If one thing’s for certain in the unpredictable world of used car prices, it’s that the more unusual a car is, the more likely it is to hold – or even increase – its value as time goes by.
And if you needed evidence of that, look no further than the third-generation Suzuki Jimny, of which there is no shortage in the classifieds yet which still generally commands a healthy proportion of its original list price.
That’s largely because if you want a small, fun off-roader that’s also up for the odd urban foray, little else comes close.
Of course, a new model has arrived (and departed again, at least in four-seat guise) since this bite-sized brawler went off sale, but such is the Jimny’s commitment to utility and charm that you barely miss out by opting for an older example.
You would do well to avoid the Santana-built soft-tops, because the five days per year you can enjoy open-air motoring will be overshadowed by the 360 days spent chasing leaks, battling rust and sourcing rare parts.
We’ve gone for a delightful 2011 hard-top example that has covered around 3000 miles per year (all safely on the road, we would wager), doesn’t appear to have a single scratch or ding and is specified in top-of-the-line SZ4 trim – meaning it features black leather-style seats, alloy wheels, electric windows and reassuringly chunky-looking roof rails. The Jimny already seems a sound investment; throw in a low mileage and a hefty kit list and you’re all but guaranteed not to lose your hat in the next few years.
Controversially, our car of choice is also equipped with a four-speed automatic gearbox, and that’s because driving a Jimny can often be – and we say this in the nicest possible way – a bit of a chore, so assistance when it comes to shifting is welcome. Besides, with just 83bhp on tap from a naturally aspirated 1.3-litre motor, this is no driver’s car, so give your left limbs a break.
Because we’ve gone for a later car, we will benefit from variable valve timing, which offers a slightly broader torque range for more relaxed cruising and improved low-speed behaviour, and there’s the benefit of ULEZ compliance for when you need to pop back to civilisation.
As is true of even the newest Jimnys, this is a perfectly capable and truly lovable all-rounder. Just stay well clear of motorways…