I have owned a 96 Suzuki sidekick sport 4X4 4dr auto for three years. We live in the out back and had purchased this vehicle for the 4x4 and small size. The vehicle is so light and small that I've only had to use the 4x4 twice. It does get great mileage, but could use just a little more power. Repair cost have been steep because of the prices from the dealership. The window door moldings cracked and tore. Replacement cost was $75.00 each plus labor. The starter gave out at 65,000 miles and $144.00 not from the dealer. The thermostat was replaced because the rubber gasket leaked.$33.00 from the dealer. If it did not cost so much for parts, I would be 100% satisfied./
I am an owner of a 1997 Suzuki Sidekick Sport JLX 4X4 with the 1.8L engine, 4 speed automatic transmission, and Air. I originally leased this vehicle new, and then bought it after 3 years, and 48,000 miles. It now has almost 93,000 miles on it and is still going strong. I totally agree with what you have said in your review. I have found this JLX to be extremely reliable, and fun to drive. It gets about 29 MPG highway, and 24 MPG around town, and that is in heavy New Jersey traffic. This little 4x4 has brought me safely home many, many times even in 18" plus snow, and ice. It has always been very sure footed on wet roads, and in deep snow. Sure, it could be a little roomier, and a V6 would give it more power, but I do not know how it could be any more reliable and just plain fun to drive. I am extremely very pleased with my little Red JLX Sport.
Mine Hill, NJ.
I own a 1997 Sidekick JX, it's a 4x4 convertible with a 1.6l 16 valve engine on a 5 speed manual gearbox. It's peppy, but does not hold the road very well, specially with the top ON and with the presence of crosswinds.
Having said that, I love it. It has been by far the most reliable of all the cars I've ever had. Previous cars have been a 1981 Mercury Capri SVO, a 1992 Saturn SL1 and a 1997 Taurus GL. I enjoy it so much that when my wife and I decided to get rid of the 1997 Taurus, we bought a 2000 Grand Vitara instead of a family sedan.
It's taken me places off-road that frankly I didn't expect to be able to walk through, much less drive. The fuel consumption is fair although I kinda wish it had a larger fuel tank, as it is now, with gasoline at around.84$/liter it takes about 22-25$ to fill and gives me around 400Kms on a full tank in 2 wheel drive. This figure of course drops dramatically when driven in 4x4 as it only does in the neighborhood of 250-280kms. The only repairs I've had to do on it where a leaking oxygen sensor seal, the exhaust connector donut once and an exhaust bracket. I've had the timing belt changed at 102000km along with the long long long overdue (never been changed) air filter and the two straps. I run it on full synthetic oil which I change twice a year in the fall (5W30) and the spring (10W30). I've also changed the spark plugs at around 50000km and they are due again soon. Tires are quite expensive since you need to put light truck tires on it for you will eat up passenger car tires super fast. I have DUNLOP ROVER light truck tires on it and expect to make it through another year with them, unless I decide they're no longer good enough to make it through a Canadian winter.
Try fixing the problem. Stalling is caused by lack of maintenance.
Clean the IAC/ISC (idle controls). PCV and the EGR.
I bet your high mileage car has never had these services?
Take the car to a good mechanic and ask him to fix your stalling problem.
I have 2 and they never stall, and I do pull full maintenance.
I have the same car, and many of the same problems. I can clear up a few.
The squealing at start up was in my case the fan pulley. It did it for a couple of years till I found out. The belt loosens up, because the bolts are slipping on the body. Unfortunately I can't stop it totally, but can make it take longer to loosen up. I used a breaker bar to tighten up the bolts. They still slip, and I have to tighten them about every month. Keep in mind I first replaced the belt.
Also had the problem of stalling when coming to a stop. This I found out was a worn screw on the idle adjustment. Fix very easy by turning it in just a little. Being worn the way it is, will probably have to replace in the future.
My car is a 1.8 manual transmission. Is yours?