The Slick Suzuki Samurai Costs Triple Its Original Value in 2023
Frequently asked questions:
Sometimes, you have to make poor financial decisions, like buying an SUV from the 1980s or 1990s for fun. If that is your idea of fun, the Suzuki Samurai checks all the proverbial boxes. While it was available here for many years, Suzuki no longer sells new vehicles in the US. The Suzuki Jimny is another story entirely.
How much is a Suzuki Samurai?
Unfortunately for Suzuki Samurai collectors, this isn’t the easiest SUV to track down. You know what they say about the juice being worth the squeeze, though, so if you can find the Samurai, buy the Samurai. This ultra-small SUV first hit the market in the US around 1986 with 63 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque.
When MotorTrend tested it, the 1986 SUV hit 60 mph in 16.9 seconds. It took over 20.47 seconds to stroll through the quarter mile at 64.5 mph leisurely. Suzuki’s Samurai was basically a lawn mower with seat belts.
Considering the fact that it started at only $6,550 in 1986, the prices of today are actually nuts. AutoTrader has 14 fine examples of the Suzuki Samurai listed on its Classic site, ranging from $19,900 to $30,000, depending on the mileage.
Was the Suzuki Samurai a good car?
The Suzuki Samurai was a success for many reasons, but the price was a major one. A Jeep Wrangler was quite a bit more expensive but similar in capability. For the first year, it sold 47,000 Samurais. There is a 1987 Samurai with four-wheel drive and a soft top for only $21,946. It has 116,791 miles, a five-speed manual transmission, and a white paint job that can only come from the ’80s.
The $30,000 example is a 1988 Suzuki Samurai with four-wheel drive and a black soft-top roof. It only has $18,000 miles on it and, surprisingly, only one previous owner. The ad also says it has no damage and no rust, complete with icy blue exterior paint.
There is also a 1968 model with 136,832 miles for $27,642. Most of these examples are three times the original price, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer. Sales for the Samurai sort of tanked after Consumer Reports called it unsafe, a scandal even to this day. The well-respected company deemed the SUV unsafe after it rolled over during testing. Scandalous or not, it doesn’t look like the safest vehicle.
Is the Suzuki Samurai available in the US?
The Suzuki Samurai is not available in the US anymore as a new vehicle. There is also the Suzuki Jimny, which isn’t available here either. At one point, there were rumors it could return as an EV, but that hasn’t panned out yet. The Jimny is available in many places, but Suzuki left the American market and hasn’t looked back. Understandable.
For now, the only way to get a Samurai is to find an old one that still lives here or to import a Jimny from another country. Though the Jimny is pretty cheap, it won’t be so cheap after importing it. Either way, the Samurai has a great story and lives on in other countries.