1998 Suzuki Esteem Base 1.6 litre from North America


A 4 star car with 5 star potential


Regular maintenance, defective starter.

General Comments:

Truly a great car. If Suzuki had the option of stuffing the 120hp Vitara engine into it, sticking on a turbo from the older Swifts, and beefing up the suspension, you'd have a great family car and a pocket rocket!

The car handles great, for such little power, it moves faster than you'd expect. A fully independent suspension does make the difference and the transmission feels like it's already got a shift kit in it! I've actually "chirped" the wheels in second gear.

I'm going to improve upon the engine a little bit and make it a little more comfy since the factory seats leave a little to be desired. If you need headroom in a car... this one has it! A quick glance at the car will sometimes elicit the thought of a BMW, then they realize what they are looking at..

All in all, there's great potential in the car and if you need an inexpensive family car, the Esteem is perfect.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th October, 2001

6th Apr 2004, 16:26

My 97' is a great little car with a lot of pep. It's more peppy than my KIA Rio was and it was an 01'model. I would like my esteem more if there were more after market parts though.

1998 Suzuki Esteem from North America


Suzuki quality disappointing and terrible customer care and support


Second gear went out at 30,000 miles.

Second gear went out again at 63,000 miles.

Suzuki wouldn't cover repeat gear failure or explain the problem.

Dealer had my car 33 days for the second repair and the parts took forever to arrive.

The price of parts were double on the second repair.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th May, 2001

2nd Feb 2005, 11:47

Second gear went out at 87,000 miles. Can't find replacement trans. Windows will not roll down when they are wet. Radio quit, buttons broke. This 98 esteem has been well cared for and maintained. Disappointed owner

4th Aug 2005, 09:29

Yes, my Suzuki Esteem also has a problem with second gear. When shifting to second from first is revs are over 2500 a terrible grinding can be heard. Mechanic checked shaft and bearing, said they looked fine.

Driver window very slow to roll down.

Engine light on constantly, caused by filling tank. Suzuki dealer resets, but made no effort to correct problem: "they all do that".

5th Sep 2010, 16:25

I have a Suzuki Esteem wagon 98 model. It was a great car, but I think the suspension is not stable during long drives; it vibrates.

The oil always got leaks on the oil filter, even though it was tight.

I think I need to replace the CV joints because it was noisy. But overall, the engine is great, the fuel economy is great.

I just bought it for 1000 bucks, but it never fails me, the only thing that I have replaced right now is a battery, but other than that, it's a good car for 1000 bucks.

1998 Suzuki Esteem 4 cyl from North America


Good car, if don't like paying for car repairs


Nothing.... drove off the dealers lot and have never been back since.

General Comments:


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th August, 2000

28th Feb 2001, 01:28

The only complaint I have is I want to improve the handling a little and have nowhere to go for that.