First off, this car is a lot of fun to drive, especially with the top down in summer. It's also pretty reliable and never failed to get me when needed. On the negative side, it's it does show it's age. The plastic trim crumbles, the exhaust manifold cracked and had to be replaced, the AC was not that strong. The 3 speed transmission was ok under 65 mph, but going above would bring MPG down into 12-15 range. The EGR was getting clogged. And getting spare parts became a huge problem because Suzuki went out of business in the US.
I bought this car from my cousin in 2006 with 69,700 miles. The car has been very reliable with some problems here and there, but its mostly due to age. The transmission has never given me any problems. Its amazing in the snow; after 10 years of ownership, this year was the first year it got stuck in the snow because the street wasn't plowed and the vehicle got high centered. The snow was up halfway to my thighs (I'm 6'2). Recommended transmission fluid change for the A/T is at 100,000 which I reached 2 years ago. No problems with the transmission even though it had the original transmission fluid for 16 years. This car has a rust issue, but it has seen very severe winters over the years being in Boston when my cousin owned it and now here in NY with me. The rust has gotten so bad that the part where the chassis meets the bumper is has almost completely rusted away on one side. The most expensive repair has been the 4WD auto locking hub in the front left wheel that slipped out of place which was due to my dad accelerating too hard when he engaged 4WD; that part cost around $450-$500(labor inc). The other two expensive repairs was the EGR valve and alternator that each cost between $200-$250(labor inc). The car has been very reliable over the years. Being in NY it doesn't feel as solid as it once did because the potholes in my area are horrendous, at one point even loosened the plates in the muffler which caused it to rattle. We average about 12 mpg city because of the heavy traffic in our area and about 25mpg on long interstate stretched. The car has been great, but it is now 19 years old and its time for a new one.
I bought this Sidekick JX 4-door, 4x4, 5-speed about a week ago from a private party to replace my Grand Vitara. The latter is great in all aspects except the gas economy. So, I got this Sidekick for better gas mileage. Comparing with the Grand Vitara I am surprised to find that the Sidekick is not so much less in acceleration, and climbing grade. But what troubles me is that the Sidekick does not seem willing to get beyond 65 MPH speed. The RPM gets to 3,000 at 55 MPH, 3,100 at 60 MPH and 3,500 and growling in loud protest at 65 MPH. I haven't yet dare to try but wonder if it can get to 70 RPM. I hope someone could share with me his experience and insight on this over the Internet.
True 4x4, off-road ability.
Rear window wiper. It is unimaginable a SUV is not equipped with one.
I originally bought my Sidekick to save some gas... But I have been driving it so much that I have not saved a dime yet.....! It is a fun, little nimble beast. It has a choppy ride on the road but, the 1.6 is peppy with the 5spd. Not a lot of critter comforts but the utility side is amazing. I fish a lot and the 4x4 , good ground clearance and it's small size allow me and my little boat to go places no one else can go. Stay away from the interstate with this guy, it's like riding a motorcycle out there. A great little car, manly enough to be seen in and is well made and tough... No repairs yet but I don't think it will be a problem thus far..... Don't be scared of the sidekick!
4x4, A/C, Small size, quiet engine
Armrests.... please! Perhaps a little more sound insulation, it can be quite loud inside
I bought my Suzuki when it was 2 years old and it had just under 25000 miles on it. I now have 120,000 miles on it after about 6 1/2 years of driving. I have had few problems with it. This vehicle is very bad for rust and doesn't hold up well in places where salt is used on roads in the winter!!! They have NO resale value and Dealer parts are ridiculously expensive! You think that you are driving a Rolls when you buy parts. I am not kidding!!! They need to stop being so outrageously greedy when selling replacement parts. I went to the dealer once for a repair and told them I would never come back. I didn't. I shopped for after market parts where ever I could find them.
Very reliable drive train. I have had very few problems. I have used synthetic oil since 40000 miles so that could explain why engine is still running strong.
Better rust control. I would buy another but I am afraid of high repair costs. If I did buy another it would have to be cheap enough so that if I had to sell it I wouldn't lose my shirt. Interior space is too cramped.