1995 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.6 16v

Summary:

I love this car. It's the perfect SUV

Faults:

Precautionary changed timing belt at 104k, rear shocks at 104k, engine check light at 104k (failed on), power steering pump seal at 120k, ECG system clog at 125k, new front brake calipers and rotors at 140k.

I am amazed at the quality of this car. The exhaust system is made of stainless steel and is still original at 160k miles. The ECG clog was fixed with a pipe cleaner. I think the brakes on this car last way longer than is typical for others.

General Comments:

I love this little SUV. Leave it to the far east folks to make such a tiny but so functional vehicle. By most peoples standards it would be considered kinda doggy performance wise, but hey: It's a rugged and heavy (1.5 ton) little truck with a little fuel efficient, but very reliable engine. I've consistently gotten 34 miles per gallon. Much to my surprise I am finding that life in the slow lane is pretty darn good.

Funny: I pulled into a gas station and a newer Tracker pulled in just after me. As we were both pumping the fuel, the other guy asked me about my gas mileage. He said he owned a '95 and was sorry he traded to the newer model because he noticed a big drop in fuel mileage.

We here in the good old USA seem to be suffering from chronic bloat and are paying an awful price now that the fuel costs are getting so high. Why are we so locked in to this mantra that bigger is better? When riding around in my little Sidekick happy as can be, I can only look in amazement at how the size of cars, pickups keep getting bigger year after year. Often I pull up behind jeeps an notice that these vehicles proudly stamp 3.8 and 4.0 (engine size) on their tailgates. Are you kidding! That's nearly 3 times the size of the motor in my car. It's downright glutinous. And to think that this little Suzuki seems to capture the real essence of the original jeep and has greatly improved upon the idea. The only gripe I have is that Suzuki too has caved in to the American mindless but popular demand for increased size and performance. I am spoiled now and don't want to trade in on anything newer.

I have a class III hitch and am amazed at the huge loads I've towed with this car. The frame is very rugged for such a small car. The suspension seems a bit harsh which is good for hauling. I thought this would be a drawback on long trips, but I've found this car to be surprisingly comfortable on long rides.

This may seem like a weird thing to rave about, but I absolutely love the steering wheel. There are a lot of cars whose steering wheels I absolutely hate: The spokes are often right were my hands want to be, and designers seem to be in some sort of secret competition to hide the horn button. The '95 Sidekick steering wheel is perfect.

Another thing I really like is the general layout of controls and indicators. They are so simple, functional and user friendly. Why can't US cars do better in this regard? I get so frustrated and irritated when I drive US cars.

Rollover? I think if you drive like a total bonehead then yes, you could possible roll this car over. But I love the narrow body this car has and don't mind having to drive responsibly in order to compensate. It is so cool to be able to zip through narrow little traffic keyholes or narrow roads with total confidence and leave the stupid bloat-hog cars and pickups stuck behind. I also use my car to haul firewood and can get through the bush were other vehicles (even tractors) can't fit.

I like the 4 wheel drive shift along with the auto-locking hubs and the low range option. My friend had an all-time 4 wheel drive car and it got terrible gas mileage due to drive-train constant drag. I was skeptical of the auto-locking hubs, but they really work well. I worked for a couple of years in northern Maine and my little Suzuki was perfect for the rough demands even tho I was on call 24-7. My little Sidekick got me through every time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st September, 2008

31st Mar 2010, 09:19

I have to disagree with the following statement: "And to think that this little Suzuki seems to capture the real essence of the original jeep and has greatly improved upon the idea"

I do not think that Suzuki "greatly improved" upon the original Jeep. They are fun little copies, but they are not an improvement on the Jeep. To be fair, I do not think that Chrysler has "improved" the Jeep lately either.

I much prefer the YJ, and to a little lesser extent the TJ, over the current JK Wrangler.

Yes, the JK and the TJ are both more "civilized" than the YJ, but I feel the YJ is a bit truer to its roots.

1995 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.6L 16v

Summary:

I would buy another in a heartbeat

Faults:

This little vehicle has been incredibly reliable. I have replaced the normal "wear and tear" components, including clutch, brake pads, all fluids, plugs/wires/rotors. There are no mechanical failures to note. Even after 140,000+ miles, seats are still in excellent condition.

General Comments:

Originally purchased for my commuter vehicle, I have transitioned this vehicle to serious offroad use. It has been modified for severe offroad use, but still manages to be incredibly reliable. Plenty of room for a small family looking for an inexpensive vehicle to own and operate.

I have been so impressed by this Sidekick, that I purchased a new 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara Limited with Leather, a V6, etc. We are now looking to add a Suzuki SX4 to the family for my wife as her commuter vehicle. Suzuki's are wonderfully reliable, simple, and fun.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2007