In the late ‘80s, the Suzuki Motor Company needed something to make buyers forget the Samurai scandal. They wanted to regain the position they lost on the compact SUV market. And the answer was the new, modernly-styled model they called the Sidekick or Vitara. It was Suzuki’s global project to introduce a modern looking and more on-road oriented model.
They wanted it to appeal to a younger crowd and be safer, better equipped and more usable than the smaller, problematic Samurai. They presented the first-generation Sidekick or Vitara in 1988. Immediately, it met universal praise from the buyers and the motoring press. It was the right model for the time with cool looks, nice options, long and short wheelbase versions, and an optional open top.
It could either be a family SUV as well as a fun vehicle for weekend trips to the forest. Under the hood were several engines, all relatively small in displacement and power, but enough to propel the compact Sidekick to a performance similar to or better than its competitors. The production of the first generation lasted from 1988 to 1998 and they called the replacement model the Chevrolet Tracker.