WITH global sales in excess of 2.7 million the Suzuki Jimny has certainly won over a loyal and faithful fan-base since its launch back in 1970â¦ and it shows no signs of letting up.
So what makes this two-door four-seater such an attractive option?
In fairness, it's not the greatest looking model you'll ever lay eyes on and the performance stats leave plenty to be desired - 0-62mph in 14.1 seconds with a top speed of 87mph. But it's the all-round package that brings in the buyers.
Firstly, the Jimny is a genuine off-roader with push button selectable four wheel drive along with high and low gear ratios.
Then there is the asking price of £13,725 for the 1.3-litre SZ4 model I tried which is competitively priced for a vehicle featuring 15-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, roof rails, a body-coloured hard spare wheel cover on the side hinged back door, a CD player, air conditioning, electric front windows, power steering and lots more besides.
It's true the car does lack the refinement expected in many modern-day vehicles, but it does have a winning personality that grows on you the longer you spend behind the wheel.
The driver benefits from an elevated driving position which means excellent all-round visibility but the Jimny is quite narrow and that means the driver's right arm does sit quite tight against the door (very similar to the position in a Land Rover Defender), but once again this adds to the car's quirky charm.
And its dinky dimensions do mean the car is easily manoeuvred which makes it really practical when negotiating busy city centres with cars and pedestrians appearing from all angles.
Out on the open road, the Jimny does take a little while to pick up speed, but it can easily keep pace with fast-moving motorway traffic as it moves through the five-speed manual gearbox. The 1.3-litre 85ps petrol engine is a tad noisy, but isn't that what a car's sound system is for.
You can also expect to feel the odd bump or two, but when your neighbours are stuck digging the snow from their driveways come the winter time, you'll be the envy of the lot of them with their Â£30,000-plus saloons and soft roaders. That's because the Jimny can take on the rough stuff and it comes out the other side totally unscathed.
In fact, despite being a little noisy and slow off the mark, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Jimny - the only downside was the really fiddly stereo with buttons that take an age to fathom out. It actually took me 20 minutes to adjust the clock.
The economy is okay at a combined 39.8mpg with carbon emissions of 162g/km. Obviously there are better equipped and more frugal options out there, but they do come with a much heftier price-tag.