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Yet the Jimny has endured, and although its diminutive dimensions still can’t make it a sensible family SUV, it’s proven to be a great fun car for enthusiasts who wish to be part of the SUV lifestyle without having the need for a full-sized family off-roader.
Ultimately it was the on-road behaviour that struck us as being more questionable, since the need to keep the engine on the boil, especially in hilly areas, resulted in lots of gear-shifting which led us to advise buyers to consider the four-speed automatic which would be a little less stressful to drive even though it meant higher fuel consumption.The Jimny works as a cheeky city car, but its practicality is limited.The rear seats are fairly minimal and a squeeze to get into, so it’ll seat four at a pinch with very little cargo space behind them – think of it as an economical two-seater shopping car.The JLX has alloy wheels and heated door mirrors, fog lamps and headlamp levelling, we spotted a clean blue 2006 model with 89,000 miles on it, good tyres and a full service history going for £3295 at Aston Davenport of Telford (01952 256688).Mileage and condition are only part of the equation when pricing a VVT-engined Jimny; we’ve seen 2005-2008 cars going for anything from £3000 to £8000, presumably whatever the dealer believes he can get for it.We commented: “The Jimny’s heritage should be given more credence, so it’s a shame that a more up-to-date version isn’t imminent.
You can’t beat the Jimny’s value for money as a capable off-roader – you wouldn’t want to rely on it for long motorway trips or as a luggage carrier, but it will make you smile.” The cult-level popularity of this charming roadster appears to have ensured good retained value; although it’s possible to buy an early high-mileage example for as little as £500, we’ve seen plenty of 20 JLXs asking well over £1000, including a 1999 automatic with 85,000 miles on it with a £2195 price tag on it at Wyke Motors of Huddersfield, seeming a tad expensive in spite of its metallic blue paint job and the year’s MOT; call them on 01274 670555 if you reckon it’s worth it.It is an oddball little car, boasting a rugged separate chassis and rigid axles at a time when even the most serious of off-roading SUVs were switching to monocoque bodyshells and independent suspension, in consequence of which, the Jimny is relatively heavy for its size and the ride quality isn’t as good as it could be.Performance is hardly exciting, especially with the original 1298cc engine, which although seemingly right up-to-date at the time with its 16-valve head is a single-cam type that needs to be revved close to its 6000rpm power peak to deliver anything like meaningful acceleration, and works hard with much use of the five-speed manual transmission to keep the Jimny in touch with general traffic.Countering this is the fact that it was never intended to be a long-haul highway cruiser, and the uprated variable valve timing unit installed after 2005 sounds a little less frenetic and returns better fuel consumption.From the start we were concerned that the Jimny, in spite of its all-terrain pretensions, would not prove capable enough to excite as an off-roader.No – but for just about anything else the new little Suzuki 4×4 is the answer.