Suzuki’s Samurai and Sidekick are among those most anomalous of vehicles—cheap when new, but now commanding premium pricing in their advanced age. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Sidekick is the less-common four-door. Let’s see if it’s priced more like new than old.
Last Friday we asked the bold automotive question “when is the answer ever not Miata?” As it turns out, the apparent response is when it’s a $20,000 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata. That simply didn’t jive with the vast majority of you, and we saw the car fall in a sizable 83% No Dice loss.
Mazda’s perennial sports car still has its fans, even if the turbo edition we looked at on Friday had trouble finding support. Mazda is one of the smallest of the major Japanese car makers doing business here in the States but seems to be able to stay afloat even with modest sales and without a full line of high-profit crossovers and SUVs.
At one point in time, it seemed that the Japanese carmakers could do no wrong. From the late ‘60s well into the ‘90s, their products made American cars look shoddy in comparison, and those from Europe seem pretentious and over-priced. But not every carmaker found success here in the States, and these days makes like Daihatsu, Isuzu, and Suzuki are but blips on the automotive historical record. Daihatsu is gone-gone, while Isuzu still sells medium-duty commercial trucks here, and Suzuki continues to ply their two-wheel wares.
You still find evidence of all three makes in the used car market, even though age and affliction have seriously depleted their already meager numbers. That makes for slim pickings for the marques’ adherents, and with their supply constrained and demand hanging steady, Suzuki’s trucks have seemingly gained premium price status.
This 1994 Suzuki Sidekick JLX looks to be a decent example of one of the more rare editions of the model—the four-door. These were sold under various brands and with both small four-cylinder and smallish six-cylinder power. This one has the 95 horsepower 1.6-litre four under its hood. The car is said to rock a whopping 220K on the chassis, but that 16-valve four was rebuilt 65K ago so it’s still pretty fresh.
Behind the modest mouse of an engine are a five-speed stick and manually-engaged 4WD system. That feeds an independent front/live axle rear suspension which should make for a solid foul-weather friend. Most everything is said to work on the truck with the notable exception being the horn. That means you’ll have to express your displeasure with other drivers the old fashioned way, by using your middle finger.
The bodywork appears decent, albeit with a few dings here and there. You’ll also note areas of faded paint and plastic although a good color sanding may spiff that up. The tires look shiny in the pictures, which could indicate they are fairly new, or that the seller has hit them with some VRP. The chrome wheels underneath seem to show no degradation despite the miles.
The interior has been less successful in staving off the years. The door cards are coming apart and there’s some very minor staining on the cloth seats. Those seem to be the only noticeable issues, however, and like George Clooney and Marisa Tomei, it otherwise looks to be in surprisingly good shape for its age.
The seller claims to be the third owner and to have used the truck lightly in the past couple of years. A list of minor issues is offered in the ad in the name of “transparency purposes” and in consideration that the car is over 25 years old. Those include a chip in the windscreen, a weird noise in the turn signal on left turns, and a sticky power window on the passenger side.
If the seller really was interested in transparency, they should have listed the truck’s real mileage in the Craigslist ad fast facts and not the 65K since the engine rebuild. That’s not really all that transparent. We won’t ding them too much for that lapse since the ad is otherwise pretty comprehensive, and the truck itself looks reasonably presented for what it is.
As I noted at the outset, the Sidekick and Samurai see unusually high demand on the used car market. That has driven prices up over the years.
This being the four-door it’s one of the less desirable models to many, but has charms all its own owing to its more versatile body design. The asking price is $3,500, and that does place it at the low end of the Sidekick spectrum. The question of the moment, however, is whether or not that’s low enough considering this truck’s miles and condition.
What do you think, is this Sidekick worth that $3,500 asking? Or, for that much would you expect it to be more of a main-player?
Portland, OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to Danny R. for the hookup!
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