drive electric concept will pick up where vehicles like the X-90, the Jimny and the Samurai left off, adding a complex suspension system with plenty of ground clearance.
But it is probably the X-90 that the e-Survivor concept will remind you of the most; the two-seat compact crossover (from a time before the term crossover was applied to cars) was available for an exceedingly short product cycle that lasted three model years and deposited just a little more than 7,000 vehicles in the U.S.
The e-Survivor will feature a ladder frame, just like the company’s legendary 4x4s it’s meant to evoke but will be a bit smaller and a lot more open. The concept will feature a total of four electric motors, one for each wheel, incorporated into the advanced suspension system, but Suzuki is staying mum for now when it comes to battery specs or output. The e-Survivor will also make use of lightweight materials and will feature impressive approach and departure angles.
Suzuki had a niche of sorts since the 1970s that it had mined with some success: very small SUVs.
There is no danger of the company launching a pocket-size electric 4×4 in the U.S. anytime soon; Suzuki left the U.S. market in 2012 after a pitched battle in just a couple of segments, with the Kizashi taking on budget compact sedans while the Grand Vitara lost ground to a raft of offerings from Japanese and Korean brands. Suzuki has stayed true to its compact 4×4 roots in other markets while still battling the familiar cast of rivals in Japan and elsewhere, with a small lineup of affordable hatches and the Vitara SUV.
Stay tuned for more concepts from Japan, the Land of Small and Weird Cars, as the Tokyo motor show gets closer.