Suzuki For 1997
By Carey Russ
With the average price of a new car as high as it is, there is a place for inexpensive cars and sport-utilities that also offer personality and fun. This has been the key to Suzuki's success over the past decade. It sells a line of inexpensive yet entertaining subcompact cars and small sport-utility vehicles. And one product, the X90, that is a cross between the two.
1997 is a year of refinement at Suzuki. The Sidekick sport- utility vehicle and Swift hatchback were joined in the past couple of years by the Esteem sedan and X-90 sport-utility car.
Sidekick and Sidekick Sport
Suzuki's four-wheeled core in this country has always been small, reasonably-priced sport-utilities. Its newest, the Sidekick Sport, is a long way up the comfort and appointments ladder from the little Samurai of a decade ago. It's also a long ways down the price ladder from many other sport-utilities. A two-wheel drive entry-level model of the Sidekick Sport is added this year. It, like its 4WD stablemates, has the flared fenders, sport trim, wider track, and two-tone paint scheme that differentiate Sport models from the regular four-door Sidekick.
Regular Sidekicks come in two-door and four-door styles, each with 2- or 4-wheel drive. They are capable off or on the road and among the least-expensive sport-utilities sold today.
The little X-90 runabout defies classification. It is a two-seat, T-top vehicle that combines the look of a sports car and the heart of a sport-utility. Available in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive form, with standard features including power windows, steering, and door locks, the X-90 is best thought of as a small sporty coupe that likes to get dirty. There is nothing else like it.
Although Suzuki's largest passenger car may still be in the "subcompact" category, it is very well-equipped. Even the base GL models have a 1.6-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine, fully-independent suspension, power steering, air conditioning, and an AM/FM/cassette stereo system. Upscale GLX models add power windows, mirrors, and door locks, and even more comfort and convenience features. Standard safety equipment includes dual airbags, side impact protection, daytime running lights, and child-safety locks. Antilock brakes are available on the GLX.
The little hatchback Swift is perennially one of the most fuel- efficient cars sold in this country, and one of the least expensive. It is unchanged for 1997.