1997 Suzuki Sidekick JLX Sport 1.8 from North America


Tough little 4 x 4 that can do just about anything


I purchased my Sidekick in 1998 with 20,000 miles on it. Since then, I have a total of 180,000 miles on it and everything is still operating just fine. I replaced the clutch for the first time and a rear wheel bearing at 170,000 miles.

General Comments:

This is my first time owning a Suzuki product and I have been extremely pleased with this tough and reliable Sidekick. The 1.8 liter engine has enough power for me to travel on the interstate and I still get 28 miles per gallon. Given all the miles and abuse I have put it through, I cannot say anything negative about it. It has the ability to tow a small trailer and the 4 x 4 system is great for traveling on narrow trails in the mountains. I put a roof rack system on it with a cargo basket for hauling extra gear and a bike rack on the spare tire for my mountain bike.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th November, 2005

23rd Aug 2006, 20:06

True! I got mine @ 28000km & unfortunately totalled it in an accident @ 175000km.

The only thing I did to it was a fan belt & rear axle seals!

The automatic is a little gutless on hills & not as good on gas -- a well-made vehicle!

11th Apr 2013, 22:26

I purchased my 97 Suzuki Sidekick JLX Sport in 1999. It only had 11,000 or so miles on it... All those years, I never had anything go wrong, and it had been a reliable, economical vehicle for years. The car went to a new owner who refused to change the timing and destroyed the engine. I took the car back, put in a rebuild, and it has been running great ever since!

1997 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.8L from North America


A fun, useful, sturdy, reliable little SUV


One burned-out headlight bulb and one turn signal bulb.

Battery went at 5 years.

General Comments:

This has been a very reliable truck. It gets hard use hauling supplies and the cargo area is holding up well. No problems other than normal wear & service parts replacement. I service it myself, and while parts are a bit pricey from the dealer, tuneups are infrequent at 30,000 mile intervals. It's easy to work on, unlike some cars I've owned.

Gas mileage is decent, and performance is very good considering engine size and vehicle weight. It easily out accelerates standard American V8 SUVs. Handling with Goodyear Arriva tires is good. (The OEM Bridgestone tires had very poor traction.) Very agile and easy to slip into small spaces. The main flaw in handling is a tendency for the rear to come around suddenly under power in sharp turns due to the short wheelbase.

My local dealer has closed and it's a 70 mile drive to the nearest Suzuki shop. I believe I could get parts through a Chevy dealer in an emergency, though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2004

23rd Aug 2004, 02:00

Why wait for an emergency to go the a Chevy dealer? These vehicles were made by the CAMI GM plant in Ontario, and it's just another regular GM car, whether it says Chevy or Geo or Suzuki on the badge.

16th Nov 2005, 22:01

I don't know about JX, but I have a 1996 JLX sports and it is made in Japan.

The dealer later told that there are two versions floating in the market - one Japanese and another Canadian.

My car has done 97,000 miles and is doing great. Just couple of oil changes and that's it!

Does anyone know after how many miles do I need a timing belt change?

20th Nov 2005, 15:45

I currently own a 1997 Sidekick JLX Sport, it has 180,000 miles and it is still running strong. If your Sidekick has the 1.8 Liter engine, then it has a timing chain that is rated to last for the life of the engine.

17th Sep 2015, 20:06

If it's the 1.8, it has a chain which should go for 300000.