Suzuki Esteem

The Suzuki Esteem was known for its position in Suzuki’s lineup in the subcompact sedan class. This car was popular with families, business people, and anyone looking for a relatively affordable car without a lot of frills. Suzuki offered the model from 1995 to 2002.

More on the Suzuki Esteem
Suzuki Esteem Origins

Like so many of the other well-known carmakers, the history of Suzuki starts out within other industrial occupations. The Suzuki company started out making spinning looms; it wasn’t long before the company decided to branch out into different directions. The first foray Suzuki made into the automotive world led to the production of motorcycles. Motorcycles were often easier to sell and use in the company’s native Japan, and made an instant hit in the local markets. From there, the designers and engineers began to focus on larger vehicles, including cars, vans, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

By the end of 1962, with several well-known motorcycle designs, car races, and awards under its belt, Suzuki made the move to the U.S. with its U.S. Suzuki Motor Corporation division. The company began to make and sell its small, compact car line to the U.S. markets. For the most part, these vehicles gained popularity due to their affordable pricing and reliable performance.

Suzuki is often named among the biggest companies in automotive design and manufacturing in Japan and around the world. It comes in fourth to Nissan, Honda, and Toyota in terms of Japanese automakers. The company continues to offer a variety of vehicles to the world’s markets, including the Esteem.

About the Suzuki Esteem

A few factors gain the Esteem notice in the U.S., including its reputation for good fuel economy. With the rising fuel costs, and a rising interest in conservation, this feature certainly added to the Esteem’s popularity. In addition to its good fuel economy, this car also offered easy maneuverability and handling.

Like any car model, the Suzuki Esteem had some drawbacks. Many industry leaders and testing facilities complained of the Esteem’s limited rear visibility, citing this feature as a safety hazard. The noise level in the cabin rose above the desired level as well. Despite the car’s good handling and maneuverability in test drives, it quickly became known for its rather bumpy and uncomfortable ride. While the car ddid have its strong points, industry experts felt that these drawbacks may have led to the Esteem’s early retirement.

Suzuki Esteem Features

The 2002 model year was the last year Suzuki chose to release the Esteem. This model doesn’t vary a great deal from the previous model years. The biggest changes made to the 2002 Esteem involved its improved interior upholstery and the addition of release handle on the inside of the trunk as a new safety feature. The 2002 Esteem had a bit of trouble catching on with buyers, as the economy sedan class in general suffered rather poor sales.

Like the previous model options, the 2002 Suzuki Esteem suffered from problems with noise control and a bumpy ride. Suzuki offered the Esteem with a 1.8-liter, DOHC four-cylinder motor. The engine caused some of the excess noise. While it remained comparable to other cars engines in its class, this particular motor simply created more noise than similar engines.

The interior of these cars offered comfort and an attractive design. It’s important to note the controls and displays of the Esteem were easy to see and read, and engage. The car offered other interior amenities as well. Some models came equipped with a moonroof, and air-conditioning came standard on most models.

Suzuki Esteem Evolution

The Suzuki Esteem was offered by the Japanese carmaker from 1995 to 2002. This particular model never enjoyed popularity and faced a great deal of competition from companies such as Ford and Chevrolet in the subcompact sedan market. Most industry experts felt that while the Esteem was relatively affordable, the price was too high for the limited features and performance offered by the series.

The majority of the Esteem models available in the U.S. came equipped with a 1.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine capable of about 98 hp. Suzuki paired this engine with a standard five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic system, optionally. The Esteem had a rather unique four-wheel suspension designed to absorb the worst bumps in the road.

The previous models of the Esteem didn't offer a lot of room for cargo or passengers. Suzuki introduced its Esteem wagon in the 1998 model year as an alternative to the sedan body style; it featured the same powertrain with a more spacious cargo area for the money.

Overall, most auto experts feel the Esteem costs too much for its limited options and features. Finding a used model can often present a challenge, since it didn’t sell well in the U.S.

Select a Suzuki Esteem Year

2002 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan, Wagon

The 2002 Suzuki Esteem is the only remaining passenger car in Suzuki's line up since the Swift has been dropped.

2001 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan, Wagon

2000 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan, Wagon

The 2000 Suzuki Esteem provides an elegantly designed but budget-friendly subcompact in sedan and wagon forms.

1999 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan, Wagon

The 1999 Suzuki Esteem serves as a compact car manufactured by Suzuki since 1995.

1998 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan, Wagon

1997 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan

The Suzuki Esteem made its debut in 1995, but after two years on the road, it is still struggling to gain a foothold in the market.

1996 Suzuki Esteem

Compact, Sedan

The 1996 Suzuki Esteem is a compact car that was introduced as the Cultus Crescent in Japan in 1995.