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Suzuki Esteem Wagon



  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    I'm very sorry to hear about your accident. I hope no one incurred any injuries. Your participation in this discussion has been very much appreciated. Btw, in case you weren't aware, you can also compare several vehicles side by side in Vehicle Comparison tool. Good luck with your next purchase.

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • Hi, first I want to say thanks to Quality for helping me make my decision on buying an Esteem. I love my car. All the good things people say about this car is true. I have owned my 2000 Esteem GLX since July of 2001. When I bought it, it had 10000 miles on it. It now (seven months later) has just over 23000 miles on it. I have had one problem. About a week after I bought it, I noticed some grinding coming from the front brakes. The dealer said that the pad had "de-laminated" itself from the mounting surface. They replaced the front brake pads and turned the rotors under warranty. I did buy this car from a reputable used-car dealer here in eastern MA, and not a Suzuki dealer. They are hard to find. I get great mileage in mixed driving (24-28mpg). One complaint: My car has the 15" Speedline rims on it with Yokohama V-rated tires. In New England, it snows. And I live on a hill. I have to get new tires for this car(pref. A/S radials). Any suggestions? Also what's with this car blowing brakelights? I've replaced the same side twice.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I don't have an Esteem (here as a prospective customer when my Metro dies) but I've recently had good opportunities to try my new (bought last year) Michelin all-seasons in the snow and ice so I thought I'd offer my comments. My Geo Metro has 155/80R13 Rainforce MX4s and my Saturn LW200 has 195/65R15 X Ones on them. Both do well in dry, wet, snow and ice, keeping up with traffic just fine (people around here seems to drive reasonably, about 10kmh under the limit in very bad weather). The wheels are such different sizes on cars of such different masses that it is hard to compare them but subjectively, I'd say the pricier X Ones are a bit better, offering slightly better traction and a quieter ride. They are only T rated but that's 190kmh which is faster than I'd ever go.

    I have several nasty, twisty hills to negotiate to and from work every day and I made it up and down them alright in the partially plowed and driven-over remains of a 6" snowfall the other day in the Metro (I wasn't sure it would make it but I had no trouble).

    I don't have a garage so keeping 8 winter tires on extra rims in the basement is not a pleasant thought. If I had a garage, I might get snows.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    and thanks for your sharing 2001 GLX Esteem experience. Glad to hear that you're enjoying your vehicle. Also, good luck with the replacing the tires, as well as dealing with the other issues (i.e. brake lights) you've mentioned.

    In addition to the feedback here, you may want to periodically check in Edmunds' Maintenance Guide to see if any related TSB's (Techincal Service Bulletins) appear. Please keep us posted. Happy Motoring!

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • Chaser4: I can sympathize with your problem about the light bulbs. I have read reviews about the Esteem that note that although the vehicle is reliable ( and I can verify that ) it has a record of having minor problems that owners complain about. I had my share of " minor " problems that showed up during the first 100,000km. My second 100,000km was virtually problem free and there is nothing wrong with the motor or the transmission. Anyhow, I had the same problem with my rear lights I think I blew about 4 0r 5 when the vehicle war really new. And, it really irked me. I had the opportunity to mention this fault to the district manager ( the warranty guy for the region ) He says well: you do a lot of stopping and starting, etc. Not much help here. I ended up going to a different dealership than I was visiting. After visiting this other dealership I never really had this problem again. Bad bulbs? Just a ruse to get you into the dealership? Who knows. I thought it was serious, but it wasn't. Hope this helps.
  • Well , I guess funny things can happen with any new car. Quality, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one out here who is blowing out brake lights. This, by far has been the best experience I have ever had with any car I have ever owned. My last car (ugh!) was a 1995 Ford Contour GL V6.
    I owned it for 4 years, put 100k miles on it after I had purchased it with 23K. For 3 of the 4 years, it was OK. for the last year to 18 months, my God!!! This car was terrible! Repairs would have included exhaust sys from manifold back(I think a bad tune-up fouled my cat), new rear struts, new main seals, new clutch, new front sway bar mount........ you get the picture. Anyway, sorry to hear of the death of your 'Zuki, Quality. Hope everyone is OK. Anyone else who is on the fence about this car, get off the fence,go to the dealer, and buy one. You will not regret it. People always ask me if my car is a (gasp!) Subaru. I tell them what it is and what I paid for it. I get more positive comments about the appearance of the 'Zuki than anything else I've owned. Mine is kind of reddish-maroon with the spoiler over the rear window and the 15" Speedline wheels. It looks great.
  • Well, the trouble-free motoring days are over for our little wagon. A few weeks ago we began experiencing pulsations during braking. Sure enough, Suzuki in Kalamazoo told us the front rotors needed to be replaced. Now that the car has been fixed (under warranty) everything is back to normal.

