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.
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.