No matter where you turn these days, there seems to be a Jimny. But why? How has the poor man's Jeep taken over and how, dare Gusheshe say it, has it become cool?
All South Africans enjoy a good road trip and any good road tripper will tell you that the best road trips include off road too, especially in Africa with all that there is to see and do. As such, road trips of this nature require you to at least have some room beneath your car, whether provided by a hipster cross-over or dad's old Pajero.
Now, that's only a small part of the larger narrative, which explains why the Jimny has become cool in South Africa. Of course, it's far more complex than that: Why it is now the "in" car requires further exploration to understand, digest and if you're a car brand, emulate.
The car itself requires no introduction: You probably already know it well and have seen it for years on our roads as it slowly, like a virus, has taken over. But a good virus, like the type of virus that fends off other virsuses for its own domination. But, as you would expect, the enigma of it doesn't start and end with its popularity only, but with its drive too.
It is remarkably robust and feels "large" behind the wheel despite the fact that you're in the smallest 4X4 you've come to know, which is half the size of your ego if you're willing to put that aside and embrace the fact that you're in a lifted bread tin, and that that, no doubt, comes with its own practical advantages. Despite its only downfall - its small 1300 motor - you truly do feel something of sincere presence when you're out to make it dirty.
The Jimny, unlike most vehicles of its size and price is actually a 4x4 - with low range available too - and although you'll rarely use it, it's nice having it if you need it. As 4X4s go it's outrageously competitive on the track and the cheapest on the market by a mile at R230 000 brand new. It's ridiculously cheap and nothing else is even on the same planet when it comes to 4X4 and value.
But, all that aside, now this: Despite its drive and what it offers you from a feature perspective, both generous and limited, it's still probably not the reason you'll buy it. As Gusheshe knows too well, that reason lies within the realm of the soul and how you feel when you're in it. From the vantage point of that feeling, you cannot help but look out proudly at others and think that this Jimny is cool.
Why is the Jimny cool and how has it become cool in a world filled with better driving and better looking cars, in a world filled with car brands that update their faces like their CEO's change their underpants? Well, it's simple and it's not, but it all comes down to this: YOLO, my friend. YOLO.
You Only Live Once.
Unlike other 4X4s, which are over-priced, over-sized, overly-manicured and overly safe - not to mention heavy on the brandstof too - the Jimny is none of those things. It adamantly remains designed as an 80s throwback and you can feel that freedom in its spirit, the lack of care in its box-shaped lines whether deliberately made so or not. It just feels raw and uncut and when you drive it and you cannot help but look forward to the many epic African road trips that you're inevitably going to take in it, which of course you should take because in the Jimny you can finally afford to. More importantly, and for the sake of the truth herein, you should take that road trip because you only live once.
YOLO, my friend.
In a world of YOLO and 'eff the system, can you see then why the Jimny has mastered the science of cool in South Africa? The key to it is the road trip, but also the simplicity of it, the affordability of it, the uncaring style of its forever young and free driver. Where other car brands are all about facelifts and new features, new buttons and fat asses, the Jimny is still as high as an 80s Rockstar and is living out its youth through the sunroof, arms waving-and-all beneath the warm African sun.
The Jimny is not about looks or expensive cutting edge technology. It's all about the road trip. By extension, you want the Jimny because you want the experience of the road trip that it will give you. And as road trips themselves are all about experiencing a world that you will only grace once, why not take one today then - and why not buy a Jimny for the ride?
You only live once, my friend. YOLO.