1996 Suzuki Esteem SE 1.6L from North America
A very reliable bargain cheap on gas
Recently replaced CV joint axles at $200 each ($400 total).
For all the miles the car has, and how hard I drive it I consider this to be a relatively minor repair.
Car is not nearly as refined as a Honda or a Toyota. You get a lot of road noise while driving and some of the interior plastic parts are broken.
But overall one of the best used car values I've ever had. Good gas mileage (34 mpg) and extremely reliable.
Car was purchased used from a private seller who had been trying to sell it for several weeks without success. Because this type of Japanese car is below most peoples radar its easy to get an excellent deal,
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th July, 2003
Just passed the 200,000 mile mark and still running strong. Body paint is really starting to show wear. Engine now uses half a quart of oil between changes.
From talking to other Esteem owners ('95-'98 models) it appears that those unfortunate enough to own the manual 5 speed trannys have had to have them rebuilt on an almost regular basis. The Auto trannys have held up much, much better. Used Esteems are a great value if you get one with an automatic transmission.
Suzuki is known for horrible manual gear boxes in its cars. Bearing failure is very common. After all these years you would think they would have redesigned their transmissions. No... owners of new Suzuki's are already having the same problems.