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.

1997 Suzuki Sidekick JLX Sport 1.8L from North America


Very good vehicle for the money


Broken clutch pedal - repaired under warranty.

General Comments:

Acceleration could be better.

A/C bogs it down, but that is to be expected with the relatively small engine.

Highway noise a little loud.

Only one major problem since I bought it and that was fixed under warranty.

Very reliable vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th May, 2004

21st Aug 2009, 21:13

How did they fix your clutch? I have broke 2 clutch cables & 2 clutch pedals. The clutch is always stiff.

Thanks, Bryan.

1997 Suzuki Sidekick Sport JLX 1.8L DOHC from North America


An awesome little truck with a great price tag


Rear main seal started leaking at 42,000 miles.

General Comments:

I love my Sidekick and would definitely buy another Suzuki.

It's very reliable, the only problem I've had so far was the rear main seal, I changed it myself in a day.

The truck is very comfortable and handles well.

It performs well off-road.

It gets great gas mileage for a Sports Utility Vehicle, I get about 25 miles per gallon around town and 30 on the highway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th October, 2001

28th Feb 2003, 15:51

I am an owner of a 1997 Suzuki Sidekick. I would say that your review was correct in every manner but one. The comfort level isn't what it should be in my opinion. For the most part it's fine, but it seems as if the driver side door is too close to the drivers left arm. I'm constantly hitting my arm against the window. Other than that I've been very pleased with the vehicle. Thank you for your time.


1997 Suzuki Sidekick JX 1.8 gasoline from North America


Please do not buy a Suzuki!


A rod is knocking. Estimated cost to replace the short block is $3,000.00. The tires outlasted the motor.

General Comments:

Very poor acceleration.

We waited 3 months for parts to come in.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th June, 2001

17th Jun 2001, 21:09

Rod knocks only come from the oil being run low or used for too long without being changed. I have a 1994 Sidekick with 164,000 miles with no problem.

30th Aug 2001, 22:53

Rod knocks will happen to any engine if you run it out of oil.. Your poor Sidekick is not to blame.. It's operator error, I'm afraid.. Impressive.. The light would have gone on, when the oil pressure dropped, and it still didn't stop you from hammering on it, did it?

I drive a Suzuki Sidekick at the bone yard I work for, I also drive a Geo Tracker which is the same thing.. Both of these cars are great, they run superbly! Especially the Sidekick! Lots of power! I can do 4 wheel burnouts on the hard-packed dirt in 4 high.. The only reason the Tracker can't is because the air filter is dirty. I hammer on them both all the time and I will tie leaf springs onto the bumpers when the other yard guys and I decide to have little demo derbys.. The body is screwed on my poor, old Tracker, but even through all of that, it still rocks on.. I have driven longer on more flat tires. I have driven right over other cars and slammed into more crap with this thing than most of you readers will in yours, and your lives.. And this thing keeps kicking.. I have a deep rooted respect for this car. Suzuki did a wonderful job on making one TOUGH little off-roader.