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1997 Suzuki X-90 REVIEW logo 4/5/2017

Con: Doesn't look like ANYTHING else on the road.

Pro: Doesn't look like everthing else on the road.

What’s New: No changes to Suzuki's alternative to AWD vehicles.

Review: Suzuki's cool new X-90 sport-ute takes the place of the now defunct Samurai in the maker's lineup. Larger, more powerful, and more sophisticated than the Samurai ever dreamed of being, the X-90 is aimed squarely at young singles with disposable income and no responsibilities.

The X-90 is an amalgam of two-seater sports coupe, convertible and four-wheel drive sport utility. The two-seat cockpit sits beneath a T-top roof, just forward of an 8.4 cubic foot conventional trunk, and on top of a two- or four-wheel drive chassis. Body on frame construction is motivated by a 95-horsepower four-cylinder engine. An automatic transmission is available in place of the standard five-speed manual gear changer.

The only part of this formula that seems wrong is the 1.6-liter engine. Its power output seems to be a bit on the meager side for a vehicle with such sporting pretensions. The Sidekick Sport's 120-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine should at least be an option on the heavier four-wheel drive model.

Dual airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes and daytime running lights are standard. All X-90's come equipped with power windows and locks, power steering, alloy wheels, and intermittent wipers. Order four-wheel drive and you'll get cruise control, a security alarm and an Alpine stereo.

Suzuki's taking a chance here, creating a new niche in the SUV market. We think that the X-90 will find limited success in climates and terrains where its four-wheel drive will have some relevancy, and in places where style-conscious buyers don't find what they want in the slightly more versatile Geo Tracker, Jeep Wrangler, and Suzuki's own Sidekick convertible. The X-90's T-top roof is easier to operate than the soft tops of any of those vehicles, but this new Suzuki won't carry more than two people; the others will carry four. Us? We'd rather have a used two-year old Miata for the same price, and forget about traversing tough mountain trails in favor of twisty two-lane highways.


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