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.
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.
I have had my 2000 Esteem for over 5 years and have had no problems with it. I had the brakes replaced in 2005 but nothing else other than normal oil and filter changes have had to be done. I do not drive as much as most people but with over 76000 now on it I am still not finding that there is a problem. The back seat has been able to sit three kids on a regular basis even though two of them have been adult sized or nearly so. We do not take it long distances and I am sure that would get old with everyone in it but for distances up to an hour this car does fine even with my sons who are 6' tall sitting in the back seat. Fuel economy has a large range but it gets no less than 25 MPG.
Car was two years old and had 30,000 miles on it at purchase. I'd read good reviews, but my expectations were low. I was just looking for a cheap little wagon to drive for a while. I tested a 1.6L, but it was underpowered. The 1.8L is way better. I liked that the 1.8L wouldn't need timing belt replacement, since it has a chain. Well, I've been surprised by how much I love this car. It's cute, extremely peppy, and fits a ton of stuff. It's amazingly reliable. In five years, I've put 30,000 miles on it, mostly vacation driving. We've taken it out on the road for weeks at a time without a worry. It's been from sea level to Colorado mountain tops. It's a champ.
Everything works! No timing belt, A/C is cold, runs strong and smooth. And it was CHEAP! These cars were a well-kept secret. Too bad they stopped making them. I'd get another one for my son.
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