Compact SUV; Built in Japan
  • 2-door convertible
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,100 – $2,500*

1996 Suzuki X-90

1997 Suzuki X-90

1997 Suzuki X-90

1998 Suzuki X-90

1996 Suzuki X-90

  • Entry/exit
  • Acceleration
  • Cargo room
  • Noise
  • Ride

Being unique does not necessarily translate to being popular–or desirable. Whether intended as a sport-utility or a car, the X-90 is not a good value, especially when compared to the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, or Jeep Wrangler. For a modestly priced sporty small car, consider something like the Dodge/Plymouth Neon or Chevrolet Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire.


Suzuki took a new path for 1996, aiming its distinctive 2-passenger X-90 squarely at younger buyers. Blending the attributes of a high-riding sport-utility vehicle with a sporty subcompact coupe, the X-90 was actually a convertible SUV. Suzuki began with the chassis and mechanical features of its 2-door Sidekick, tossing out the back seat and blending in new styling. Rear-drive and 4-wheel-drive models went on sale.

Standard equipment included twin bucket seats, dual airbags, 4-wheel antilock brakes, daytime running light, and a rear defogger. Also standard were power windows and locks, tinted glass, power steering, and a tachometer. A separate trunk was part of the design. Standard removable T-top roof panels allowed open-air motoring, and also provided more protection from thieves than a conventional convertible top.

Borrowed from Suzuki’s Sidekick, a 95-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine drove a 5-speed manual transmission. A 4-speed automatic transmission was optional in the 4-wheel-drive X-90.

The 4WD model added such extras as cruise control, a security alarm, and a 4-speaker stereo with cassette player. The alarm and cassette unit could be dealer installed in 2WD models. Dealers also could install air conditioning and a CD player.

Yearly Updates

1997 X-90
Little change was evident for Suzuki’s 2-seat SUV in its second season, but the 4-speed automatic transmission now was optional in the 2WD X-90 as well as the 4×4.
1998 X-90
Suzuki’s open 2-passenger SUV had failed to catch hold in the sales race, so it was destined to disappear after three seasons. No change was evident in its final outing.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

The X-90’s 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine produced 95 horsepower and drove a 5-speed manual transmission. A 4-speed automatic transmission was optional only in 4-wheel-drive models.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 95
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 98
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Basically, the strange-looking X-90 feels like a tall, crude sports car from the 1960s–one that could use a semester or two of finishing school to gain some refinement. At highway speeds, occupants in the X-90 are bombarded by excessive engine noise, road rumble, and wind howl. The engine itself produces a loud, coarse growl when accelerating. Wind noise grows intrusive around the removable roof panels at speeds beyond 35 mph.

You can expect a lively ride–but not in the fun-filled sense. There’s a lot of bouncing and pitching on the highway, coupled with stiff, jarring reactions to bumpy pavement. Because it’s tall and lightweight, too, the X-90 is easily buffeted by crosswinds. Not really an SUV, the X-90 is not meant for even gentle off-road driving, despite 4WD availability.

Acceleration and passing power are adequate with manual shift, though you’ll often have to floor the gas pedal to achieve decent results. And when you do, that action generates considerable noise and vibration. The pace slows considerably in an X-90 with automatic, but noise levels are just as unpleasant. We averaged 23.5 mpg in a 4WD model with 5-speed.

Head and leg room are adequate for 6-footers. Unlike many 4WD vehicles, entry/exit is easy, with almost no step-up into the interior. Visibility to the front and sides is good, but wide rear pillars create large obstructions over both shoulders.

Climate controls are simple and well-marked. Stereo controls are tiny, and nearly impossible to use in the dark. Storage space behind the seats is minimal, and doors are devoid of map pockets. The trunk is narrow and not particularly deep, and the spare tire eats up some of the potential luggage space.


Model Tested: 1997 Suzuki X-90

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 2
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 1
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 1


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 2

Total: 25


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
86.6 146.1 66.7 60.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.4 11.1 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
34.2 41.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: If the truck is driven on dry roads with the locking hubs (automatic or manual), the transfer-shift lever will get stuck severely damaging the transfer case mechanism. (1996-98)
Vehicle noise
Description: The front-wheel spindles can become noisy in cold weather necessitating replacement of the spindles. (1996-98)
Convertible top
Description: The T-top mechanism jams or doesn’t operate requiring replacement of the locking mechanism. (1996-98)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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