We bought our Esteem in 1999 but it's an 2000 GLX model. I got the car since my father passed away 6 years ago and now in 2013, it still runs like a champ.
I did the brakes pads once and then later on got some aftermarket drilled and slotted rotors and ceramic brake pads and new shoes and drums for the back.
In all these 13+ years the car has never broke down on the road but once it didn't start in the garage. it was just the CMP sensor and that's about a 15 minute job for this car. Replaced the Idle Control Valve once, alternator and the struts and besides the regular wear items, tires, battery, belt, It keeps on going.
My A/C never had problems since new and always blows cold.
Great A/C unit, easy to drive. It's just a great dependable car to take my child to school and me to work everyday and don't have to worry about it breaking down like a lot of more expensive brands.
Has a timing chain and not a belt so no replacement or pre maintenance care. Change the oil every 3 months and add gas and go. Great little car.
Could use a smoother ride and a quieter interior. A little more pep in the motor. A little higher stance since I'm a tall guy. Sorry can't find too much on a car that is suppose to be simple and reliable because it is.
Well, bought used from a dealership, and was great at first. Had no problems until a couple months later the electical system started having problems. Radio clock wouldn't light up, and radio would turn off on me. Started idling really high, and the brakes and tires were having to be replaced often, sometimes once a month. I was buying used tires, then when I had the money bought new ones. But even with new ones, they kept leaking for some reason, so would have to put air in quite often. The rotors went bad very quickly also. Don't think the dealership did a good check but that's a gamble we all take when buying a vehicle. Think I payed way too much for it also. $12,000.
Liked the gas mileage, and smooth ride. Was driving constantly in this car. Lived in Mountains, and did well for a 4 cylinder. I put around 40,000 miles on top of what was on their already in less than a year, and it did well until I had an accident.
That it was automatic.
Better electrical system, and radio. Could use a better design on the inside. Outside is ok for a sedan, but inside was very plain and could use better cup holders.
It has been a great little car. I know I was not getting a sports car but for what it is I love it. I have taken it on a few long trip and have had no problems. I think the clutch is going out but that is the only thing that has happened. I have driven it like a teenage. I have not been the nicest to it but it still runs great.
We had our Esteem wagon for 9 years and 168,000 and never regretted buying it. (It was recently totaled in a bad collision, no fault on the Suzuki and we miss it so much!) In those years we had no break-downs, excellent gas mileage, and awesome ability to bring tons of gear (the rear seats lay completely flat). The only problem we had was the outside door handles snapping some piece when it was very cold outside - it was an easy and cheap repair, but you can try to avoid it and just be very careful opening the doors when it's cold. There were no engine or any other problems. Highly recommend this car, even though it is 10 years old.
Reliability - no major break-downs or repairs EVER. Tons of space in the back.
This has been the best car I have ever owned. They are built in Japan and I understand that they are very popular there. I have only had some routine brake work done and that is it. It just keeps going and going.