Home » Florida Man Is Selling Some Toys: 1989 Suzuki Sidekick vs 2016 Polaris Slingshot

Florida Man Is Selling Some Toys: 1989 Suzuki Sidekick vs 2016 Polaris Slingshot

Sbsd 2 20 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Good morning! Today we’re in the Sunshine State, the Land of Awesome Headlines, the Realm of the Hanging Chad, looking at two completely useless toys. Why? Because yesterday‘s low vote and comment count shows me that you all don’t care about boring-ass “normal” cars any more than I do. So screw it; let’s get weird.

But we’d better at least look at the results from the yawn-fest. It was close, almost within the range of sheer probability. Fess up; how many of you just flipped a coin to decide? Or voted for the Subaru because it wasn’t silver? Or voted for the Jetta because it wasn’t a Subaru?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

For me, it’s no contest, and I think I was probably a bit biased from the start in my presentation. I’d take the Jetta any day of the week and twice on Sundays between these two. I don’t mind slow cars if they handle well, and I prefer simple drivetrains. I’ll forego the Subaru’s slight foul weather all-wheel-drive advantage to avoid all the other baggage that comes along with it.

Screenshot From 2024 02 19 16 04 59

All right; enough of that. Let’s check out some sketchy shit from Florida.

ADVERTISEMENT

1989 Suzuki Sidekick – $3,500

00p0p Igf0cbsvsz4 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 1.6 liter overhead cam inline 4, five-speed manual, part-time 4WD

Location: Orlando, FL

Odometer reading: 100,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives great, but head straight to the tire shop

ADVERTISEMENT

Suzuki’s little Jimny mini SUV took America by storm when it was introduced in 1986 as the Samurai. Everybody loved the little Japanese 4×4 – well, everybody except the killjoys at Consumer Reports. The biggest complaint about the Samurai was that it rode and drove like that mining cart that Indiana Jones rode in. Enter the Vitara, sold in the US initially as the Sidekick, with an independent front suspension and coil springs in place of the Samurai’s primitive straight axles and leaf springs.

00l0l Eowfuddsrw4 0ci0t2 1200x900

This suspension arrangement, especially the independent front end, makes lifting the truck more complicated. It can be done, however, and this one has been lifted, a couple inches it looks like. It has also been repainted – badly – and somewhere along the way it lost its rear bumper cover. It also wears what might be the worst tires I have ever seen on a car that’s being sold as drivable. Dry-rot doesn’t even begin to cover it; the tread is coming off in chunks. I’m amazed they’re holding air.

00b0b Lvmprtdlri5 0ci0t2 1200x900

The good news is that the little fuel-injected 1.6 liter Suzuki engine runs great, and sends its power to a five-speed manual gearbox through a brand-new clutch. Whoever did the work was smart and replaced the engine’s rear main seal while they were in there. It’s always a good idea to replace things like that while you have the thing apart, even if it isn’t actively leaking. Because, invariably, shortly after you put it all back together, it will start leaking.

ADVERTISEMENT

00b0b 2xt0xkkrsa4 0ci0t2 1200x900

You don’t expect luxury appointments from a little beach 4×4 like this, and the Sidekick doesn’t disappoint. Gray plastic abounds, rubber mats cover the floors, and there’s probably not an ounce of sound-deadening. The advantage to an interior like this is that it’s durable; there isn’t much to break. It starts to look like hell after a while, but everything probably still works.

2016 Polaris Slingshot – $3,000

00y0y Hwmlvx6lujf 0ak07k 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 2.4 liter dual overhead cam inline 4, five-speed manual, RWD

Location: Hollywood, FL

ADVERTISEMENT

Odometer reading: 5,100 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives fine

This goofy-looking thing is a challenge for regulatory bodies: It’s clearly street-legal, but as what? It isn’t really a car in the traditional sense, with its belt-driven single rear wheel and near-complete lack of bodywork, but it does have traditional car controls including a steering wheel, three pedals that do what you’d expect them to do, and a shift lever in the center console. So you can’t call it a motorcycle either. Instead, it occupies its own category: “autocycle.” You can drive it with a regular driver’s license in every state except Massachusetts, which requires a motorcycle endorsement. Some states require you to wear a helmet, some don’t – but honestly, you’d be mad not to.

00f0f E2fz78pzr0c 0ak07k 1200x900

This first-generation Slingshot is powered by a General Motors Ecotec four-cylinder, backed by a five-speed manual transmission. 173 horsepower in something several hundred pounds lighter than a Miata, with only one rear wheel to put the power to the ground, sounds like a recipe for donuts to me. I get the feeling it would be fun, but maybe tiresome after a while. The beauty of a really lightweight old sports car like an Austin-Healey Sprite or something is that you can go balls-out through a school zone and no one would bat an eye. Give this thing the beans at the wrong moment, and it could teach you a dangerous lesson.

ADVERTISEMENT

00n0n Cpth5qongkp 0ak07k 1200x900

Inside, it’s primitive, and – one would hope – waterproof. You can get a roof for these, but this one is open-topped. There’s barely a windscreen, and no wipers. Get home before it rains, I guess. This one has only a little over 5,000 miles on it, and the seller says it’s in perfect condition.

00y0y 29w8g1ctkld 0ak07k 1200x900

I don’t see many of these here in Oregon, even during the dry summer, but I hear they’re popular in some areas, and often driven obnoxiously. You certainly won’t blend into traffic no matter how you drive it. This is not a vehicle for introverts.

