1991 Suzuki Samurai XJ 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Soul food in car form


Blew a gasket and leaked oil last year - easily fixed.

Exhaust rusty - replaced it.

General Comments:

Suzuki Samurai SJ43 1991 Santana.

I bought this exquisite Tonka toy of a car to amuse my dog. Whip out the back seats and you can take four lurchers or 6 carsick children for helluva bumpy ride. No danger of falling asleep at the wheel, the juddering loosens your teeth and deafens your passengers. On the plus side, this vehicle starts first time, makes awful grinding noises and keeps you fit by fighting all gear-changes like an arm-wrestling champion. Its 1300 engine can top about 85mph on the motorway without explosions, and its chunky body cheers up anyone from India by reminding them of their last tiger hunt. (See how many ‘Mahootis’ - little elephants - appear in David Attenborough documentaries).

The Samurai receives poor press from writers who can’t understand the joy of a reliable 4-wheel drive scuddering past a log-jam of snow-ploughed BMWs on a steep hill, or the fact that the soft-top takes little more time than a pram-roof to put down, and only the very thick-skinned could miss the weirdspooky feeling that this car actually has a soul.

Even if I became Very Rich Indeed – and I do intend to – this is my car. Traffic police smile at it and allow illegal U-turns in Central London. The populace of Watford see it coming and do not step off the pavement in front of it, and Bob-the-Car laughs at it, but finds it easy to service.

If I must dredge around for some faults, then rust is an expensive battle, and I’d like to know what is causing the GRRRRRRRRR-noise when the revs are up – could it be a hole or two in the exhaust? Going round corners is scintillatingly scary – this is a car with a reputation for behaving like a tractor on a hill farm, and there’s absolutely NO WAY I’d go ‘off-roading’ in it – I can’t orphan my dog; he’d be torn to bits by several people who want him for themselves. An ideal girl’s car if you miss your youth and don’t mind your Hendrix CDs jumping a few tracks when you go over the wrong kind of leaves. See you out there in one!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th April, 2002

16th Mar 2005, 18:15

I would have to agree that the little sammys are very worthy and second to only highly customized rigs. I drive mine in the Iron Ore mines in Northern Minnesota and it has never let me down.

13th Aug 2005, 12:09

I have driven a Samurai now for the past three years. It is a second car, and I would not swap it for the world. It is one of the most awesome vehicles to drive. There is no way to hurry it along, which make you drive slower, and ponder as to why the world is in such a hurry. You can keep all you fast sports cars (I have owned a few myself). I'll take a Suzuki Samurai any day.

18th Dec 2007, 14:42

I love my Samurai and yes, it has a soul; it lives, and does so with grace. I severely punish it off road. It does perform as good as other 4x4s if you know how to drive it. Gear ratios are not ideal with low first being too high for demanding terrain. Simple modification will give you a 4:1 low range. This allows 215/80/15 tires, and with 2 inch lift the Suzuki takes on a total new persona.

I love my coil spring Samurai.

1991 Suzuki Samurai SJ 413 LWB JX Estate 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Fuel pump@ 60k replaced.

Rear light unit replaced.

Radiator leaks.

Wheel bearings shot @ 80k.

Leaf springs twisted.

Engine oil consumption excessive.

Exhaust manifold leaks into interior.

Exessive body rot.

Failed its MOT in almost every way.

General Comments:

A throw away jeep for a throw away society.

If all vehicles were this flimsy there would be very few old ones about.

A complete crock of ****.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th February, 2000

27th Dec 2000, 22:43

Have put 100,000 miles on an 88 Samurai (out of 130k total) with absolutely no problems, couldn't do better for the money. Most miles in New Mexico, which is half dirt roads.

Not much luxury, but not much cost, I intend to rebuild it forever!!

Larry Stewart

5th Feb 2001, 17:22

My 413 LWB is the second Suzuki I have bought. As far as value for money is concerned they are superb. Anything can be fixed with a Philips screwdriver and parts are easy to come by and plentiful. Not many 11 year old, 1.3, 93000 mile cars are still on the road. I won't have them knocked. Anyone who does can't have looked after theirs in any way.

15th May 2001, 05:05

My SJ 410 is coming up for 18 years old and has only done 60,500 miles.

It has been the best fun and value for money. It just sailed through its last MOT with not one problem. I'm sure it will carry on to serve me well in what ever I choose to through it in mud, water or sand.

Richard Talbot.


7th Feb 2004, 02:44

I've got a Sammy (called a sierra in Australia) with 100,000 miles on it and it still go anywhere. slight oil leak that I can't be bothered fixing. had to replace bearings occasionally, but you get that when you do a lot of 4-wheeling. it's nearly at it's 20th birthday, but still going strong. the baby 1.3L engine is plenty enough to pull it (as long as there's no wind) and the baby axles are plenty strong enough for the baby engine.

Yeah it's uncomfortable, and for it's size could have better fuel consumption (I'm not saying the fuel consumption is bad, but I'd expect better from a 1.3L) but the fun-factor is well worth it.