When I was at school, all I wanted was a Suzuki Jeep. Better than Head sportsbag, or Coca-Cola yo-yo's, Suzuki Jeeps were cool. Okay, so they didn't look that stable on corners... but they were still a mean set of wheels.
And while I no longer lust after mini 4x4s, it appears that some people still do. The Jimny (the latest incarnation of the Suzuki Jeep) proved quite the hit with passers-by, to the extent that I had to check whether I was having a bad hair day, I wasn't, so it must have been the little Suzuki. A man at the petrol station even said what a nice car it was... proof, that while it might not be everyone's idea of a good time - there's something about Jimny...
The interior is fairly utilitarian, as tends to be the style with off-roaders, but all the basics are there - central locking, power steering, electric windows, electric mirrors, and a radio/cassette player.
The outside has a similar simplicity to its design, with big over-sized wheels mounted with tyres the size of rhinos, and what some might euphemistically describe as 'bull bars', mounted on the front. Proof of its off-road credentials over some of these lifestyle machines, comes in the form of both high and low ratio four-wheel drive options, as well as rear-wheel drive for road use.
In fact, it's quite possible that thanks to its loaded off-road potential, this is where the Jimny might feel happiest. On the road at motorway pace, the little Suzuki doesn't inspire complete confidence in it's handling. Thanks to its rather un-aerodynamic styling, there is lean in corners, and the cabin can be fairly noisy.
Those of you tempted to take the Jimny over 120km/h should be ashamed of yourselves - because this isn't a vehicle built for speed. After all, you wouldn't chase a tortoise up and down your garden path with a big stick shouting 'faster, faster' now, would you?
What it is about the Jimny that inspires people so? I'm not completely sure, but try as you might, you can't help but feel a soft spot for the little fella. Cute, friendly styling, a willingness to please off-road (apparently, I can't vouch for that, I was too scared I'd break it) and a sense of character that is sadly so often missing in cars these days. And these qualities alone will be enough to make some people happily forget the Jimny's other shortcomings.