Suzuki Santana Reviews

1989 Suzuki Santana 970cc petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 970cc petrol Manual
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
2.8 / 10
Distance when acquired91000 miles
Most recent distance93000 miles
Previous carFiat Panda

Summary:

Expensive fun - while it lasted!

Faults:

Thermostat was stuck from new.

Steering had too much play.

Oil filter came loose.

Engine seized at 93000 miles.

Carb iced up in cold weather.

Clutch cable broke.

General Comments:

I bought this wee jeep for a winter runaround, being far too cold for riding a motorcycle, I've always owned Suzuki bikes and been impressed by their durability, as the jeep had been restored a couple of years ago I was expecting reliable service for at least a year, unfortunately I was wrong!

The first thing I noticed was the whining gearbox, but I was prepared to live with it as they have been known to whine for years without failing, the second thing I noticed was that the engine was barely getting warm, a new thermostat soon cured that fault and I was set for the winter, bring it on!

Unfortunately the jeep didn't like cold, damp mornings, the carb would ice despite the engine having warmed up, let the engine drop below 2000 rpm and it would stop dead, on cold, dry mornings it was fine, on wet, warn mornings it was fine, but cold and damp stopped it in its tracks!

The oil filter decided to start leaking about this time, a new one was screwed on and all was fine, indeed the SJ was driven up into the mourne mountains, up a rocky path that a Land-Rover would baulk at, it really was supreme off road, quite unstoppable.

On-road, things were not so good, the severe lack of power and brick like aerodynamics made maximum cruising speed about 45 mph, maximum when new was 64, I had 60 on the clock once, an experience I did not wish to repeat, due to the incredibly vague steering, and back breaking ride, hills were a nightmare, reducing speed to little more than 25 mph, while irate drivers queued behind you.

Fuel consumption was equally horrendous, in fact it used more fuel than a 2800 Shogun, I thought something was amiss until I read the official mpg figures, it seems that it was fine, but the lack of performance was woeful for the fuel it used.

The end came one evening when the motor seized solid, it had always been a bit tappety, but it just died, no warning lights, it was full of oil and water, but it just quit without any warning, I jump started it a few days later and it sounded like there was a road drill inside the engine, so it was laid to rest for good.

I actually enjoyed driving the jeep though, it had character, and it was brilliant in the rough, but I'd love to try the Turbo Diesel version still made in Spain.

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

Review Date: 19th May, 2006

1987 Suzuki Santana sj from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired67000 miles
Most recent distance97000 miles
Previous carFord none

Summary:

Like the advert said be different

Faults:

Gearbox a bit noisy at 80,000 miles. bearings replaced.

General Comments:

Used to buy and sell cars, This is so different from anything else I've owned.

Seems to have a personality of its own.

Its such fun to drive and so different.

Ultra reliable, great driving position.

It's a bumpy ride who cares, I love it.

You either love these cars or hate them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st September, 2003

1987 Suzuki Santana 1Ltr from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1Ltr Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10

Summary:

A fun little car

Faults:

Nothing since I've had it.

I've bought a new roof.

General Comments:

This car is not very fast.

If you like to go fast this is not the car for you!

The Santana is a fun car and looks great with the top off in the summer.

The Back seat is not very comfortable, but I never sit there so I'm not bothered.

You have to go quite slow round bends and corners otherwise you could tip slightly.

This is my first car and it's easy to drive once you get used to it.

It is good for new drivers if you handle it correctly.

I love my little jeep.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th September, 2002

Average review marks: 5.3 / 10, based on 10 reviews