1989 Suzuki Samurai Reviews

1989 Suzuki Samurai JX 1.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.3 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired162000 kilometres
Most recent distance179000 kilometres
Previous carSuzuki Swift


A great fun, honest little 4 x4


Steering is a little vague, despite readjustment there is a lot of play in the wheel.

When driving in rain, water leaks out of the dash into the car. During one cyclonic stormy drive down from Northland, the foot wells entirely filled with water and we had to bale out at a tearoom. This is all part of the character of the car though...

General Comments:

I have never enjoyed a car as much as this one. It doesn't look like every other car on the road (even if some people call it a post box on wheels) and it drives really well off it.

So far, it has been ultra-reliable, starting first time every time. Maintenance has been affordable and services are cheap, as it is a very basic engine.

It is great for little New Zealand roads, but not so happy on a fast motorway, going up an incline, as it will tend to slow to around 80kph. On the flat, I can cruise it at 110, no problem. Can be hairy in high winds and corners have to be taken carefully, due to its boxy shape and narrow wheel base.

The driving position is comfortable, but the leaf spring suspension makes for a bumpy ride. It's a laugh.

Mine is called Sid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th June, 2004

1989 Suzuki Samurai Hardtop 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.3 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired97000 miles
Most recent distance102000 miles
Previous carRenault 5


Basic, Boxy and a lot of fun


Carburettor worn out. Unfortunately, the unnecessarily complex design of this carb meant that repair or replacement was not cost-effective.

Corrosion to body, especially around arches under spats.

It disappeared overnight! Spontaneous Vehicle Combustion perhaps? Or just plain old thieving toe-rags?

General Comments:

Great fun! If you want to play. Let's get one thing straight, this is not a road-going posers 4x4. This is a scaled-down version of the real thing. If you want 4x4 style with car comforts, look elsewhere.

Comfort is what one would expect from a leaf-sprung off-roader. Bouncy, noisy and basic. On-road handling is OK, but don't expect anything more than OK.

The chassis is well-built and solid, and short wheelbase coupled with decent ground clearance and low overhang gives it decent off-road capabilities.

Trim level is spartan, to say the least. Noise levels are deafening. Also it's boxy shape means crosswinds on a motorway are to be given respect.

A good little town-runner however, even if it will never be taken off-road. And useful load-space with rear seats removed. Limited load space however with back seats in place.

Just watch the carburettor. They really are an expensive item to repair/replace.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st September, 2003

1989 Suzuki Samurai LX 1.5 from North America

Year of manufacture1989
Engine and transmission 1.5
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.4 / 10


Since being a 4x4, hubs remaining stuck in free or lock position, due to moisture, which should not happen.

General Comments:

I have to say I am very pleased with this type of vehicle. It is a very impressive 4x4 vehicle. For travel purposes this vehicle should be rated on the good list, for it is cheap on gas, and a very comfortable ride, allowing you to go anywhere.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 1998

Average review marks: 7.7 / 10, based on 3 reviews