|Sidekick -1989 to 1998
sold in 2 and 4-door hardtop and 2-door softtop models with several trim packages. Fitted
with many different I-4 engines including: 1.3 8V, 1.6 8V, and 1.6 16V.
First released: 1988
Engine: 1.6L, 1.8L, 2.0L V6, and diesel
Transmission: 5-speed, 4-speed auto
Roof: Hardtop, Soft Top
Notes: LWB 4 Door model released in 1991, LWB 4 Door Sport model (with 1.8L) released in
1995, diesel model release in Europe only, V6 2.0L release in Sport model in 1997 (Europe
Created as a successor to the popular Samurai, but offering more
comforts and modern components, the Sidekick proved very popular among young and old
alike. Also marketed as the Vitara, Escudo,
Tracker and Sunrunner, the "J Truck" was the first Suzuki manufactured in North
America, at CAMI in Ingersoll, Canada, a joint venture between GM and Suzuki.
Initially only available in a two door model, a four door version was released in 1991 and
began competing with Pathfinder 4 Runner, Trooper, Jimmy, and other SUVs.
In 1996, the JLX model was replaced with a Sport tag. Beige body molding, a new grill, and
1.8L engine was also added to give the four door a sophisticated look and feel. Duel air
bags and a curvier
dash was also implemented in 1996. The Sidekick/Tracker placed second in the compact sport
utility vehicle category in the 1996 J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey.
1999 models will see the first major body restyle since its introduction in 1988. The
Sidekick name will be retired and the Vitara moniker will be used in North America. North
America will also see the V6 option. Stay tuned for more info as it become available.