By on March 8, 2010

All the recent photo-shops and today’s shortened Vista-Coupe made me think of the car that most looks like it can’t have been designed to be the way it actually came out. The longer you stare at the Suzuki X-90, the more bizarre and surreal it becomes. It looks like what Micky and Minny Mouse would drive now days. Well, I’m mighty thankful for the little Suzuki’s existence, because it certainly breaks the monotonous waves of hand-me-down Camrys and Accords parked near the campus. Anyway, I have a thing for eccentric and short cars.

Let’s just say the smaller Japanese manufacturers were trying to find some tiny niches in the SUV market. Isuzu’s Vehicross comes to mind. From the rarity of both of them, it was an exercise in futility. And didn’t Jeep show several two-passenger concepts over the decades? Perhaps they did their market research a little more thoroughly.

Go ahead and laugh; I love this little puppy, and would be happy to give it a home.

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36 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Suzuki X-90...”


  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    Talk about the answer to a question no one asked. I laughed at it when it came out, and I still laugh today. Pointless.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Isn’t this just a Sidekick coupe? So what makes it better than a Sidekick/Tracker with a hardtop?

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    very limited passenger and cargo room, seems pointless, but it is amusing. i’ll give that to ya

  • avatar
    davejay

    If the LeMons guys ever started a spec racing series, it would be SX90s.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    amazing condition. Needs headlight buffing. I see them once in a while all rusty and crapped out.

    Does it not make more sense than a Smart?

    There is a lifted Suzuki in my future.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    @johnny ro

    Twice as useful as a smart and great in a snowstorm. A bit silly looking but they did 26mpg highway in 5speed 4wd versions according to the EPA. (Based on my EPA MPG experience I’d probably get 30mpg.)

  • avatar
    210delray

    Wasn’t it called the X 90, not SX 90?

  • avatar
    forraymond

    It looks like the roof panels are removable. I’d love one of those in convertible form, though. The Miata MX5 is just scary on the Atlanta highways.

  • avatar
    poohbah

    I know a guy at work who drives one every day. He’s about 250 pounds, not sure how he gets in or out of it.

    We had one of these new at the dealership back in the day. If I remember correctly, the tiny trunk holds the spare tire and little else.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Someone in my little city has one. It appears that all they use it for is getting their mountain bike out to the city sponsored trails. (it has a bike rack on the back)

  • avatar
    gslippy

    As a fellow xB owner, I’ll second your point on the ‘eccentric and short cars’. I’ve never known anyone with an X-90, but the one in the pic is a nice example.

  • avatar

    A friend of mine has one. The ride is about the harshest I’ve had, and I’ve been in some really harsh-riding cars! The interiors were very made of substandard materials so I bet the inside of this example does not look as good as the outside.

    I would never own one, but I can see the appeal since they are such… oddballs. It is a shame more carmakers don’t take styling risks like this.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Chuck; how come you always challenge me to prove you wrong? See the interior shot I just added to the post. And frankly, I’ve never seen a Japanese Suzuki with “substandard materials”, but by now, your obvious anti-Japanese bias is now well familiar to me!

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Wow, nice interior. I hope the high school/college this owner goes to or roots for at least has red as part of their color scheme.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Suzukis (the real ones… not the Daewoos) have interiors that are middling at best.

      Good seats… the steering wheels are decent. But the rest of the interior usually goes to hell quickly in the Georgia sun and the overall feel of their models is… tinny.

      That’s not to say they can’t last. I drove a Grand Vitara today that had 272k on it. If you’re willing to live with the feel of cheapness, a Suzuki can be a great buy.

      But they are cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap.

  • avatar

    At one point Red Bull had several of these with a silver & red paint job driving around with a giant 3ft long can of Red Bull on the roof for a viral marketing campaign. When I see one of these rare birds I always think of the Promo Version.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    As goofy as it looks with the roof in place, those look even goofier with the roof panels removed. I don’t know who dreamed up the idea of a t-top two passenger mini-ute with a trunk, but I’m glad they did. Since the US market is deprived of Renaults, Citroens, and Peugeots we miss out on a lot of the really wacky vehicles that the rest of the world gets to rejoice in. Isuzu is no more, and Suzuki is fading into mainstream or rebadged obscurity, and the Koreans have alas given up the ghost of quirky in exchange for cheaper versions of boring Japanese cars. We probably won’t see another wave of really ridiculous vehicles like this until Chinese or Indian manufacturers start to invade the US market.

    Paul –

    Regarding the Jeeps, have you forgotten the almighty Scrambler ?

