I bought my 2001 Suzuki Vitara used in February 2002 with one previous owner and 14K miles on it. It was in perfect running condition and I pampered the car the entire time I owned it with monthly trips to the car wash and oil changes every 3,000 miles at Jiffy Lube with all recommended service being performed as well. Before I get into the demise of this vehicle I will warn anyone considering buying one of these, they have a "known issue" with O2 sensors failing every 2-3 years. Read various Suzuki forums if you don't believe me, it is notorious for this issue and Suzuki never did anything to resolve it. Expect to spend $150-$300 depending on the morals of the repair shop to have the sensor replaced, every 2-3 years. So, in 2008 my radiator sprung a leak, then the radiator hoses, then the pulleys started failing. First it was the accessory pulley, then the crank shaft pulley. Then the AC compressor and condenser both failed in the same month. Then the front brake calipers failed followed by the rear drum brake shoes. Then the tail pipe fell off, the manifold developed a leak and then the exhaust mounts failed. Thermostat failed, engine coil failed, and the rear brake light fell down. Pins that hold the bumpers on started disappearing, the handle of the oil dip stick snapped off, the interior driver door handle broke off, the exterior driver door handle snapped, the hood brace clip broke and the hinge for the fuel door has disintegrated. Now, I am not saying this vehicle isn't reliable, I put 220,000 miles on mine, but it has cost over $5,000 in repairs to keep it running. Once it hit that 6 year mark there was something each year that failed on the vehicle requiring repair. Suzuki left the US market, as a result, I would not recommend buying any Suzuki vehicle. You will run into difficulty finding parts to keep it running and the O2 sensor can and will fail on you frequently. I forgot to mention the steering knuckle also failed which required me having to find a part from China on eBay to get it repaired as the repair shop couldn't find one from any of their suppliers. I'm sending mine off to the junk yard to get whatever scrap value I can out of it.
2001 Suzuki Vitara JLX 4WD 2dr Soft Top SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I purchased this vehicle in 2012 with 88,000 miles on it. It looked brand new and when I needed new brakes, the repair shop thought it was a new SUV. Since then I have driven it only 5,000 miles and have had a myriad of problems with it. The battery has been replaced four times, brakes twice, and windshield wipers, twice (still noisy). I have had to replace the oil pan, alternator and door handles. The entire underside is rusting and a recent mechanic asked me if I parked in a field because of the rust.I park in my driveway. The rocker panels are rusting.
Now the vehicle will not start again and the catalitic converter is loose, causing all kinds of noise. Also, the a/c no longer works.
Four wheel drive for the winter. (reason I bought it)
This suv fell apart w/i 5,000 miles of purchase. It only has 93,000 miles on it and I can't keep up with the repairs it needs now and in the future. I would suggest they no longer make this vehicle, but they don't. Quality control appears to be non existent and could not have been made with quality parts.
Purchased this car used in 2009 with 118K miles on it. Had a problem with a very squealy belt, replaced, still squealed. Honestly don't remember what resolved this issue. Radiator cracked at 140K for the first time. Cracked twice after (warrantied), turns out the water pump was building too much pressure, replaced water pump. O2 sensors replaced at 160K. Maybe have spent $1000 over 5 years on maintenance (excluding oil changes, brakes, filters, tires, etc., also all labor done by my loving father). Overall this car has been very reliable and required little maintenance for an older car with exponential miles. 22-26 mpg, no difference between highway/city but winter/summer.
2001 Suzuki Vitara JLS 2WD 2dr Soft Top SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this new to replace my 1994 Geo Metro. With the exception of the air conditioning, this has been an ongoing issue that both the dealership and Suzuki have tried to resolve, even after the warranty had expired, but still goes out every year. I used this car for pizza delivery for many years and it has help up great. This is a great car especially with the top down. I also get between 24 and 27 mpg, in town or on the highway. I do not see differences in mileage in town or on the highway.
There were aftermarket tops for the sidekick that were a single unit, did not have to remove the windows to remove or lower. Something like that for this design would be great.