1988 Suzuki Samurai JL 4 cylinder from North America


Looked hard and long, and found just what I wanted!!


Just bought this Samurai tintop, and it arrived on Monday of this week. Had a newly built high performance engine installed before it was shipped to me, along with a new clutch.

My mechanic has gone over it, found some rust, and is replacing various bearings (noise in steering etc) and has to replace the disc brakes and calipers.

The gas gauge doesn't work, so having it repaired. Things like that, which one expects even on a one owner 1988.5 Suzuki Samurai.

Just wanted to say here, in-spite of all to be corrected, spent the day driving this amazing baby brute to emissions testing for State of WA as well as the licensing office. Handles like a dream, even with repairs needed, fun to shift through the 5 forward gears and has already received several 'thumbs up' from strangers.

Had quite a hunt to find one not all tricked out for off-roading, though indeed I do intend to head for the mountains and back roads to hidden lakes for good times away from the madding crowds.

Will keep you posted...

General Comments:

Great turning circle, handles lightly considering no power steering, shifts very smoothly, and the air flow through factory sunroof and operable back windows made even today's warm temps feel quite acceptably comfortable.

Smooth on the highway, though not a racer, for sure.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2010

27th May 2010, 09:03

Update: Delighted with the cost of mechanical repairs and body restoration. VERY easy car to work on, and my mechanic says it's impressive how many parts are readily available, at a truly reasonable cost.

Love driving this vehicle... have been averaging 30 mpg around town, where it truly excels~~!!

Parks in tiny spaces and threads through traffic easily; quite a surprise, that!!

1988 Suzuki Samurai super 1.6 from North America


Over rated, over priced, not very dependable


Computer went bad, impossible to find used one $500 for new one.

Fuel pump wiring went bad, had to Jerry rig it to work.

Drivers door glass broke, they don't sell them new anymore, had to drive 320KMS to buy a used one.

Bolts seemed to break every time I tried to undo them, cheap bolts used throughout.

Windshield got rock chip which spread within 1 week, across whole side of windshield, also can't buy brand new one so I left the cracked one in.

Exhaust gasket at manifold leaking and seems to be common problem.

General Comments:

These cars are overpriced and over rated in my area of the world.

The metal used is very thin, they feel very tippy when lifted, the truck was always in need of some kind of repairs.

I bought this to try something new, you hear so much about how great Samurai's are and what a blast they are to drive. I found it to be all hype, they are cheaply made and highly over rated and therefore overpriced. On the good side of that, I put mine up for sale for $1000 to get rid of it quick and it sold the same day I placed my ad on craigslist.

I know there is a strong following for these trucks in the offroad community, and that is about all they are good for. If you prefer to have an actual vehicle instead of a ATV then this might be for you. I wanted it as a daily driver and it was just not up for the task. I say get a Toyota is you want a daily driver 4x4, because the Suzuki's are very finicky and not all that dependable for daily driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th March, 2008

20th May 2008, 15:36

If you don't like, it sell it! There are lots of people that love them. You're just not one of them.

9th Oct 2010, 16:30

What computer are you referring to on a 1988 Samurai?? Just curious. I have a tintop; love it because it is SO basic, without computer systems and myriad electronics.

Sold a newer 05 Suzuki Aerio SX, which was excellent, because I wanted to revert to less allegedly advanced technology, and enjoy the feeling of 'really driving' again!!

Everything is cheap to fix, all sorts of after market and OEM equipment/parts available, because these vehicles are generally so popular.

Definitely not a motorway vehicle, but who in their sane frame of mind would actually buy one for that purpose anyway? Extremely easy to work on, though I take mine to a good mechanic only because we can't use the condo common areas here for car care purposes.

Do indeed find a good buyer for your Sammy; they deserve the best care and appreciation!!