Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The short wheelbase, high ground clearance, manual 4x4 transfer case, a tight lock and tiny front and rear overhangs = serious off-road ability. Rugged, retro (because it’s so sold now?!) design, optional 16 inch wheels (standard 15 inch) further toughen up the looks.
Not so good This generation went on sale here way back in 1999 (?!), even the facelift was years ago (2005) so the Jimny is fast becoming old school; small 40L fuel tank; nearly all the points above that contribute to great off-road ability = not so great on road ability.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The large windows, thin pillars and large exterior mirrors = excellent visibility. Standard power windows and door mirrors; the front seats are relatively comfortable and the Fit AND finish is pretty good. Wind noise is kept to a minimum (thanks to impressive aerodynamics, yes it’s far better than it looks?!).
Not so good The interior design was dull back in 1999 and today it still stands true. The 2005 facelift brought an updated to the dash but today it’s nothing special. The audio system makes do with only 2 speakers (which is especially disappointing for a vehicle often brought by gen Y); second row legroom is poor and access to the rear is difficult, the front passenger seat has an old fashioned folding mechanism. Tiny rear cargo space with the rear seats up (and no the second row seats don’t fold flat into the floor), so even with the rear seats semi folded down, the cargo area becomes stepped.
Performance

Performance

Good The tiny 1.3L petrol four cylinder produces only 62kW of power and 110Nm of torque, however the Jimny’s low kerb weight of just over 1,050kg (which is less than a number of Supermini’s cars), ensures it keeps up with traffic adequately.
Not so good The engine gets noisy at highway speeds; fuel economy (7.3L manual, 7.8L auto) is nothing special when a number of far larger turbo diesel powered SUV’s can beat these figures.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Shines in rough off-road conditions, this ain’t no soft roader scared to get its boots dirty; the handling is no where near as scary as one might think (it helps that the Jimny’s track is wider than it’s body – check out the pumped out wheelarches).
Not so good However the tall body, and narrow width ensures on road handling isn’t great; jerky on road ride, vague steering.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Easy to park and maneuver in an urban environment. The Jimny’s baby 4x4 competitors have fallen by the wayside with both the Daihatsu Terios and Holden Cruze (the little 4x4, not the current small family car) leaving Australia back in 2006 so today the Jimny has no direct competitors.
Not so good The Jimny comes standard with driver and passenger airbag (but this is nothing to write about in 2010) – but no sign of side or curtain airbags.