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    I would love to have one :)

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Long Live the Suzuki MightyBoy! Especially when sold in a country in an era when (and still do) V8 Utilities reigned supreme!
    http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jalopnik.com/images/2006/03/mightyboy.jpg&imgrefurl=http://jalopnik.com/163859/production-geocamino-the-mighty-boy&usg=__80r0gRCrEtAaUDObpsS94LzFjp4=&h=233&w=400&sz=60&hl=en&start=47&sig2=TfOfpeHztcpW-IVPMgkMrw&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=i9sThdQgSDcFSM:&tbnh=72&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsuzuki%2Bmightyboy%2Baustralia%26start%3D36%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-au:IE-SearchBox%26ndsp%3D18%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=DgiWS5ePNI3k7AOO9cHACA

  • avatar
    A is A

    This vehicle is not more unpractical than any other sedan.

    The smallness of this car only makes more evident how badly sedans use the footprint of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      IGB

      No more impractical than any other subcompact 2 seat sedan…that’s probably why they don’t make those. But I get what you mean. We should all drive minivans.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Two Suzuki engineers are sitting in a bar. Somewhere between the third pitcher of beer and the Tequila shooters, one engineer turns to the other engineer and says “You know, I had a dream last night that we built an off-road Miata…”

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I dearly love these. They’re just so bizarre and inappropriate for North American consumption.

    I came within a hairsbreadth of buying one, too, and would have were it not so absurdly impractical. That said, if you need to go offroad, and by offroad I mean places where heavier, larged vehicles would get blocked in or bogged down, this car is tough to beat.

  • avatar
    NN

    Paul,

    thanks for the cc on this true original. I’ve always loved this car. If I didn’t have a wife, or maybe if I had a wife who I didn’t feel the need to explain things to, then I would have one of these, just for the work commute, general amusement, or occasional four-wheeling fun. They are just damn funny, like a sombrero on wheels.

    My little brother had a 1994 4 door Sidekick 5-speed 4×4. Same powertrain and interior as this X-90 (without the leather, which my guess would be the leather in that X90 might be aftermarket). I liked it at first, but man…Steve Lang is right…cheap, cheap, cheap. Between the tin-can thin sheetmetal doors and the 90 horsepower 0-60 in 15 seconds acceleration, you live in fear of other vehicles on the road. And an engine spinning loudly and straining at 4000rpm at 60mph is just not normal in this country. Simply not suitable for a lot of the type of driving Americans do. Just like the Smart car…

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    My wife was once “upgraded” by a car rental company into a Sidekick version of this car. Driving that thing totally terrified her. It felt like it was going to flip on its side at every turn.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’ve always liked these. Yes, it looks like it should be running around Disneyland, but who doesn’t like Disneyland?

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    Complete waste of space , in the same way that the BMW X6 is a complete waste of space.

  • avatar

    The seats look nice.

    That is all.

  • avatar
    bevo

    I love and miss my two-door Sidekick. The X-90 was my first inkling that Suzuki got really lucky with the Samurai and the Sidekick.

  • avatar
    rogertc1

    Every comment here is so clueless.
    I have had a X-90 since 1999. My 96 automatic X-90 is unique and lacking in trunk space. I am 300 pounds and I fit just fine. I have been on 2000 mile trips with it and it does take a pillow under your butt. With the short wheel base it has a choppie ride. It only holds 2 people and perhaps 2 golf bags. It is very well equipt and really draws attention …even after 14 years,,ever seen a Nisson Cube? On the plus side it is great on snowand amazing on ice. The 4WD auto lockouts are old school and you have to stop to shift. Mechanically fantastic and my interior has had been just fine too.
    My daughter has the X-90 now because it is a girl car. A fun little car ahead of it’s time.
    They only imported 7000 to the USA between 1996 and 1997 and that is it. So I doubt if there are that many left any more.

    Just the Facts.
    Roger

  • avatar
    DRC

    In 1998, I traded my gas pig mini van for a 1996 Silver Pearl X90. I had never seen a car like it before and I couldn’t believe all the attention it was getting just on a test drive near the dealership. It was auto transmission w/the 4 wheel drive option and had 46,000 miles on it. LOVED that the t-tops came off and the trunk is roomy (could fit two bodies in there :-)
    I drove the car until May 18, 2006 when an a-hole in a big Suburban zoomed through a stop sign and totaled my car. Didn’t quite total me. It took me 18 months to find another X90 worth buying. It was also a ’96, red, with just 29,000 on it and in very good shape. I put a few thousand into it, changing all the window trim, added body side molding to help prevent door dings, had the A/C fixed, got new t-top shades, and a bunch of other things done. A couple of weeks ago I had body work done and a complete paint job. It looks brand new! It’s great on gas, it handles really well in the snow here in upstate NY and it’s fun to drive!!

  • avatar
    X90Owner

    Glad I cleaned out some of the candy wrappers before you took all those pictures! Yes, this is my car, and although I’m not thrilled to see my license plate all over the place, I appreciate (some) of the comments. Did you take these in Eugene? The tires are larger than the originals and the paint used to be black (I didn’t paint it.) that’s why the interior is red.


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