Used 1998 GMC Jimmy
Edmunds' Expert Review
GMC has the unenviable job of marketing the Jimmy as a luxury SUV now that the Pontiac-GMC merger is 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.
Despite a minor redesign for 1998, 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-door models increases cargo space. Headroom is immense and 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.
All-wheel drive, formerly an option, is no longer available on the Jimmy. Four-wheel antilock braking helps haul the sport-ute to a prompt halt, and all models gain four-wheel discs for 1998. Drivers and passengers face second-generation de-powered airbags. Acceleration is strong from the standard 4300 Vortec V6 engine, and the smooth four-speed automatic suffers little lag when downshifting. A five-speed manual transmission is available on two-door models.
Other news for the new year includes a revised interior with a softer appearance and better ergonomics. Bodyside cladding has been restyled, and the top-of-the-line SLT 4WD is equipped with some God-awful alloy wheels. The back bumper gets a center step cutout to improve access to the cargo area and roof rack. New audio systems debut, and buyers of the SLT 4WD can opt for heated front seats. Something called a Truck Body Computer controls the PassLock theft deterrent system, automatic headlights, battery rundown protection, retained accessory power and lockout prevention features. Exterior mirrors can be ordered with a defrost mode for snowy days and nights.
The hardest duty in Jimmy-shopping is deciding what to include. Suspension choices stretch from smooth to off-road. Expect some bounce and roll from the Luxury Ride suspension, but it's compliant and responds quickly. Sport (SLS), comfort (SLE) and touring (SLT) 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 all-wheel-drive Bravada.
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All right, Ill admit it: I name my cars. My green 95 Explorer is affectionately known as "Willow," I used to drive a Jeep Cherokee called "Jake," an old hand-me-down VW Cabriolet went by "Whitey," and the beat-up Honda Accord that I inherited from four older sisters and drove around town in high school? Well, Id call her anything she wanted as long as she didnt break down on me. Even now I feel the urge to name other peoples cars, if they havent already. When I started dating my husband, I tactfully pointed out the fact that a member of his family was nameless. Humoring me, we collaborated and came up with "Spike" for his Mazda 626.
I dont believe Im alone in having this compulsion to name the automobiles I drive. My sister calls her Nissan Pathfinder "Patrick" (its green) and my best childhood pal tagged his used Crown Victoria with the nickname "Queen Mary." This doesnt appear to be a weird obsession only afflicting people from Ohio, either. Greg Anderson, another Edmunds editor, named his beat up 5-Series BMW "Bessie" so that on cold winter mornings, he can coax her up a hill with, "Coooome Ooooonnn, Bessie." Our editor-in-chief once owned a silver over black Escort with tinted windows called "Guido," a Ford Fiesta with an orange interior named "Oscar" and a 1990 Festiva tagged "Floyd," "Smurf Turd" or "Babe Magnet," depending on how many beers he and his college buddies had consumed. And, Im sure there are countless others who are addicted to this car-naming habit.
The point is, your car becomes a part of your everyday lifea member of your family, so to speak. It can make you smile, laugh, cry or jump up and down in a fit of rage. A name emotionally attaches you to your car like nothing else can.
Even automakers are catching on to this trend. If you buy the GMC "Jimmy" we drove a few weeks ago, you wont ever have to pick out a nameit comes with one. Liken it to Jimmy Buffet, Jimmy Dean or any other Jimmy you identify with and youve got a truck with personality. But you may have to act quickly. Weve heard rumors that GMC is phasing out its Jimmy in favor of the more sophisticated-sounding "Envoy." If they do, itll be a shame. Upgrade the truck, sure. But why throw away a perfectly good name and replace it with an inanimate term that means "messenger"? We dont get it.
For now, in addition to a name, the 1998 Jimmy comes with an unchanged yet spunky Vortec 4300 V6 engine, new styling on the front end and a completely redesigned interior. The classic Jimmy powertrain makes 190 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 250 foot-pounds of torque at 2800 rpm, providing what we thought was plenty of power for our two-door test truck. What we didnt find plenty of, however, was room. Our editor-in-chief-turned-father found that loading his daughters car seat in the back was a huge undertaking that caused more headaches than watching six consecutive Barney episodes, and that gaining access to the cargo area practically required a degree in engineering.
Visibility was another problem, even for the taller members of our staff. The view from the rear three quarters of the truck was pitiful and, with the rear-mounted wheel obstructing most of the back window, seeing anything directly behind the vehicle was downright impossible. High seatbacks allowed the driver only a tiny sliver in which to catch movements or shadows of nearby cars when changing lanesnot a safe feeling, especially on a twisty mountain road.
But from the outside, Jimmy looked good. Our red test truck shimmered in the Colorado sunshine and appeared tantalizingly beefy. Trim levels available on the two-door are the SL and SLS sport trim while new colors include Pewter Metallic and Copper Metallic. They sound real nice, but we liked our red truck just fine. On the road, however, we realized that the trucks ride was a bit bumpy, even for an SUV, and its turning radius of 34.8 feet was too wide for off-roading or even urban U-turns. Maneuvering the gigantic, oversized steering wheel caused problems with everyday turns and made us feel like we were navigating a barge.
On the upside, Jimmy provided plenty of legroom in the front, a smooth automatic transmission, supportive seats that were power adjustable, four cupholders, dual second-generation airbags and double sun visors with extenders. These and other interior improvements were well received, especially the easy-to-operate stereo and climate controls that were featured on a panel angled 15 degrees toward the driver for easier access. Jimmys glove box release latch was moved to the left side to improve ergonomics for the driver and the CD storage in the center console was easy to get into. The passenger side grab bar offered a touch of style, not to mention a practical safety handle for driving over those mountain rocks or city potholes.
Complaints about the interior were restricted to the aforementioned lack of space, an oddly-placed cassette player on the center floor console and an obtrusive bump covering half of the passenger side floor area.
To test out the cargo dimensions, we picked up my sister and her boyfriend after a weekend of downhill skiing. First, we discovered that the keyless remote had a separate button for unlocking the backa nice touch. Jimmys V6 did just fine with the extra gear and body weight, but when loaded with four people, gear for two, and one pair of skis stretching the length of the vehicle, the modest cargo space in our two-door Jimmy was all eaten up. Which made me wonder: what if wed all gone skiing?
Despite our grievances, we commend GMC on many aspects of this vehicle, including, for now, their fine choice of a name. Jimmy is rugged and sporty-sounding, the perfect ideal for GMCs target customer: a 41-year-old looking for a solid vehicle with style.
Jimmy has all this and more, but so do many of the competing trucks in this class. And some offer extra power and amenities for nearly the same cost. Still, Jimmys the only one that comes with its own name already branded on the vehicle.
Now, theres an idea: we could start painting our cars names right on the bumpers like they do with boats. Think how much more fun Monday morning commutes would be ("Hey, there's a fuscia Lexus named Sugar Bun"or "See that black Thunderbird named Zippy?"). I think I'm on to something here
Used 1998 GMC Jimmy Overview
The Used 1998 GMC Jimmy is offered in the following submodels: Jimmy SUV. Available styles include SL 2dr SUV, SL 4dr SUV, SL 2dr SUV 4WD, SLS Sport 2dr SUV, SLS Sport 4dr SUV, SLE 4dr SUV, SLT 4dr SUV 4WD, SLE 4dr SUV 4WD, SLS Sport 2dr SUV 4WD, SL 4dr SUV 4WD, SLS Sport 4dr SUV 4WD, and SLT 4dr SUV.
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Should I lease or buy a 1998 GMC Jimmy?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.