1997 Suzuki Sidekick consumer reviews

$12,899–$17,699 MSRP range
side view of 1997 Sidekick Suzuki
100% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.8
  • Interior design 3.8
  • Performance 3.5
  • Value for the money 4.3
  • Exterior styling 4.0
  • Reliability 4.8
Explore the 1997 Suzuki Sidekick

Runs and drives excellent!!!

This vehicle have many uses: Tow behind motorhome/RV with all 4 wheels on the ground – no trailer needed; use for your off-road adventures or just for your day to day drive to work and fun. Great gas saver!!!


The perfect car for us.

We towed or drove our 4x4 1.6L 16-valve automatic '95 Kick 170,000 miles from the North West Territories to the southern tip if Mexico, from California to Labrador and everywhere in between for 17 years. Light weight, yet comfortable and reliable, it served us well on the open road as well as in snow, sand, mud and rocky trails. When it began to suffer cosmetically, and hinted of some mechanical problems, we looked for and found a '97 1.8L DOHC JLX automatic Sport with 101,000 miles, cruise control, air bags, automatic headlights and the works. It looks and runs as if it were 2 years old rather than 17. Having learned some maintenance tricks with the '95, I expect to get another 100,000 out of the Sport. When they were built, the Kicks were the only automatic 4x4 that could be towed on four wheels and our experience towing the '95 is the major reason why we replaced it with the '97. With the resale value of the '95, the cost of moving up from an aging no frills transportation car to a deluxe model in cherry condition was $2850. The major draw back to the Kick (and most Suzukis) is the high price of replacement parts which will get worse since the factory went out of business. But the reliability and ease of service partially makes up for that.


5 Star SUV

I drove my 97 SK Sport into the ground. I showed no mercy and gave no quarter. It never faltered, until I blew out the 4WD, high up in the Colo Rockies at the end of Winter one year. The Rky Mountain Rescue Team had to come in and get me on Snowmobiles !!! I went places that Hummers couldn't squeeze through. After 10 years of misuse and abuse, the 4wd switcher had nothing left to give. For 10 years I ran it with over sized tires thru all the Mud and Snow I could find 3 feet of snow was not a problem. I wish I would have just serviced it more than once in 175K miles. It still gave me 50k miles after that. She is sitting in front of my house, waiting for me to figure out what to do. I just can't bring myself to get rid of my dear old friend that helped my raise my kids on camping trips and the WILDEST 4WD romps you can imagine. If I can find another 5 spd, I will fight you to the figurative death for it. Long live the old sidekicks. I now own a 2003 (automatic) Tracker.... ugh!!!


A repeat owner

I'm pleased with my second, side kick, a prior owner of a 1991 JLX, An automatic with a 1.6 cy purchased with 40,000 miles driven by me until 140,000, general maintenance, no cruise control my only big complaint!!!! YES the style will grab the breeze, and maybe howl in the door jam. ]Visibility is awesome, no blind spots, I'm 6' 2"ish, my wife is the same, we are comfortable behind the wheel, if anyone sits behind us that is a different story, the 1997 JLX. 5 speed manual,does have cruise, I don't live in the mountains, if I feel the need for power, I'll drive my mustang, or I 30, the full frame, manual locking hubs, and the gas miliage, and the track of 4x4 is just what we wanted, if you look to find one of these, the 1.8doc 4cyl 120hp is the way to go, the ignition,coil to plug, fuel rail injection,and yes folks timing chain is a quality design of build, My 97 is a 1 owner, the previous owners, kept all records, even it's sticker, the hitch was installed, just after they bought it and pulled it behind their motorcoach, the odometer 83000, when I found the little gem, that was on it's 10th birthday last year 2007, I think the little darling was pulledl at least half of those miles, it handled 6 to 7 inches of snow on more than one occaision this winter on my 34 mile one way trip to work, no snow tires, 70,000 mile uniroyals, I did put 250lbs of sand bags in the back, I had recalled that the light vehicle weight, needed some help in the rear of the 1991, 22-25 miles per gallon is vehicle factory spec, and she clicks in a solid 24 even with my driving habits, I like to get where I'm going, today ,you know what I mean It's stiff, rigid and a short wheel base, obviously this vehicle is not for everyone. The back opens up the full short width, and the second seat folds up so its handy for getting groceries, a little hauling stuff, and it served me and a friend of mine well when we went bird hunting this fall, If it's locked in 4x4 it still gets me over 20 miles to the gallon, and last but not least, It doesn't take long to warm up even if its -15 degrees below zero,( happy trails)