You could technically commute or go grocery shopping in either one of these, I suppose, but it’s not really what they’re for. They’re toys, one for the dirt and one for the pavement. Which place would you rather play?

ADVERTISEMENT

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
114 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bleeder
Bleeder
1 month ago

I’d love to take that Sidekick wheelin with my two friends – one has an F-150 Raptor and the other a Rubicon 392 – just to show them how ridiculously unnecessary their vehicles are.

We took them (actually it was the Jeep owners’ previous Rubicon) to the Dollhouse in the Maze District of Canyonlands Nat’l Park a few years ago. That Raptor was so massive it took 13 hours to go from the Overlook campground to the Dollhouse, which is a distance of 37 miles.

I stacked a lot of rocks that day.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago

The Slingshot is clearly a price error.

The Suzuki has no appeal to me at $3,500. Maybe $1,500. Even then, it’s a shitty ride that I’d only use in the dirt.

Here4thecars
Here4thecars
1 month ago

Gotta go with the Suzuki. I have no use for the Slingshot, but the Sidekick would be a great toy. Those concerns about the suspension are no joke. I once watched a Sidekick/Samurai almost flip over on a freeway exit just because the driver took the turn a little too fast.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago

I kinda like Slingshots, and I don’t know why some people don’t. Lightweight manual transmission topless sports car? Sounds good to me!

“Some states require you to wear a helmet, some don’t – but honestly, you’d be mad not to.”

Why would you be mad not to? It’s a convertible with roll hoops, you wouldn’t wear a helmet to drive most convertibles, would you? It looks to me like this is safer than driving a stock Miata that doesn’t have a roll bar.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
1 month ago

Never slingshot…I’ll take the Samurai, looks like fun even though someone had one in high school and it was a piece of junk. Yesterday I chose the Subaru because I’ve heard bad things about newer VW’s…at least that one’s not as bad. I like the Jetta since I used to have an 84 but wouldn’t choose a newer one

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
1 month ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

I meant Sidekick, not Samurai (similar) Still voted for it. Also, I still like the 90’s Jetta body style (the ones that are still sorta boxy) just not after that

Mike F.
Mike F.
1 month ago

Like most of the rest of you, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Slingshot. This is despite appearing that I might be a lightly-complected gentleman of a certain age who never learned to ride a motorcycle but would still like to pretend I’m a badass biker. Which seems to be one of the target demographics, at least around here. On the other hand, I have fond memories of driving a Samurai around Costa Rica with a female friend a couple of decades ago. Really easy choice to go with the Sidekick despite the godawful paint.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
1 month ago

Either this Slingshot is a deal where you wire money and get scammed, or it is a deal where you show up to buy it and get robbed. Either way, it really isn’t a deal, because this as fake as a three dollar bill with Trump on the front of it.

So I’ll take the Suzuki by default…I think you could get a better example for a little more money.

Stephen Reed
Stephen Reed
1 month ago

I am a simple man. I see Suzuki, and I choose it.

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
1 month ago

I think we need to take up a collection to buy the Sling Shot so David Tracy can drive it from Florida to California and film the adventure.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

Suzuki if for no other reason than it has some protection from the yellow face which burns us.

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago

I had a Sidekick and loved it. The (Canadian only?) ones had manual hubs which were a pit*, but otherwise we took out the back seats and had the best little camping buggy ever – it took all you needed where ever you needed to go. Threw away the convertible top after 1 too many break-ins and replaced it with a fiberglass unit which allowed a ski rack and turned the best little camping buggy into also the best little skiing buggy. Drove it until the family expanded, missed it ever since.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

Wait, are you saying you don’t like manual hubs? Is it really too inconvenient to get out for a second and twist two knobs?

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

in the middle of a sudden snow squall on an ice covered 2-lane highway, yes

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

So…… If it looks like a storm is brewing outside, you lock the hubs before you leave your driveway. Some people just leave their hubs locked all winter, it doesn’t really cost anything but some extra gas. If you plan ahead, you should never need to lock the hubs in a sketchy situation.

Besides, you need your 4wd just to get down the road? Sometimes 4wd can aid stability going down the highway, and sometimes it hurts. I personally only use 4wd on the street when it’s needed for acceleration, and then I go back to 2hi.

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

nope. according to my owner’s manual the car was not to exceed 60 km/h (~35 mph) when the hubs were locked, and they were only to be operated in 1st and 2nd gear when locked which would get you run off the road given that a major ice/snow can break out here in the middle of a sunny day, I practiced caution based on the projected repair costs and followed that. Great for off road, not so great in my climate. Ever park on the shoulder of a slushy road while sticking you *ss out into the traffic stream doing the front left hub?

Peter Foreman-Murray
Peter Foreman-Murray
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

Everyone with automatic hubs on these swaps them out for the manual ones.

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago

manual ones don’t work well in snow belts where sudden violent squalls can make it deadly to get out of your car and hunker down by the front wheels, esp if you’re on a 2-lane road full of trucks

Lotsofchops
Lotsofchops
1 month ago

I’ve driven a Slingshot once, dealer I bought my motorcycle from let me take it to lunch while they did paperwork. It’s definitely a pretty raw driving experience, everything has a good weight to it. Definitely weird sitting at the same height as most people’s bumper, but it was still a lot of fun. Can’t possibly imagine owning one, though.

114
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x