1988 Suzuki Esteem
1988 Suzuki Esteem

If you care about cars, you take note of how well cars are cast in movies and TV shows. A couple classic examples of excellent car casting include Detective Columbo’s well-used Peugeot 403 (Columbo) and Jim Rockford’s gold Pontiac Firebird (The Rockford Files).

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What Was Jimmy McGill’s Car?

But one of the best bits of “carcasting” in recent TV history has to be the car driven by Jimmy McGill in the Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul.

For those who don’t know, Better Call Saul looks back on the early career of Breaking Bad attorney Saul Goodman, who goes by his real name, Jimmy McGill for most of the Saul series.

1988 Suzuki Esteem
1988 Suzuki Esteem

Without giving too much away, Jimmy’s early career was fraught disappointment and failure, and, perhaps expectedly, financial challenges. As the series opens, Jimmy’s office—and sadly home—is located in the storeroom of a giant pedicure parlor staffed mostly by non-English speaking technicians.

Jimmy’s car, which is almost always seen being driven aggressively, and which almost always serves as comic relief, is a yellow subcompact 1988 Suzuki sedan. What makes the car especially funny, apart from the red replacement rear door on the passenger side, is the model name: Esteem.

The director, on several occasions, focuses in on the decklid name badge as the car hurries away from a location. And, in one pithy scene, Jimmy’s love interest Kim mentions the car by model name with gentle ironic mocking.

Indeed, the battered, two-color, forgotten-model Suzuki, being driven by a beaten-down, hard-on-his-luck would-be lawyer, is named Esteem.

The Esteem was sold in the U.S. through a fragile Suzuki dealer network between 1995 and 2002. The tiny sedan was powered by a 98-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. You can read more about the Esteem here.

1997 Cadillac Deville
1997 Cadillac Deville

Esteem sedans are pretty rare, so it seems funny to seen one buzzing around Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the show is set. Even rarer is the wagon version of the Esteem, which was added to the lineup for the 1998 model year.

On an up note, Jimmy does eventually upgrade to a white 1997 Cadillac Deville. Other Better Call Saul cars include:

While Breaking Bad’s Walter White drove a Pontiac Aztec for much of that series, which is pretty amusing, the vehicle always seemed a little obvious as a visual gag. We’re happy to say the carcasting in Better Car Saul is subtler, and more character appropriate.

Rides and Rock: 5 Car Commercials with Great Music

1988 Suzuki Esteem
1988 Suzuki Esteem

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