1999 Suzuki Esteem Review & Ratings | Automotive.com

24 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 1999 Suzuki Esteem Review & Ratings | Automotive.com

1999 Suzuki Esteem Review

Falls short of the competition.

Reviewed by Automotive on 8/2/1999


The 1999 Suzuki Esteem serves as a compact car manufactured by Suzuki since 1995. It sells as the Cultus in Japan, but it replaces the Cultus in the North American market as Suzuki’s compact sedan.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan, five-door station wagon

Engines: 1.6-liter I-4, 1.8-liter I-4

Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual

Models: Suzuki Esteem GL, Suzuki Esteem GLX

What’s New

The 1999 Suzuki Esteem gets a redesign, with a restyled front end that includes multi-reflector headlights and a rounder grille. The body has also been smoothened, making it clearly distinguishable from previous models.

The interior of the car receives some changes as well, and a Clarion AM/FM radio and cassette player provide an option for both models. The base GL model in particular gets new 14-inch wheels that previously came standard on the top-end GLX model. This year also marks the introduction of a new 1.8-liter straight-four engine.


The front-drive 1999 Suzuki Esteem has been modified for a smoother and sleeker exterior. Nevertheless, the car maintains the same dimensions as before. The sedan sits on a wheelbase of 97.6 inches, which stretches around four inches longer than a Swift.

It reaches an overall length of 165.2 inches, making it about 16 inches longer than the Swift.

The 1999 Suzuki Esteem comes in a base GL, a midrange GLX, and a top-end GLX version with anti-lock brakes and cruise control. It also sells as a station wagon or sedan.


The 1999 Suzuki Esteem offers a conventional and modest interior. Occupants enjoy plenty of headroom in the front seats, but it reduces drastically in the rear. The padding for the rear bench feels hard as well, and the narrow doors at the rear prove difficult to enter and exit.

The cargo space offered by the Esteem looks surprisingly large thanks to the flat floor that extends forward. However, the usability of the trunk gets reduced due to the limited opening of the trunk lid.

Performance Handling

The 1999 Suzuki Esteem base model comes fitted with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 95 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. This engine combines with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission. The Esteem also offers the optional 1.8-liter, dual-overhead cam, four-cylinder engine that delivers 122 horsepower and 117 lb-ft of torque.

The GL model offers both manual and automatic transmission options, but the top-end GLX model only uses an automatic transmission. Both engines offer enough performance to keep the Esteem going around the city. However, it fails to keep up with fast highway traffic.

Moreover, the ride quality of the 1999 Suzuki Esteem seems little disappointing. The short wheelbase causes the car to pitch on concrete expressways. The suspension fails to absorb most bumps, so even slightly rough pavements cause some disturbance in the car.

Despite the negative aspects of the 1999 Suzuki Esteem, it includes a number of positives. The Esteem sedan feels very maneuverable and nimble, making it perfect for the city commuter. The brakes also have adequate power to perform their job, but rear-wheel lockup is clearly present in models with the anti-lock brakes.

Even though the 1999 Suzuki Esteem is smaller than the Swift hatchback, its body panels feel tinny. The noise levels in the car remain low, but a lot of tire thumping and road noise filters inside the Esteem.


There is no data available on government crash tests conducted on the 1999 Suzuki Esteem.

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