The Jimny is a huge improvement over the SJ/Samurai, and drives pretty much like a car. I've done 50,000 miles and a fair bit of tough off-roading. I've found no evidence of a road holding problem. I think one would have to drive the car recklessly to experience road holding problems. However, it is a 4x4 and not a car and must be driven as such. The fuel economy stated in the literature is correct. The only thing that's failed at all is the motor in one of the headlamp adjusters.
I have a Suzuki Jimny metal top, and it's a big improvement if you had an older 4x4 before. I had a Nissan Patrol 3.3d (160d) before the jimny and I don't have road holding problems or bad grip. In snow and heavy rain I switch to 4x4 and it is perfectly holding grip, even in curves.
Since I have a metal top, the loading area is well reachable, since it comes with a big door in the back.
If you had a normal road-vehicle before you'll have to learn driving with a jimny, since it's not cornering that fast and has a high wind-capture.
The soft-top is something I don't know about, so I can't make any positive or negative comment about it.
A great 4X4 that will let others who have spend a lot more looking at your rear as they are left stuck behind you. It could be dangerous on the road, but do not forget... it was not built to be driven on the road.
The Jimny got very bad press in Sweden lately when it flipped over during an "elk-test" similar to the Mercedes A-klasse.
I have to agree the soft top jimny was very bad trying to fasten the poppers they would just pop off!you had to loosen the top to get into the back which was a pain as it was so hard to fasten up again. As for the hard top I have an 05plate the new vvti model it drives a lot better than the older model and mpg is up to 40 driving at 60mpg.
I have had no trouble with the handling and grip is good.
Getting into the back is so much better just open the door what a great idea.