I have the same model from the same year. This comments are very accurate, but I want to add something: beware of the hard top model. At more than 80 km/h, there's a unbearable noise of the air resistance, just in front of your ears. Think of it if you want this version of the Vitara.
Thanks for the advice about the noise. I bought a 1991 model today on impulse and have been driving round this afternoon wondering where the noise is coming from. Now I know that engine and air noise is a trait of this vehicle I'm not so concerned!
Try the later 16 valve engine - much smoother, livelier and responsive, and improved mpg. Unless you want the 'image' of the swb I would also recommend the lwb 5-door, an altogether different car!
1. Definitley go for the LWB. More stable, much smoother power transfer compared to the 8v & more 'usable' unit.
2. Several sacks of coal or a St. Bernard in the boot.
Pretty fair comment.
Tho of course it has a diff. All cars have.
If you drive it through snow, slippery surface etc, use the 4H! that's what it's there for. it'll stay on track like a train. And guys, please take it off-road. that's what it's made for. its not a city car and it's not meant to be driven 1k highway-miles a day.
I own a 1990 Vitara jlx 1600 engine and have owned it for the last 4 years and I have found a bad fault in the engine. The problem is in the block, it sometimes cracks from cylinder to cylinder and water gets in the engine and it is destroyed. It has happened twice to me. I love the car. It is a great in snow and any other off road action. I live in Iceland so there is lot of snow in winter. If some of you think the car is not stable in snow, just put bigger tyers under it... problem solved 31" and up to 33" tires is what I use in snow on the car, they work great... no slipping or sliding just rides nice. Does anyone know if I can use any other engine in the car not made by Suzuki? Thanks
For a little more stability, just add some wheel spacers. And of course it'll lose control easily in 2WD. I totaled a 97 Tracker (brother of the Vitara) because I was too lazy to get out and lock the manual hubs. I'd still have that dear car today if I wouldn't have been so darn lazy. Lesson learned... I now have a Suzuki X-90 with auto locking hubs :) The same chassis and parts of a Vitara/Tracker/Sidekick, but it looks cooler! But duh, if you don't want to lose control, kick it into 4! Get over the fact it's not a sports car and corner slower. Get some wheel spacers if you're worried. And you foreigners amuse me, complaining about 20 to 28 mpg!!! By US Standards that's pretty good (sadly)! Especially for a 4x4. In fact, the Vitaras/Trackers/Sidekicks have mileage that easily competes with sedans, and even some larger coupes! So quit whining. Oh, one last thing to the reviewer... You sounded knowledgeable on your car until you stated it has no differential. I see you later corrected it, but be careful what you say as fact when you actually are not certain. People that do those sort of things cause a lot of trouble, albeit unintentionally. If you don't know what you're talking about, shut your mouth. Best to be thought of as a fool while silent than to open your mouth and prove it!
I currently drive the 1991 Vitara, which seems to be a good all round 4X4. I have had a few problems with mine, but it also get driven very hard. I have blown a motor snapped a couple of axles, and have just stuffed the front locking hubs. All of which have been relatively cheap to fix compared to most SUV or similar. But other than that I fine this to be a very handy 4X4, that is also very strong.
As for the top speed, fuel consumption and overall handling, I actually found this to be quite good, If you want something that goes fast and handles well you buy a sports car, If you want some that is cheap to run you buy a Corolla, but if you want a hack that you can have fun in, go bashing thru the bush, or crossing rivers in, then you buy a Suzuki.
Also due to the back end being easy to throw around, it makes it a lot easier to get places most bigger 4X4 will never go. Places like the small tight twist goat tracks or creeks.
Control is in the drive not the vehicle. It is not a shopping trolley or a Go cart. But does what it was made for very well. Over all I am very happy with my Vitara.
I have owned a 1990 Vitara JLX Soft-top for a year now. It is my first car and I love it. I could never be attracted to a car with no personality, I like to hear the engine and feel like driving is an active thing.. not something to be done by an auto-pilot! For these reasons it is the perfect car for me, and I am able to forgive the lack of comfort and the noise. I've driven about 15000km in it and it currently has almost 250000km on the clock. I did have to get the auto-transmission overhauled as it had trouble changing gear when cold. The problem turned out to be some tired rubber seals and I've had no issues since they were replaced. I have not seen any rust on the car despite some paint chips on the corners, and the only damage in the interior is that the plastic around the steering wheel has faded and started to break down. Over all I think it looks pretty damn good for a 16 y/o car and I look forward too many more years with her :)
Own this vitara JLX 3door 1.6 since 1991. Engine still running very well today.
The only problem is hardly get the Spare part. Anybody know where to get the rear door handle? it broke, I unable to open rear door. I find replacement part nowhere...
Try searching for a UK or Japan car-breaker site on the net, pay on-line and get it sent to you.
Check the actual Suzuki dealers too, sometimes the genuine parts are quite reasonable.
I own a 3-door Suzuki Vitara JLX (1991 model - manual transmission) since June 2006 and I love its look although the vehicle is already 16 years old. Besides that, the short wheel base makes parking in the city area easy. The only set-back is the high fuel (gas) consumption. I recently fitted my Vitara with an air compressor recommended by a workshop to help reduced the fuel consumption and to increase the engine power. However, there is no improvement or changes as claimed by the workshop. I hope someone can give me some advise or suggestion to my problem. Thank you.
I love my '91 Vitara JX Wagon! The only thing that no one has mentioned yet is that it has a very poor turning circle, which has caused some off road dilemmas for me in forested areas and narrow tracks. I still love Viddy!
I own a 92 Vitara JLX LWB. I totally agree with the end to end comment. I did a 540 in mine at 10km. It was raining and I was turning sharp corner, but I'm safe and the car is all good, so it's fine...
Very fun off road in paddocks, cause can do the same purposely haha love it..
I have stock suspension. What are the largest tyres fittable, anybody know?? I'm thinking 235r75 or 225r75.
I have 91 Suzuki Vitara 3 door, and I have recently changed the air filter, spark plugs and I also got it serviced to get power and economy as suggested to me, but I haven't got power for sure, and not really sure about economy yet... Can anyone suggest anything to boost the power in the car, as it almost crawls on a slope...
I own a Suzuki Vitara 97 model 8 valve, and would like to know the valve clearance.