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.
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...