AUTOS : Suzuki to Add 3 Models to Its U.S. Lineup

Compiled by John O'Dell, Times staff writer

American Suzuki Motor Corp., best known for its sports utility vehicles--the Sidekick and soon-to-be-discontinued-Samurai--is pushing into the car market with a five-passenger sedan, the Esteem.

Introduction of the four-door subcompact is scheduled for spring. Officials at the Brea-based importer for Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. say the Esteem will compete with cars like Toyota's Corolla, Honda's Civic, the Saturn SL and the Neon, which is marketed by Chrysler Corp.'s Dodge and Plymouth divisions.

Suzuki isn't stopping with the Esteem: 1995 promises to be a big year for the company, which also is bringing out a new, slightly larger and more powerful Sport version of its Sidekick. Also planned is a new two-seater, the X-90, that is described as an all-purpose runabout. Both are due out in the fall as 1996 models.

The Suzuki X-90 will come with removable glass T-top panels, four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes, dual air bags, power windows and door locks, cruise control, a 95-horsepower engine and automatic (four-speed) or manual (five-speed) transmissions.

Pricing on the new cars has not been established, but don't expect anything less than $10,000.

The new vehicles will give Suzuki six models: three versions of the Sidekick, the X-90 and two passenger cars: the Esteem and the hatchback Swift subcompact.

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