2002 Suzuki Esteem Review

Used Esteem for sale
List Price Estimate:$984 - $2,252
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Suzuki Esteem model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Strong 1.8-liter engine, attractive -- if not distinctive -- exterior design, sedan and wagon body styles.
  • Engine gets noisy at high revs, so-so suspension, ABS not available on sedan, doesn't offer the most appealing value package in this segment.

An aging economy sedan that offers little in terms of value or amenities.

Vehicle overview

There is nothing really objectionable about the Esteem sedan and wagon, but the economy car segment is not what it used to be -- at least not since the Focus and a fresh batch of Sentras, Civics and Elantras arrived. Now, it seems that customers are looking for value (!), socially acceptable aesthetics and a bit of driving amusement. The Esteem has been around since 1995, and it has never been able to deliver all three, though advertising (that ideally, would get people into the dealerships) has not been especially heavy-handed, either. Slowly, Suzuki has enhanced the Esteem, but we're not sure that the company is moving expediently enough to rescue the car from the cellar of the segment in sales.

The Esteem comes with a relatively powerful 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine. This engine makes 122 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 117 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. These numbers are competitive for this class, but we've observed more engine roar in the Esteem from 4,000 to 6,800 rpm than we have in its peers. The noise isn't obnoxious -- there is simply more of it. For 2002, you can buy two different sedan trims (GL and GLX) or three different wagon trims (GL, GLX and GLX+). Base-level GL cars are outfitted with air conditioning, power steering, a rear window defogger, a fold-down rear seat, and an in-dash CD player. GLX trim offers a desirable content package: Besides the GL bits, you get remote keyless entry; power windows, mirrors and locks; alloy wheels; a tachometer and cruise control. The only options for these models are floor mats and an automatic transmission. The GLX+ wagon comes with a power moonroof, antilock brakes, a combination CD/cassette player and two exclusive exterior colors. The Esteem's exterior styling might not gouge the sensibilities (in the way that the Focus does), but the mild-mannered may find it pleasant. The interior is user-friendly and solidly constructed, but it doesn''t make you forget how little you paid. Occupants will find the expected amount of plastic and seats that are reasonably comfortable but lack height adjustment and adequate seatback tilt. Nor does the steering wheel have a tilt or telescoping adjustment.

Given the selection of excellent economy cars available, we see little reason to buy a Esteem. Pricing is high given the lack of content and the trim packages make it difficult to tailor a car to your needs. If you are interested in the Esteem, we encourage you to compare it with similarly equipped peers before you buy.

2002 Highlights

Not much changes for the 2002 Esteem. The seat upholstery is new, and sedans now have an inside trunk release handle. Suzuki has changed with the trim levels, and last year's GLX+ and GLX Sport sedan trims are no longer available. Suzuki now offers a 24-hour roadside assistance program.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Suzuki Esteem.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Most Dependable Car Ever
GL 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I have no complaints, used to be Toyota man, but my maintenance costs have been nearly nothing in the first 100K miles
4.75 out of 5 stars
Super Reliable
GLX 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I just traded in my Esteem. Broken-hearted. A fantastic vehicle. I used it for courier deliveries. Back seats fold flat and the cargo space held everything! Handled very heavy (500 lbs) loads without too much complaining. Lots of jackrabbit starts (deadlines you know) and sudden stops. But the reliability was great. Never even changed a headlight until 260,000 km. Several things (rad, control arm, CV boots etc) went this week. But now that its got 365,000 km (228 k miles) I can't really complain.
4.25 out of 5 stars
Great car for the price
GL 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Bought it used (5 speed, wagon) and never had any issues whatsover. With the rear seats folded down, it had very good usable cargo space. You can fit stuff in there you can never imagine in a sedan. Wonder why people still prefer to buy sedans over wagons.
4.75 out of 5 stars
I miss it already
GL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Until 3/18/04 I really loved my little Suzuki. I did have to replace the tires and a bumper, which were a little pricey (but this not a ford Focus, so don't expect to be readily able to get parts for cheap). But I love it more now because that car saved my life. I took my eyes off the road for 1 second and ended up rolling the car over four times. Where I was in the driver's seat held up wonderfully. The passenger side, not so hot, but for the impact it took (hitting a culvert in a driveway at 45 mph) it did well. I was able to walk out of the car. The car is totalled, but I owe that I am writing this today to that car.

More about the 2002 Suzuki Esteem

Used 2002 Suzuki Esteem Overview

The Used 2002 Suzuki Esteem is offered in the following submodels: Esteem Sedan, Esteem Wagon. Available styles include GL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GL 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GLX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GLX 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GL 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), GLX Plus 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 4A), GL 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M), GLX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), GLX 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and GLX Plus 4dr Wagon w/Two Tone Paint (1.8L 4cyl 4A). Pre-owned Suzuki Esteem models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 122 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2002 Suzuki Esteem comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2002 Suzuki Esteem comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 7 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Suzuki Esteem?

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Which used 2002 Suzuki Esteems are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2002 Suzuki Esteems you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Suzuki Esteem for sale - 8 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $11,318.

Find a used Suzuki for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $16,998.

Find a used certified pre-owned Suzuki Esteem for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $14,044.

Find a used certified pre-owned Suzuki for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $18,707.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 Suzuki Esteem?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Suzuki Esteem lease specials