    I hope everyone else is fairing well behind the wheel.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Sorry to hear about your brake problem. Thanks goodness for warranties. Glad to hear everything is back to normal now. Please keep us posted on any other issues. We look forward to hearing more....

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • I am seriously considering getting a left-over 2002 GLX+ wagon and would like some recommendations as to quality, power and reliability. That zero down/zero interest is the lure. Also, if they are going to discontinue the Esteem, would that pose service problems down the line? I generally keep a car a long time. Thanks for any advice.
  • Hi Kayo.

    I don't have any advice to offer you regarding whether to purchase a vehicle that is being discontinued, but I'll gladly relate my ownership history and driving experience.

    My wife has driven 27,000 miles since we purchased our GLX+ in June 2001. Other than a rotor replacement issue that was covered under warranty, the Suzuki has been extremely reliable. The wagon certainly offers excellent value. It's difficult to find a vehicle with comparable features at such a low price. For a car that is marketed (albeit rarely) as economical transportation, it also benefits from a bit of sporty character.

    Granted, we didn't purchase the Suzuki to drag around town, but it does have some healthy pick-up. It just takes a little time to get use to the acceleration. Stomping on the gas only reveals the tranny's jerky weakness. Smooth acceleration in this car comes with a measured amount of throttle input in order to reach redline.

    My only qualm with the Suzuki is that it has rather floaty suspension. Take it for a test spin and you'll see what I mean. Hit a pothole or some uneven pavement and you'll float up and down for a quick spell.

    The GLX+ is an all around solid little car. It has decent interior room, an abundance of features, a rather 80's looking cloth pattern and great exterior lines. The bonus is that you'll rarely see another one on the road. Cheap exclusivity...
  • Kayo2:
    I have owned a 2000 wagon for about a year now. It had 5K when purchased, 15K now. Problems I have had are rattle in door, rattle in dash, rear seat latch rattles, and creaks and groans in the rear suspension in cool-cold weather. And the automatic overdrive lockout works only intermittently. All constant irritations, but no major problems. I would say it is about the same reliability/build quality as my college son's '98 escort.

    Gas mileage is about average for this type of vehicle, acceleration a little above average, but the auto transmission is a little clunky. Comfort and highway quietness better than the escort. Radio controls maddeningly small, but maybe they have improved with later models. I would say you should want a purchase price significantly below invoice as depreciation is an issue.
  • lw2226lw2226 Posts: 1
    I am thinking of purchasing a 2002 Esteem 4 door Sedan GLX with 4,000 miles asking price 10,000 any advice welcome
  • I currently have a 2001 Esteem wagon GLX with the 1.8 l. engine and 55,000km. The car has had only one flaw that the dealership still hasn't been able to fix after 7 visits. Last September 2001 when the weather got cold (frost on the ground), the car started up very rough but quickly went back to normal. A few days later the check engine light came on. The dealer ran the diagnostic and said the oxygen sensor had failed. They replaced that and a week later the light came on again. Then they started checking everything from the fuel cap for air leakage to gaps in the fuel system. Every few weeks after trying something new and re-setting the light, the check engine indicator would turn back on. At the end of August 2002, someone from the head office came out and did something that seemed to have fixed it (or so I thought). After a couple of months of no problems, the frost came and so the the really rough start up. Just like last time, 2 days later the check engine light has returned.

