1995 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.6 from North America


Beyond excellent in EVERY aspect!


Head gasket and fan clutch recently.

Front brake rotor sticking.

General Comments:

Bought and did a frame-off restoration on a 1988 Suzuki Samurai recently, only to have my left knee prohibit manual gear shifting. Had to sell the Samurai.

You might wonder what would inspire purchase of a vehicle this age with nearly 200,000 miles on it?

A great 'love' for this type of vehicle remained, so I began searching for a solid Sidekick, with auto trans and power steering.

Found this one in amazing condition, bought it and drove it through snowstorms for 200 miles coming home. Love at first drive. She did 35 MPG and never complained. Learned from my mechanic that the head gasket, fan clutch and rotors are shot.

Tough little machine didn't complain once, and certainly didn't quit on the drive home.

Passes like a dream, keeps pace with all traffic on the interstate, maneuvers brilliantly, and is quite comfortable for several hours without a break. No complaints about her performance or livability. Body and frame are solid after all these years, also, along with interior seats, dash and windows.

Great product build!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th January, 2013

21st Jan 2013, 07:28

Only put 400 miles on it and already needs a head gasket?

Hope you didn't pay much for it.

23rd Jan 2013, 19:24

Yes, probably did pay way too much for it, but then... the problem is that most people who have these vehicles in my region (PNW) don't part with them in good condition. Hard to admit, but I am partial to the good design, easy driving and simplicity of these older Suzukis.

Asked my mechanic what he thought, and he said it was essentially in good condition, but hey... those are BIG issues.

I elected to buy it a new engine, and also have a full transmission rebuild, as I want to keep it at least 3 years more, if not longer.

Easy to drive, very clean and so economical on gas. I'm still well under $8K invested, and in truth, haven't found anything in this area that I want more, or would pay $8,000 to own. Guess these things are truly a matter of trade-offs and subjective choices?

Thanks for your comment.

1995 Suzuki Sidekick 1.6 4 cylinder from North America


Perfect little 4x4


No real problems to report, some rust here and there, but who cares?

General Comments:

You can't beat the Suzuki Sidekick in the used 4x4 price department.

I have recently bought my second Sidekick from Alberta for half the price of a Toyota, Ford, Dodge/JUNK, Nissan or Chev of similar year, and kilometeres.

Sure they ride a little rough, they may have little room to store cargo, and they could use a little more power or maybe power steering, but they're bullet proof, and they're supposed to be like that.

I've noticed that the only people that have bones to pick with these trucks don't do their own mechanic work, or at least the stuff you can do in your garage in a few hours.

The interior is a little bare bones, but then you don't mind having a little mud on your shoes after a fun day of passing Dodges in the mud! You can raz around town all day and not worry about your gas gauge either, and if you do need to fuel up, it's 40 bucks, who cares?

I drive the 2 door soft top Sidekicks, and I wouldn't drive anything else.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2010

1995 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.6 16v from North America


I love this car. It's the perfect SUV


Precautionary changed timing belt at 104k, rear shocks at 104k, engine check light at 104k (failed on), power steering pump seal at 120k, ECG system clog at 125k, new front brake calipers and rotors at 140k.

I am amazed at the quality of this car. The exhaust system is made of stainless steel and is still original at 160k miles. The ECG clog was fixed with a pipe cleaner. I think the brakes on this car last way longer than is typical for others.

General Comments:

I love this little SUV. Leave it to the far east folks to make such a tiny but so functional vehicle. By most peoples standards it would be considered kinda doggy performance wise, but hey: It's a rugged and heavy (1.5 ton) little truck with a little fuel efficient, but very reliable engine. I've consistently gotten 34 miles per gallon. Much to my surprise I am finding that life in the slow lane is pretty darn good.

Funny: I pulled into a gas station and a newer Tracker pulled in just after me. As we were both pumping the fuel, the other guy asked me about my gas mileage. He said he owned a '95 and was sorry he traded to the newer model because he noticed a big drop in fuel mileage.

We here in the good old USA seem to be suffering from chronic bloat and are paying an awful price now that the fuel costs are getting so high. Why are we so locked in to this mantra that bigger is better? When riding around in my little Sidekick happy as can be, I can only look in amazement at how the size of cars, pickups keep getting bigger year after year. Often I pull up behind jeeps an notice that these vehicles proudly stamp 3.8 and 4.0 (engine size) on their tailgates. Are you kidding! That's nearly 3 times the size of the motor in my car. It's downright glutinous. And to think that this little Suzuki seems to capture the real essence of the original jeep and has greatly improved upon the idea. The only gripe I have is that Suzuki too has caved in to the American mindless but popular demand for increased size and performance. I am spoiled now and don't want to trade in on anything newer.

I have a class III hitch and am amazed at the huge loads I've towed with this car. The frame is very rugged for such a small car. The suspension seems a bit harsh which is good for hauling. I thought this would be a drawback on long trips, but I've found this car to be surprisingly comfortable on long rides.

This may seem like a weird thing to rave about, but I absolutely love the steering wheel. There are a lot of cars whose steering wheels I absolutely hate: The spokes are often right were my hands want to be, and designers seem to be in some sort of secret competition to hide the horn button. The '95 Sidekick steering wheel is perfect.

Another thing I really like is the general layout of controls and indicators. They are so simple, functional and user friendly. Why can't US cars do better in this regard? I get so frustrated and irritated when I drive US cars.

Rollover? I think if you drive like a total bonehead then yes, you could possible roll this car over. But I love the narrow body this car has and don't mind having to drive responsibly in order to compensate. It is so cool to be able to zip through narrow little traffic keyholes or narrow roads with total confidence and leave the stupid bloat-hog cars and pickups stuck behind. I also use my car to haul firewood and can get through the bush were other vehicles (even tractors) can't fit.

I like the 4 wheel drive shift along with the auto-locking hubs and the low range option. My friend had an all-time 4 wheel drive car and it got terrible gas mileage due to drive-train constant drag. I was skeptical of the auto-locking hubs, but they really work well. I worked for a couple of years in northern Maine and my little Suzuki was perfect for the rough demands even tho I was on call 24-7. My little Sidekick got me through every time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st September, 2008

31st Mar 2010, 09:19

I have to disagree with the following statement: "And to think that this little Suzuki seems to capture the real essence of the original jeep and has greatly improved upon the idea"

I do not think that Suzuki "greatly improved" upon the original Jeep. They are fun little copies, but they are not an improvement on the Jeep. To be fair, I do not think that Chrysler has "improved" the Jeep lately either.

I much prefer the YJ, and to a little lesser extent the TJ, over the current JK Wrangler.

Yes, the JK and the TJ are both more "civilized" than the YJ, but I feel the YJ is a bit truer to its roots.