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

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!