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2002 Suzuki Vitara

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2002 Suzuki Vitara Review

An affordable option for anyone looking for a compact SUV.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 Suzuki Vitara is the smaller sibling to the Grand Vitara. It is a compact sport utility vehicle available as a two-door convertible or as a four-door hardtop. It is equipped with a four-cylinder engine rather than the Grand's V-6. The Vitara is similar to the Chevrolet Tracker.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV, convertible SUV
Engines: 2.0-liter I-4
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Suzuki Vitara JLS, Suzuki Vitara JLX

What's New

The 2002 Suzuki Vitara discontinued its base-level JS and JX for the 2002 model year. It's now available as the fully-equipped JLS and JLX in both its two-door and four-door body styles. The engine has been upped to the two-liter four-cylinder giving it a bit more power. It's now outfitted with the LATCH child seat system, a new fender-mounted antenna, newly-styled headrests, and new exterior colors. Suzuki has also started offering 24-hour emergency roadside assistance for the length of the vehicle's warranty in an effort to increase customer satisfaction.


The 2002 Suzuki Vitara is an attractive little SUV. The two-door has a manually folding canvas top that can be removed from over the rear seats to give a convertible effect. It measures 163 inches long and sits atop a 97.6-inch wheelbase. The four-door version is 11 inches longer in overall length and wheelbase. The two-door version is nearly as wide and tall as the four-door Vitara. The spare tire on both models is mounted on the tailgate, which oddly opens to the right. It's based on a truck chassis and has separate body-on-frame construction. It is available in Bright White, Indigo Blue Metallic, Ivy Green Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic, Satin Black, and Victory Red.


The 2002 Suzuki Vitara two-door convertible model seats four while the four-door model can accommodate five occupants. Unfortunately, rear legroom is lacking in both body styles. The cargo space behind the rear seat can be expanded to almost 45 cubic feet by folding the split rear seat down. The convertible two-door model has 11 fewer cubic feet of storage.

The 2001 Suzuki Vitara is nicely equipped with and AM/FM stereo with CD, cruise control, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, air-conditioning, and remote keyless entry. The interior coloring is a neutral gray. Occupants will find front reading lights and dual vanity mirrors as well as front cup holders and door pockets. There is also front seatback storage, a cargo area light, and a 12-volt front power outlet.

Performance & Handling

Under the hood of the 2002 Suzuki Vitara, consumers will find its more powerful two-liter four-cylinder engine for this model year. It dishes out 127 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of torque. It can be mated with the standard five-speed manual transmission or the optional four-speed automatic. Unlike most small SUVs, the Vitara features full body-on-frame construction. It is available in either two-wheel- or four-wheel-drive configurations. The four-wheel drive has a beneficial low-range transfer case for extreme off-road conditions however; if consumers expect to do much serious off-roading, they may want to consider other options.


The 2002 Suzuki Vitara has ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes with electronic brake force distribution. It is outfitted with the LATCH child safety seat system and has daytime running lights and dusk sensing headlamps. It received four out of five stars in NHTSA crash test ratings for passenger and driver crash tests. It received five stars for side impact rear testing.

EPA Fuel Economy

Suzuki Vitara JLS: 20/24 mpg city/highway
Suzuki Vitara JLX: 20/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Convertible style availability
  • Truck-based body-on-frame design
  • Price

You Won't Like

  • Cramped rear seats
  • Minimal cargo area

Sum Up

An affordable option for anyone looking for a compact SUV.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Tracker
  • Jeep Liberty
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Kia Sportage

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