2000 Esteem New Car Test Drive
For most carmakers, 1.8-liter engines mark the bottom end of the model line. But at Suzuki, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers the largest sedan the company builds. Although it sells the V6-powered Grand Vitara sport-utility, the 2000 Esteem is as big a car as we get from Suzuki.
That said, the Esteem meets the standards of the subcompact class in size and economy. It is offered as both a sedan and wagon. Both are front-drive, four-door, five-passenger cars. The wagon provides substantial cargo-hauling potential, carrying up to 24 cubic feet of cargo, at a base price less than $14,000. You're not getting a Mercedes wagon, in either size or features, but you're paying about one-third of a Mercedes wagon price.
The base sedan and wagon are designated GL. The GL sedan is powered by a single overhead cam 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine ($12,399) or the new 1.8-liter double overhead cam four ($12,899). The 1.6 has a 2-mpg edge in EPA testing, but the 1.8 is rated at a healthy 122 horsepower compared to the 1.6-liter's relatively measly 95 horsepower. The GL wagon ($13,399) comes only with the 1.8-liter engine.
The GLX comes with larger tires and alloy wheels, a tachometer, passenger vanity mirror, front seatback pockets and a host of power features. The GLX sedan lists at $13,899. The wagon adds a roof-mounted rear spoiler to help keep the rear glass clear of rain and snow, and lists at $14,399. A sport package, including a rear spoiler, fog lamps and any color as long as it's black, is available on the GLX sedan ($14,499).
Esteem GLX+ adds four-wheel ABS, cruise control and an automatic transmission at $15,699 for the sedan. On top of all that, the GLX+ wagon includes a sunroof and retails at $16,399.
GL and GLX models are available with the 4-speed automatic (instead of the standard 5-speed manual) for an additional $1000.