Used 1999 Suzuki Vitara Review

what's new

The Vitara is an all-new model that replaces the Sidekick as Suzuki's entry into the mini-SUV class.

vehicle overview

Watching the mini SUV class become increasingly crowded with entries from Toyota (RAV4), Honda (CR-V) and Kia (Sportage), Suzuki decided it was time to stir things up with a completely new mini-ute to replace the aging Sidekick.

The all-new Vitara enters this arena with bold styling, a rigid chassis and advanced suspension components. Available as either a two-door convertible or a four-door model, this new Suzuki boasts a long list of standard features plus several luxury options.

The two-door, soft-top Vitara comes standard with a 1.6-liter, 16-valve engine that makes 97 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. An optional all-aluminum, 2.0-liter engine can be ordered which bumps horsepower to 127 and maximum torque to 134. The four-door Vitara comes standard with the larger engine, which uses a Direct Drive Valvetrain (DDV) for increased throttle response and lower fuel consumption.

Both the convertible and four-door models can be ordered in two- or four-wheel drive. An independent MacPherson strut front suspension and five-link coil spring rear suspension is used throughout the Vitara line and all models come with a five-speed manual transmission, an Alpine AM/FM/cassette sound system, dual airbags, and daytime running lights. Options include air conditioning, alloy wheels, power windows, and a four-speed automatic. Surprisingly, ABS is also an option even though it's standard on both the RAV4 and CR-V.

With it's creative look, powerful engine, and roomy interior, the Vitara offers a competition package that may take a bite out of RAV4 and CR-V sales.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.