1996 Suzuki Sidekick Reviews from North America

1996 Suzuki Sidekick Sport JLX 1.8

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 1.8 Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.3 / 10
Distance when acquired200212 kilometres
Most recent distance240000 kilometres
Previous carHonda CR-V

Summary:

A well built, designed vehicle

Faults:

Not much...

General Comments:

After looking high and low for a vehicle to fit my needs, I'm more than happy with my Sidekick. I've owned a lot of vehicles, and few have lived up to their design better than this Suzuki. It's cheap on gas, reliable, has a proper 4x4 system (will go and has gone everywhere, just type in "Suzuki 4x4" in Google and see the following these things have).

I'm a firm believer in researching what you buy. It's not fast or luxurious, it's as it's billed, a small, efficient, reliable 4x4.

That said, it's well built, much more solid than my 2001 CRV, and has a quieter ride too. It's taken me just as deep into the bush as my 4X4 Nissan King Cab, and used 1/2 the fuel. In town its small size and ease of parking is fantastic, as is its visibility. Highway and climbing hills - deadly slow, and you might find the ride a bit bumpy, but try to find any other vehicle that offers this combination of reliability, fuel economy, and offroad ability for the price. You'll soon see there is a demand for these little guys.

Vehicles owned: VW Beetle, Ford Escort, Suzuki Samurai, Nissan 4x4, Mazda 4x4, Honda CRV, Toyota Tercel, Honda Civic, Mazda 323.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2011

1996 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.6

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired103000 miles
Most recent distance120000 miles
Previous carHonda Civic

Summary:

Excellent car for the outdoor enthusiast!

Faults:

Tune up upon purchase at 103k.

New clutch at 113k.

New alternator and battery at 117k.

I knew these repairs would be necessary eventually upon purchasing the vehicle.

General Comments:

I love this vehicle. I own the 4 door model, and it is perfectly suited to my needs. It has plenty of space for road trips, and is average in terms of comfort.

I purchased my Sidekick after reading EVERY review for them on this site. I am very glad I took the plunge, as this vehicle has been very reliable.

It is not a speed demon. However, it is not gutless. I have never hesitated to merge with highway traffic. If you can downshift, you will always find the power you need. I believe a manual transmission is necessary with this vehicle.

The fuel economy has averaged 25mpg with a mix of city/hwy. The best I have received is 28mpg with mostly highway miles. I am a fairly conservative driver, but am by no means a 'hypermiler' for fuel efficiency.

The interior is very spartan. There is plenty of road noise and tire thrum when on the highway. I find the seats to be fairly comfortable. Also, I LOVE the visibility in this vehicle. All directions have a very clear view.

I have used the 4x4 on many occasions. It works extremely well. My uses for it have been for the snowstorms in the PNW and on trails leading to multiday hikes/rock climbing areas. My climbing buddies love this car more than I do, as it saves us from a ton of hiking haha.

All in all, I'd highly recommend this car for outdoor enthusiasts or as a first car. It has capable 4x4, is reliable, has great fuel economy, and seats 4. If you need a classy vehicle to impress clients or friends, you will need to look elsewhere.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th April, 2011

1996 Suzuki Sidekick JLX 1.8

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.8 Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired32000 miles
Most recent distance44000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Camaro

Summary:

Reliable, inexpensive and I love it!

Faults:

Nothing at all.

General Comments:

This is a fabulous economical 4X4.

The Sport 1.8L is leaps and bounds above the standard 1.6L.

The Sport handles very well for a mini 4x4.

Not a lot of body roll and tipping.

It actually is sport like comparable to an economy car.

MPG is OK once I added a performance resistor.

I love this vehicle.

I do keep hearing about transfer case binding if you use 4x4 on dry pavement. I'm assuming that it would be OK in dry dirt, but now I'm leary. It's been great in regular street driving in snow in 4H. Even with more of a dry performance street tire. Drives right past (55mph) those big 4X4 trucks (30mph) with no rear traction because of no weight in empty truck bed.

So glad it has cruise control; I use it all the time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2008

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 13 reviews