    Has anyone else experienced this? I've searched the web and found a couple of other people who had the same complaint but no could explain the cause.

    Otherwise, the car performs as well as a car in this price should. Nothing to write home about but gets me from A to B
  • I bought a used Esteem , a 1998 with the smaller engine and the only option was Air Conditioning. My wife and I are very happy with the car. I can tell you that many times after a major purchase I get that felling that I bought the wrong thing or paid too much for whatever... But not this time! We love this car! It has 100,000 KM and you would think it was new. It looks great and drives very nicely.
    All the good adjectives describe the look and FEEL of this little car. It is big inside and rides like a bigger car yet is small outside and is economical to run. All this and with the manual shift and nimble steering it feels sporty too if you are so inclined to push it.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    and congrats on your recent purchase! I'm sure other owners passing through here will appreciate your notes. We look forward to hearing more about your Suzuki Esteem experience.... Happy motoring! ;-)


    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host

  • I bought my 1.6 1999 gl a/c automatic wagon new, now it has 78000 miles, with a/c on all the time 30 ml/gl average (a/s on and air recicling all the time is my setting). The things I took the car back to fix are: Steering wheel misaligned, rear defroster had 2 lins inop, (they changed the rear window ) the leuver (left side n center console ) always loose when cold (all fixed the first month). I had the timing belt replaced at 66,000 miles and ask the dealer to check it for any problems, since i have the extended warranty to 75,000 miles. No problems Found by them, No problems encountered by me. no break downs.
    The brake pads replaced every 30+K miles. The transmision is automatic, but I like to use the OD off switch to shift down and the shifter to 2nd and to 1st It works as an stick shift for me ( this is my first automatic, always had stick shifter) I like it. Suzuki promised a reliable car on its brochure nothing else, and they have deliver so far....
  • yes I have a similar problem with my rear window. About half of the window's defroster doesn't work. But I'm living with it right now. I don't suppose anyone would know how to fix it?
  • Hi! I'm hoping other owners can help me. I have a 2000 GLX+. If you have the same, I'm wondering what kind of mileage you're getting. I feel my mileage is poor, but the dealer says they can't find anything wrong and they aren't too interested in investigating further. My warranty is up in a few months, so I'm looking for as much info as I can gather! My city mileage is ranging from 17-21mpg and my freeway mileage is 24-26mpg usually, with no passengers and the A/C off. Nowhere near the sticker estimates of 26-33! Thanks for any info you can provide!
  • pebrupebru Posts: 10
    In April 2002, I bought a 1998 Esteem GLX with the 1.6 liter engine and automatic transmission. The engine seemed to be running fine until we got colder weather. I heard a knocking sound which varied with the engine speed when the engine was cold and under load, i.e. I could not hear this sound when idling or when the engine has reached normal operating temperature.

    A service technician at the dealership took only a few seconds of driving the car with a cold engine and advised me that the noise is piston slap; apparently a common problem with this vehicle. He suggested that the engine should last for quite a while without doing any work on it provided I let the engine warm up a little on cold mornings and that I do not put the engine under full load until it has reached its normal operating temperature.

    Has anybody else experienced this problem? What have you done about it?
  • joelijoeli Posts: 1
    Hi there,
    I am in the market for a used wagon.
    I am debating between a 1999/2000 1.8L Esteem
    or 1999 Escort wagon.

    I would be grateful for comments from people who owned both.


    Joeli Vancouver BC Canada
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    I just posted a response to your question in your newly created Suzuki Esteem vs Ford Escort wagons discussion. Others here can also post their responses there. Happy shopping!

