Suzuki Samurai

The Suzuki Samurai is an upgraded version of the SJ413, which is part of the Suzuki Jimny vehicle class. The Jimny models went into production in 1968 and are still made by Suzuki today.

More on the Suzuki Samurai
Suzuki Samurai Origins

The Suzuki Motor Company first entered the automobile market in the late 1930s, when it introduced its own line of prototype vehicles. The company took off, and by 1954, Suzuki was producing thousands of motorized bicycles. One year later, they premiered their very first automobile: a front-wheel-drive lightweight Suzuki Suzulight.

Today, Suzuki specializes in 4x4 vehicles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and even motorized wheelchairs. It is currently Japan’s fourth largest automotive manufacturer behind such industry giants as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.

In 1981, Suzuki released the Samurai within the U.S. The Samurai is compact, Jeep-type vehicle with two doors and seating for two. It’s available with either a removable ragtop or a hard cover. Samurai models had a similar body style to preceding models and were built on either a front-engine rear-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive layout. All Jimnys—including the Samurai—are categorized as sport utility vehicles (SUVs), although they are much smaller than even most compact SUVs. In 1995, the Samurai was replaced by the Suzuki Sidekick, which was then discontinued in 1998.

About the Suzuki Samurai

The Suzuki Samurai is known for the outstanding off-road performance of its four-wheel drive version, despite its small size. In 2007, a slightly modified Samurai (an older model) broke the world record for the highest altitude obtained by a four-wheel vehicle (6,688 meters) when Gonzalo Bravo and Eduardo Canales drove their Samurai up Ojos del Salado nearly 200 meters past the old record set by Jeep. The Samurai is also known for affordability and fun-to-drive dimensions, especially the convertible models. They are less admired for their very limited space. The ragtop models are also quite noisy, especially on highway driving. Despite the Samurai’s off-road capabilities, many drivers found it less capable on the road. Most models rated well under 100-hp when equipped with a 1.3-liter, 63-hp four-cylinder. The light weight made up for the lack of raw power on the road, but merging required a lot of gas.

Suzuki Samurai Features

The Suzuki Samurai is available in only one trim, the JL Soft Top two-door, two-seat 4x4. It comes with a 66-hp, 1.3-liter I4 engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission with overdrive. Fuel economy is rated at 28/29 mpg city/highway. In 2012, Kelley Blue Book’s suggested retail was $1,975 MSRP. In 1995, the Samurai retailed for $9,889 MSRP.

The 1995 Samurai has part-time, four-wheel drive; manual locking hubs; a front anti-roll bar; front disc brakes; and rear drum brakes. The body frame is tiny, just over five feet in length and height. All models come with skid plates and front and rear mud flaps. Comfort features are just the basics, including manual mirrors, two-way manual driver and passenger seats, and vinyl and carpet for the inside trim. 1995 was the Suzuki Samurai’s last model year, after which it was replaced by the Sidekick.

Suzuki Samurai Evolution

Part of the Jimny lineup, which is still in production today, the Suzuki Samurai only spanned for a short time during a single generation. From 1981 through 1995, not much changed outside of stylistic modifications and a slight boost in horsepower over its brief lifetime.

Select a Suzuki Samurai Year

1995 Suzuki Samurai

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Suzuki Samurai has remained popular among four-wheel-drive enthusiasts for its reliability and extreme off road capabilities.