Used 1997 GMC Jimmy SUV

1997 GMC Jimmy
List price range


  • Spunky V-6 engine, crisp styling


  • No passenger airbag, very poor passenger crash test scores, cheesy plastic interior bits, uncomfortable seats

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

GMC has the unenviable job of marketing the Jimmy as a luxury SUV now that the Pontiac-GMC merger is nearly complete and crazed brand managers think GMC products need to be perceived as upscale from Chevrolet. Essentially identical to the Blazer and Oldsmobile Bravada, with no distinguishing characteristics to set it apart from either of these models, Jimmy marketers have their work cut out for them. Tightly sandwiched between the Blazer and Bravada, there is only one way to convince buyers that the Jimmy is the one to buy: slick advertising.

Four-door styling is on the staid side, but two-doors are fastback-profiled with a distinctive side-window treatment. A Jimmy is comfortable, easy to handle, and fun to drive. Upgraded versions can be luxuriously equipped, but each rugged rendition looks and feels tough--a little more truck-like than the similar Blazer. An under-the-floor spare tire on four-doors increases cargo space. Headroom is immense, elbow space excellent. There's room for two in back; maybe three if you enjoy hearing comfort complaints while you drive, but the short seat feels hard and there's no room under front seats for feet. Basically, the back seat should be reserved for kiddies.

Though exceptionally sure-footed most of the time, a Jimmy can feel momentarily unstable and top-heavy in a sharp maneuver--but only if you forget what you're driving. On snowy pavement, you almost have to try to make a four-wheel-drive Jimmy skid. Whether maintaining traction while accelerating, or trying to recapture grip through a turn, 4WD delivers a strong feeling of confidence. Gone this year is the stout Highrider package that included a raised suspension, big fat tires, and wider track.

If you don't care to switch between two- and four-wheel drive, an all-wheel drive Jimmy joined the lineup last year. Four-wheel antilock braking helps haul the sport-ute to a prompt halt, and AWD models gain four-wheel discs for 1997. Drivers face an airbag. A passenger side bag is still not available, despite dismal crash test scores. Acceleration is strong from the standard 4300 Vortec V6 engine, and the smooth four-speed automatic suffers little lag when downshifting. Engineers have improved the transmission for 1997, making it shift smoother. A manual 'box is available only on two-door models.

Other news for the new year includes a Gold Edition available on green, white, black, or dark red Jimmys. A power sunroof is a new option, and buyers who prefer a liftgate with liftglass over the standard split tailgate can opt for it this year. A HomeLink universal transmitter joins the options list, and a floor shifter is standard when bucket seats are specified. Bilstein gas-pressure shock absorbers are new to the standard equipment list, and AWD models get aluminum wheels. Speed-sensitive volume and automatic tone control are standard on Jimmys equipped with an in-dash CD player.

The hardest duty in Jimmy-shopping is deciding what to include. Suspension choices stretch from smooth to off-road. Expect some bounce from the Luxury Ride suspension, but it's compliant and responds quickly. Sport, comfort and touring decor packages are available. Then there's the huge option list to contend with. Overdo it, and the toll can zip skyward in a hurry, though this GMC represents slightly better value than Oldsmobile's Bravada.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 GMC Jimmy.

Just Okay
hobbie2k, 3/15/2012
I bought my Jimmy from a friend on deployment largely because of a good price, low miles, and because it's an improvement over the $500 car I was driving, but it hasn't turned out to be as much of an improvement as I had hoped. The Jimmy is just another typical 90s American SUV. That means poor fuel economy, uncomfortable ride, poor build quality, cheap interiors, questionable reliability, and lackluster performance. In two months I've had to replace the intake manifold gaskets (common problem), lower ball joints (common problem), front and rear wiper motors (common problem), power steering lines (common problem), and now I think a U-joint is failing. It seems all the problems are common.
Greatest First Car
Jrod08, 7/7/2008
I have had this vehicle over a year now. It has really grown on me. I originally wanted a 1998 or newer Blazer, but I got my Jimmy instead. The 4.3 liter engine is outstanding. Every time someone sees my SUV they say that the engine in it is really good. GM designed the V6 really well. I get 20 miles per gallon city driving and around 23 highway. I am highly satisfied with that. I've always wanted the interior that the 1998 and up Jimmies have, but it is satisfactory. Never had any major mechanical or electrical problem. I have only replaced the front ball joints on the suspension arms and replaced the ignition wires in the steering column.
azuka, 7/23/2004
we bought this car 1997 gmc jimmy in 2001, after a year having it the wiper motor broke down. we received the recall letter after we had it fixed. afterward, passenger door bolts broke down, then something about the break system, then fuel pump broke down followed with electricity that make the car starts. the car is only 7 years old and it all had the symptoms of a 15 year old car or worst. would never buy anymore gmc. it sucks, terrible, terrible car.
Worst Vehicle I have ever owned!
ryanv97, 6/18/2005
I don't know where to start complaining about this worthless piece of garbage! Rear wiper only worked for a short period of time before burning out, door hinges squeak even after lubricating. Transmission has gone once and have had it back twice for more repairs and is leaking yet again! Will not pass emissions test even though I have dumped tons of money into it. Brakes stink and it stinks even worse in the snow. Very poor handling. Water leaks into this thing and my feet are constantly soaked. Sound system works sometimes, but not always. My brother has major problems with his too, from the transmission going to everything else I have described. I wish I had my Dodge back!!!!!
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Features & Specs

15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
15 city / 21 hwy
Seats 0
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1997 GMC Jimmy SUV features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger1 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 GMC Jimmy
Used 1997 GMC Jimmy SUV Overview

The Used 1997 GMC Jimmy SUV is offered in the following styles: SL 2dr SUV, SL 4dr SUV 4WD, SLS Sport 4dr SUV, SL 2dr SUV 4WD, SLS Sport 2dr SUV 4WD, SLS Sport 4dr SUV 4WD, SLE 4dr SUV, SL 4dr SUV, SLS Sport 2dr SUV, SLT 4dr SUV, SLT 4dr SUV 4WD, and SLE 4dr SUV 4WD.

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