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • Siriuslite31:
    I have a 1999-2000 Baleno S/W, and I had only one similar problem. While driving, the car would idle extremely rough at times, and after about two weeks the problem got bigger. After idling rough for about 15-20 seconds the Check Engine light comes on and suddenly the car works well until the light comes off and I would get a slight rough idle again. The car eventually started to stall (shut off). I checked a few local technicians and no one could have fixed it.
    However I met someone with the same model car and when I explained the problem to him he said it was the CamShaft Position Sensor going Bad. I paid about US$140 for one and installed myself. I never had any major problems with the car again.

  • Anyone,
    I am looking for a 1999-2000 Suzuki Esteem S/W 1.6L G16B Service Repair Manual.
    If anyone knows where I could buy one (new or used) please email me at

  • I have driven an esteem since 1996 and put over 150.000 miles on the car. It has been a good car for very little money. As long as you do not expect more from it than what it is you will like the car. Mine is basic transportation. It starts and goes every time and gets you from a to b with very little gas used. as for problems. over the years I have come to believe that the brake disks are not a good,be it the small size of the disk or for what ever reason they warp easily. As for check engine lights mine has come on twice because of the gas cap. seems if it isn't tight enough it causes the system to react. Rough idle has happened because of a bad distributor cap, 7 dollars to fix, and I have had one of the headlights to overheat and melt the plug. The shop blamed the light bulb for the meltdown. I have also just started to hear the rear struts rattle a bit. I have the 1.6 engine and it has started the piston slap on ice cold mornings as others have talked about. I can not complain after 150000 miles. Other than that not much in the way of problems. a small thing to keep your Suzuki's windows going is to spray silicone lube on the window seals to keep the window rolling up and down freely.
  • I have a 2000 sedan and it runs very good. The check engine light came on and when I had it checked it said bad emissions leak. I have taken it to the shop and they replaced the gas cap but it still came on. Has anyone had a similar problem?
  • mrdmrd Posts: 3
    I have a 1998 suzuki esteem with a 1.6 engine with 146,000 miles, check engine light came on , car started bogging, lost power on acceleration especially going up hill. Feels like its choking when you give it gas, do you think this is the O2 sensor? If anyone could help we'd appreciate it. TIA
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Sounds like either a bad EGR valve or a clogged catalytic converter. See if there is a healthy amount of air coming out of the exhaust pipe, especially when the engine is revved. If not, the converter is plugged up and causing the sudden loss of engine power. The O2 sensor itself would not cause loss of power. It usually just causes bad gas mileage or a slightly rough running engine.
  • mrdmrd Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info. So far i tryed replacing the p.c.v valve and the gas filter , and it still stumbles on acceleration. I also smell a rotten egg odor witch very well could be the catalytic converter. I'll run your test and get back to you , As always i'm troubleshooting the cheaper things first trying not to get deep out of pocket on this one. Thanks again.
  • jtoozejtooze Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Esteem Sedan with 180,000 kms and just this morning the Check Engine light cam on. The car is running super though, how concerned should I be and what are the most common ailment for this condition?
  • bluedog1bluedog1 Posts: 1
    After much research (including reading all of the postings on this forum....thank you to everyone) we just purchased a 2000 Esteem GL Wagon with 148,000 km. The car looked and sounded great when we picked it up but in less than 24 hours the dreaded "Check Engine" light went on and has stayed on. I am planning to head back to the dealer but it sounds like this is a problem many people have that there is no easy solution to. I even overheard a salesman talking to someone on the phone at the dealership telling them to make sure their gas cap was tightened I know what they were talking about. The car sounds fine but it is a bit unnerving to be driving around with the "Check engine" warning staring you in the face. Adding to the mystery is that the car passed a legally required emmissions test with flying colours prior to our taking delivery, so it would seem like the sensors related to the emissions system are OK. Any help or hints would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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