1990 Suzuki Vitara JLX SE 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Just for fun, believe me!


The clutch failed at about 72k miles. Replaced for £300.

Interior plastic cover keeps coming off.

Front brakes replaced (discs & pads) at 79k miles. Cost £220.

Rusty wheel arches.

Rusty engine.

Rear right light does not work when the brakes are applied. No one will fix it because the rear bumper needs to be removed.

General Comments:

I bought this car because I liked the looks of it and I travelled a reasonably long distance to see it. However, I didn't like it overall because it reminded me of a pick-up truck rather than a fun vehicle.

I paid £1800 for an 11-year Vitara. I've paid more than £700 in 8 months for repairs, and now it won't pass the MOT, so either I get rid of it (throw it off a cliff and claim the insurance), or pay about £500 to get it fixed.

I like travelling, but if there's one thing this car isn't for, it's travelling. Fuel consumption is absolutely ridiculous, and the noise unbearable, except if you've got some good music playing LOUD. No complaints about comfort though. I guess it's because I'm sitting in the front.

No problems with handling either, unless if you ask for it. Performance is disappointing, but you won't notice because 70mph in a Vitara feels like 140 in a BMW 530.. and worse. No kidding. When I first drove the car, I wouldn't dare go more than 45-50mph. Scary. But you get used to it.

The reason I get frustrated is that I live in a place I don't like, and the Vitara cannot get me out of there fast enough. It can be a problem you know, considering fuel consumption etc. Also very little space can cause a big problem with 4 people in the vehicle.

I've had some off-road experience with it and I loved it. Can't wait to "download" it to Greece in the summer for some off-road adventure. So I'm going to keep it probably. It's great looking too.

That's all for now. I hope I don't have any updates in the near future.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th January, 2002

12th Jan 2006, 01:14

I totally agree! I bought my 89 model JLX softop in Aug 05 and have not had an issue despite it having over 225,000k's. A very able beach machine - one thing to watch though is sand in the engine - make sure it has a sump guard for beach driving.

1990 Suzuki Vitara JXL 1.6 8v from Cyprus


Just OK!


I haven't used the car very much and treated it very well.

After driving the temperature increased to a higher level than usual, checked the oil and realised there was water there. Took the engine apart and found a crack of approximately 6 cm on the left side of the engine housing. So bye, bye engine, as such a problem is not possible to repair.

I had the engine changed to a used 16 valve DOHC with a transmission, but the mechanics seem to have a problem to getting things right, the engine runs on 1400-1500 revs when cold, this means going into gear makes the car jump and when it's warm it's down to 600 revs, this still makes the car jump when going into gear. Any suggestions?


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd December, 2000

18th May 2001, 06:57


Mate, I have a Suzuki which has an automatic choke. When cold the engine will rev harder to warm up to a reasonable temperature as to minimise damage. I have had my Suzuki for many years in the Australian outback, best damn four wheel drive I have ever had (love pulling Toyotas and Nissans out of the sand dunes).

You will find in the manual how to adjust your choke depending on what kind of climate you are in. There should be three settings (1) dusty and dry conditions (2) cold icy etc.. (3) wet humid conditions.

Also take out your air filter, it may be clogged up, if so your engine will rev harder trying to cope with the air intake. Also remember that this four wheel drive is based on a military chassis and is developed as such, hence some of the engine components will require top grade oil in the engine and diffs, but always use good oil in the gear box.

Good luck.


Ben (Alice Springs Northern Territory)

p.s make sure who services your Suzuki knows what they are doing, you would be surprised how many treat services like you would a normal car. It's not a car, it's a four wheel drive.

19th Jan 2009, 03:15

Oh, that was my case too.

I was driving the 1991 suzuki vitara for one year before one day, while driving, the heat abnormally increased. I checked the engine coolant water and there was none.

I took it to garage and the mechanic told me the engine is out of use and there was no solution!