Pros: TORQUE!, handling, great 4WD, high ground clearance, roomy interior, looks like a truck
Cons: Rather high gas consumption, not as much cargo space as some SUVs, C-pillar blindspots
I just graduated from college and started a new job, and this is my first new vehicle (previously having owned a used S10 pickup and a Grand Am). I could not be happier. Being that I am still single, and I rarely have more than one passenger with me, I opted for the 2 door SLS 4WD, which is the standard sport model of the Jimmy. I bought it the first week in January of 2002. It came with some extra amenities such as a CD and cassette player with 6 speaker system, leather wrapped steering wheel with volume controls, and deluxe cloth interior, among others. The sticker price was $26,000, but taking advantage of the GMC $2002 rebate on new 2001s and 2002s and my trade-in I was able to get it for quite a bit less.
It's just pure driving bliss. When I first saw that the V6 engine only delivered 190hp I thought, "Oh boy. This may be a real dog." I wondered to myself why a V8 was not an option for the Jimmy. But, upon expecting closer and seeing that it also put out 250 lbs/foot of torque (just 25 lbs less than much heavier SUVs such as Dodge Durango and Oldsmobile Brevada), I was feeling a bit better. After driving it I knew why the Vortec 4300 V6 was the engine and why a V8 was not an option...the V8 would be MAJOR overkill! The Vortec V6 is plenty engine, and delivers incredible acceleration (although it fades a bit above 78-80 mph). The handling feels great, it's extremely quiet on the interstate, and there is minimal body roll. The SLS comes with the sportier Euro suspension, which is not as smooth as the Luxury suspension in the other models, but does produce tighter more responsive handling. Still, it is VERY smooth from gravel and dirt roads all the way to the interstate. The only drawback is the rather high fuel-consumption. The SLS comes with a larger tank (19 gallons vs 18 gallons) than the other models, making for a larger trip radius, but the 16 to 19 mpg does mean it drinks gas at a rather high rate.
Nice high-back bucket seats which offer great support on short or extremely long (6+ hour) roadtrips. The front passengers have expansive leg and headroom, and while it does take a bit more work getting into the rear seats (behind the slide-up passenger and driver seats), once in the back, there is ample leg and headroom for even large passengers (although I wouldn't try to squeeze more than two people back there). The cabin is well laid out, and everything is where it should be. There are a TON of cargo compartments, and cupholders and extra AC outlets are included. The electronic temperature gauge and compass are also nice touches. The only real drawback is the blindspot that is created where the C-Pillar separates the rear window seats from the rear cargo compartment windows. This is greatly helped with large side mirrors, but it must still be gotten used to and compensated for. It is not a problem on the interstate, but does show itself when backing out from a parking spot or driveway. Because I have the spare tire mounted inside (as is standard on 2 door models), the rear cargo space is not as abundant, but the 60/40 rear folding seats add a great amount of space.
Since it is built off the Sonoma platform, the Jimmy looks like a truck. This is a good thing. It has a turned down hood which makes it look sleek, but rugged--almost like it is getting ready to pounce on something. It has as much or more ground clearance than almost every model in its class. It goes through the snow easily (as I found out recently), and one can really feel the 4WD working. I don't think I would change anything about the exterior.
I have only had it for just over a month, but so far not even the slightest problem to report.
Grrrrrr! It looks mean and drives just the same. The Vortec V6 delivers the power and torque when it's needed, and the low compact frame means it can really fly through the snow.