Suzuki produces the Sidekick SUV, a body it shares with Chevrolet (the GeoTracker), and new for 1996 it adds the Sidekick Sport, which it doesn't sharewith anyone.Sport is built on the same 97.6-inch wheelbase as the Sidekick but is about4 inches longer overall at 162.4 inches. That means more room for four peopleand their gear. The four-door Sport is available in JX or top-of-the-line JLX version. Bothcome with 4WD as standard with a floor-mounted transfer case. The Sport differs from the regular Sidekick in featuring flared fenders andenergy absorbing bumpers. What really sets it apart, however, is that Sport is powered by a1.8-liter, 120-h.p., dual overhead cam 4-cylinder. The 1.8 in the Sport is farmore robust than the 1.6-liter, 95-h.p., 4-cylinder in the Sidekick or theX90. Mileage is a respectable 21 m.p.g. city/24 m.p.g. highway with 4-speed.Considering the small size versus its larger compact SUV brethren, you mightexpect better mileage. What may be holding the rating down is the fact theSport weighs nearly 3,000 pounds. Sport is for those who want the security of 4WD in a more modest sizerunabout--singles but more than likely newly marrieds with only one, perhapstwo kids. It would make a very good retirement commuter vehicle as well. A feature that stands out for its convenience is the spare tire mounted onthe rear swing open door, which can be opened without having to undo thespare. You'll also appreciate that it comes with dual air bags and ABS asstandard. Handling benefits from large but not oversized 16-inch radials as standard.They do a good job of holding you on the road, though, despite the tires andthe vehicle's weight, the body panels are a bit slab-sided and cross breezeson a windy day will slap at you on the open road. Base price with automatic is $19,999 ($1,000 less with 5-speed manual).Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows and door locks,power outside mirrors, electric rear window defroster, rear windowwiper/washer, tinted glass, daytime running lamps, aluminum alloy wheels,rear-door child safety locks, Alpine AM/FM stereo cassette, cruise control,split fold down rear seat, carpeting, trip meter, remote fuel filler doorrelease and dual cupholders. Add $390 for freight.
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