GMC Jimmy

By Bob McHugh

When GMC redesigned the Jimmy (which is also sold as the Chevrolet Blazer) back in 1995 it developed a split personality. The family orientated four-door Jimmy is comfortable and a highly functional puller and hauler whereas the fun-loving two-door Jimmy has a sporty-looking sloped back window and a shorter wheelbase that makes it better suited to those who really want to venture off-road.

Jimmy has been around as a compact sport-utility since 1983. The ’95 redesign went beyond a new appearance it was a new stiffer chassis that was also longer, lower and wider. All body panels (except the roof) came with corrosion fighting two-sided galvanise, it had a revised suspension and new safety features.

Suspension improvements, especially to Jimmy with four-doors, made it a very comfortable highway cruiser. Variable ratio power steering is another plus and the turning circle is shorter than most SUV’s. Use of a one-fits-all double sided key was a departure from the traditional GM two key set-up.

This kid-friendly Jimmy came with rear cargo hooks that can also be used as child seat tether anchors, child seat compatible dual function seat belt retractor mechanisms and rear seat belt comfort guides that help pull the shoulder belt away from the neck or face of a child or a small stature adult.

The big 4.6 litre V6 engine can out-pull just about anything in this class and it’s matched with an easy to use 4-wheel drive system. The ‘Insta-Track’ system can be engaged on the fly with either a floor-mounted shifter or dash-mounted push-button controls. An electronic 4-speed auto transmission came standard on the 4-door and a 5-speed manual transmission was only available in the 2-door Jimmy.

Unfortunately fuel consumption is not one of it’s better features, especially in the city where it’s rated at 15.5 L/100 km; but out on the highway it should get 10.6 L/100 km, which is reasonable considering its size and power.

The ’96 had a new all-wheel-drive 4×4 system and an improved, more fuel-efficient version of the 4.3 litre V6. The ’97 Jimmy got 4-wheel disc brakes on versions with all-wheel-drive and in ’98 it became standard feature of every Jimmy. It also got a new grille headlamps and side mouldings. The PASSLock anti-theft system became standard and dual air bags came in a new dash panel.

An improvement can be made to 1995 and 1996 Jimmys equipped with the 3-sensor ABS (antilock braking system) EBC4 units that experience extended stopping distances during ABS stops on some surfaces. Dealers can modify the ABS computer program, or replace the computer to improve the performance of the ABS on these surfaces.

On a pre-purchase check look for signs of oil or coolant leaking from the intake manifold at the back of the engine block. Worn engine mounts and front suspension ball joints are additional possible repair items to check on before you buy.

Canada’s love affair with the sport utility vehicle continues to grow and whichever side of the GMC Jimmy personality that appeals to you – it should be a long and satisfying relationship.


1995: A small number of Jimmys may have a brake pedal pivot bolt that was not torqued correctly. If not tightened to specifications it could disengage and cause a total loss of braking capability.

1995: Another mini-recall for upper ball joint nuts that were under-torqued resulting in improper seating in the steering knuckle. If not tightened to specifications, a loss of steering control could result.

1995/96: The 4-door Jimmy with 4-wheel-drive may have a drive shaft that may contact the fuel tank and cause a fuel leak.

1995/96/97: The outboard front safety belt webbing can separate during a frontal impact in the 2-door Jimmy equipped with bucket seats.

1998: Jimmy without the high wider performance package may develop a fatigue fracture of the rear axle right-hand brake pipe, causing a slow brake fluid leak and a soft brake pedal.

1995/96: Four-wheel drive vehicles may experience increased stopping distances during ABS stops while in the two-wheel drive mode. A switch can erroneously signal the ABS system that the vehicle is in four-wheel drive when the vehicle is actually in two-wheel drive. Correction: Dealers will replace the switch on affected vehicles.

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

Connect with