Suzuki X-90

Many of the world’s famous automakers started out in industry making something besides cars. Some started out as carriage and buggy manufacturers, while others got its start in other heavy industrial occupations. Suzuki started out as one of the most successful spinning loom manufacturers in Japan. When the company’s executives decided to branch out in a different direction, the direction it chose was to make small, reliable motorcycles for the average Japanese consumer. Motorcycles fit better in the limited space of the cities and offered amazing fuel economy. After producing a wide variety of motorcycles, winning awards, and races, Suzuki changed things up again and started designing other vehicles.

More on the Suzuki X-90
Suzuki X-90 Origins

Towards the end of 1962 Suzuki introduced itself to the American car buyer with its U.S. Suzuki Motor Corporation division. The goal was to offer affordable, reliable vehicles to the public. In the beginning, Suzuki started with its lines of motocross cycles and motorcycles. It didn’t take the company long to start to offer its other available vehicle series as well.

Since its beginning in the U.S., Suzuki has offered the car and motorcycle buyer a variety of options. The X-90 was something of an oddball, however, as it was based on Suzuki's popular Sidekick model, yet lacked the practicality, off-road prowess, and much of the livability of its stablemate. It was meant to be a sort of sports car off-road coupe, but it wasn't very good at any of those missions.

About the Suzuki X-90

The Suzuki X-90 was first introduced in 1996. The fact remains that this vehicle looks unlike most SUVs of its class or any other class for that matter. The most defining trait of this vehicle is its incredibly unique body style. At least, the X-90 is easy to find in parking lots. With its boxy, yet curvy appearance, and small body design, the X-90 really doesn’t fit in with the normal expectations for a SUV. The body encompasses the elements of a sport utility vehicle and convertible with some features of a coupe just for fun.

Most vehicles are designed with a specific target market in mind and the Suzuki X-90 is no exception. This incredibly unique vehicle was designed and marketed for professional singles or couples with access to disposable income and no need for extra space for children or other passengers. It featured cool, hip features during its run from 1996 to 1998 made quite an impression—an impression of "What were they thinking?" Without a doubt, the X-90 appealed to young people who wanted to drive a different car and make a splash. Unfortunately, young people are the last ones you look to for a car designed for people with disposable income.

Suzuki X-90 Features

The 1998 model year was the last one for the Suzuki X-90. Following that year, Suzuki chose to retire the unique SUV in favor of its other designs. There were little to no changes made to the X-90 from the previous models. The X-90 still featured its unique body style and offered limited options and a bit of letdown in terms of power, especially for a vehicle boasting so many sport extras.

Under the hood, the X-90 offered a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 95 horsepower. Suzuki paired this small engine with a five-speed manual transmission, though it could be ordered with an optional automatic version if desired. The powertrain doesn’t impress, though it does get the job done as far as moving the vehicle from one point to another. Four-wheel drive is offered on all models and may help it do moderately well in areas where climate and terrain are an issue.

The 1998 X-90 offers some nice standard features as well. These SUVs were equipped with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, dual airbags, and daytime running lights. Suzuki also provided power steering, alloy wheels, and power locks and windows on all models of the X-90.

Suzuki X-90 Evolution

Suzuki only offered the X-90 series from 1996 to 1998 and as such, there isn’t much difference in the various models. The 1998 model was released with no changes from the previous year. The pilot edition, released for the 1996 model year, did have some features and options later models did not. This particular SUV was the original with its unusual body style. This model featured two seats, a T-top roof, and 8.4 cubic feet in its conventional trunk. The body appeared snub nosed and a bit square with curves on the flanks and sides. The targeted demographic for the vehicle loved the unique look—but didn't have the disposable income for a vehicle with little purpose or practicality.

In terms of the X-90’s powertrain, it really wasn’t any different than the 1998 model. The SUV was released with the same 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, and transmission choices. While effective, the powertrain didn’t offer any kind of real excitement and certainly wasn’t a contender for winning any races.

While the X-90 looks interesting and has some positive elements, many industry experts feel with its limited cabin seating and lackluster power used car buyers may be better served by one of the larger, and still economical, options, including Suzuki’s own Sidekick.

Select a Suzuki X-90 Year

1998 Suzuki X-90

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 1998 Suzuki X90 is the ultimate miniature sports car.

1997 Suzuki X-90

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Suzuki X-90 debuted as a replacement for the now-defunct Suzuki Samurai.

1996 Suzuki X-90

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 1996 Suzuki X-90 is based off the Sidekick design with a much more stylish variant of the tiny sport utility vehicle (SUV).