1995 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.6

Summary:

Beyond excellent in EVERY aspect!

Faults:

Head gasket and fan clutch recently.

Front brake rotor sticking.

General Comments:

Bought and did a frame-off restoration on a 1988 Suzuki Samurai recently, only to have my left knee prohibit manual gear shifting. Had to sell the Samurai.

You might wonder what would inspire purchase of a vehicle this age with nearly 200,000 miles on it?

A great 'love' for this type of vehicle remained, so I began searching for a solid Sidekick, with auto trans and power steering.

Found this one in amazing condition, bought it and drove it through snowstorms for 200 miles coming home. Love at first drive. She did 35 MPG and never complained. Learned from my mechanic that the head gasket, fan clutch and rotors are shot.

Tough little machine didn't complain once, and certainly didn't quit on the drive home.

Passes like a dream, keeps pace with all traffic on the interstate, maneuvers brilliantly, and is quite comfortable for several hours without a break. No complaints about her performance or livability. Body and frame are solid after all these years, also, along with interior seats, dash and windows.

Great product build!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th January, 2013

21st Jan 2013, 07:28

Only put 400 miles on it and already needs a head gasket?

Hope you didn't pay much for it.

23rd Jan 2013, 19:24

Yes, probably did pay way too much for it, but then... the problem is that most people who have these vehicles in my region (PNW) don't part with them in good condition. Hard to admit, but I am partial to the good design, easy driving and simplicity of these older Suzukis.

Asked my mechanic what he thought, and he said it was essentially in good condition, but hey... those are BIG issues.

I elected to buy it a new engine, and also have a full transmission rebuild, as I want to keep it at least 3 years more, if not longer.

Easy to drive, very clean and so economical on gas. I'm still well under $8K invested, and in truth, haven't found anything in this area that I want more, or would pay $8,000 to own. Guess these things are truly a matter of trade-offs and subjective choices?

Thanks for your comment.

2nd Feb 2013, 06:58

I can relate to your review because I had a 87 Samurai JX for years, and loved it so much that it led me to buy a 95 Sidekick JLX. I drove the 95 for 100K trouble free miles (except for the plug wire recall that I ignored and later broke down for). I really appreciated the engineering design of these utility vehicles. They are well laid out and very easy to maintain.

The Samurai was a little one dimensional, in that it was an outstanding off-roader, but not so good on the highways.

The Sidekick was much more civilized. I loved the performance and economy from the 16 valve 1.6 litre.

9th May 2013, 18:33

Absolutely agree, the Samurai wasn't great on the freeways at all, though it would tick along the best it could. Once up and running, it could go forever, though it was just a tad slow to reach running speed.

The Sidekick JX is an altogether different beast in the sense of being quick and willing to go; hits passing gear swiftly, also. Steps out as needed, and I don't have to be concerned it won't keep pace.

Doing the restoration has been marvelously successful, and the Sidekick JX is now a joy to own and drive, and I adore the manual levels and controls for heating and A/C etc.

It had an after market door locking system that I had removed fully, as I don't care for any more electrics than absolutely required; i.e. fuel injection is OK.

After reading endless reviews about the newer vehicles with so many computerized systems, which seem to be forever in the shop, I am most appreciative of this well built, though basic, 4WD SUV that goes everywhere with minimal expense...!

Thanks for your comments!

1995 Suzuki Sidekick 1.6 4 cylinder

Summary:

Perfect little 4x4

Faults:

No real problems to report, some rust here and there, but who cares?

General Comments:

You can't beat the Suzuki Sidekick in the used 4x4 price department.

I have recently bought my second Sidekick from Alberta for half the price of a Toyota, Ford, Dodge/JUNK, Nissan or Chev of similar year, and kilometeres.

Sure they ride a little rough, they may have little room to store cargo, and they could use a little more power or maybe power steering, but they're bullet proof, and they're supposed to be like that.

I've noticed that the only people that have bones to pick with these trucks don't do their own mechanic work, or at least the stuff you can do in your garage in a few hours.

The interior is a little bare bones, but then you don't mind having a little mud on your shoes after a fun day of passing Dodges in the mud! You can raz around town all day and not worry about your gas gauge either, and if you do need to fuel up, it's 40 bucks, who cares?

I drive the 2 door soft top Sidekicks, and I wouldn't drive anything else.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2010