1997 Suzuki Sidekick 1.8 from Finland


An excellent and economical buy


There was a manufacturing problem with the driver's door, so that it was hung a little low and would cause the dome light to stay on. I adjusted the mechanism myself, and it worked fine.

The rotors had to be replaced at first, since they were uneven so that the brakes were not smooth.

The rear hatch seal collected dust easily, and caused it to leak a little inside.

The screws around the air filter casing rusted.

The inside heater bearings made some noise in the winter time as well.

One of the window rails came loose, and I had to open the door to re-align them.

Other than that, it had no repairs other than normal maintenance.

The lock would freeze in the winter.

Nicks on the body needed to be sanded, primed, and re-painted to keep them from rusting through.

There was a rust problem beneath the passenger door frame, perhaps due to some damage on the body frame (apparently happened at manufacture).

This model had no additional electronics, other than the stereo.

General Comments:

The engine ran so cool, that in the winter I had to put cardboard in front of the radiator so that the engine would warm up enough. The timing belt replacement was quite easy, and I did it myself.

The tires wore fairly evenly if rotated, and were occasionally re-mounted on the rims (the outside edges on the front normally wear more).

Wish that I still had the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th February, 2012

4th Feb 2012, 13:42

The engine coolness sounds like a stuck or leaking thermostat.

1997 Suzuki Sidekick JLX 4WD 1.8 from North America


Toughest, most reliable small SUV ever owned. 200k miles don't lie


A few wiring issues; rear speakers some how kept getting wet every time it rained.. Ripped them out and dropped a 10 inch sub in the back with a 200 watt amp; sounds beautiful.

In 200k miles I have changed my share of bulbs.

My reverse lights come on by toggle switch, as does my window.

General Comments:

This is a wild little zuki for its size. It has good power and great mileage. 4wd is hardy and powerful enough; just don't pull the e-brake at high speeds on corners, or even take corners too fast, or you're gonna have to climb out and flip it back over LOL.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd May, 2010

1997 Suzuki Sidekick Base 1.6 16-valve from North America


Great on gas, fun, reliable, but beware of those over 200,000km


I bought this car for the harsh northern Canadian winters.

The WORST thing that happened with this thing:

- The "key" on the crank went and dug a nice hole into the crank... I was told it's a pretty common problem. The fix was about $500 with labour and I was told changing the timing belt will be impossible.

- Started always dragged (would stay on a little after the engine started), though I never bothered fixing it and it didn't get any worse in the 60,000+ kms I drove it.

- TONS of electrical problems near the end of my ownership... brake lights went out, signals went out, wipers went out, horn went out, etc. These were all results of electrical shorts hidden deep, deep in the wiring harness. Not cheap to fix.

- Started rusting REALLY bad in the last year (only 11 years old)

- Started puffing blue on start-up (was running synthetic) near the end. When I switched to conventional oil, it stopped doing it, but it's a bad sign.

- Emergency brake would not disengage (and therefore heat up rear brakes)

- Rear door/tailgate squeaked like crazy towards the end, enough to drive some passengers crazy.

General Comments:

I bought this car for the harsh northern Canadian winters, beaten-up back roads and deep snow.

By and large I absolutely loved my "Zukini" (It was a green Suzuki hehe).

Off-road it was amazing, in the snow it was unstoppable. It got great gas mileage (as low as 7.3L/100km on the hwy and 8.1/100km in the city). It was an absolute hoot to drive around in the conditions that left some of my friends sitting at home because their cars were stuck.

It was fairly comfortable on long trips, but the wind noise, at times, was deafening. Very cold inside in the winter (to be fair, I lived in a pretty harsh climate, but had to wear gloves, hat, big jacket, even with the heater on full blast).

Clutch was getting near the end of its life, but still going fairly strong at 203,000 kms, with a fair bit of off-roading. Aside from the puff of blue at start-up, the engine ran great, transmission was solid, 4x4 worked awesome.

Soooo much fun with the top down!

Fair amount of room in the back with the seat folded down (or taken out).

I took it on tons of roadtrips, and to see my family/girlfriend, and never thought twice about throwing 2,000+ kms its way on a weekend, I knew it could handle it.

I'd definitely buy another one as a weekend offroading toy...

- LowriderS10.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th July, 2009