Suzuki Samurai 1987 Review: Top Speed, Specs & Price

Suzuki Samurai

The 1987 Suzuki Samurai was known as “the nonconformist’s Wrangler” because of its durability and lightweight, which made it easy to climb steep hills and crawl through deep mud and water. It was sold in more than 100 countries. Samurai was a massive success for Suzuki, selling 150,000 trucks in three years to Americans. It was an easy-to-maintain truck, but due to a report that says it can easily roll even when Turning while regular driving Suzuki has to suffer huge losses.

If you want to know more about the Suzuki Samurai 1987’s Specifications, Pros & Cons, and answers to frequently asked questions, read the full article.

Suzuki Samurai 1987

Suzuki Samurai is a narrow two-seater vehicle made for traveling. Its SOHC 80.8 cubic inches engine can produce a top speed of 65 mph. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission system. It has front and rear 15×5 P205/70R15 all-season, steel-belted radial tires with the front disc brake and drum brake on the rear side. Lastly, it has leaf springs and solid axles to provide a comfortable, bump-free ride. Its steel frame provides extra strength to the body. You can easily purchase this machine for $269 to $3,525. 




Here are the specification of this traveling truck written below.

Engine1.3 liter, four-cylinder, in-line eight-valve SOHC engine
Top Speed60 – 65 mph
Horsepower66 hp at 6500 rpm
Bore73.91 millimeters
Stroke76.96 millimeters
Engine displacement80.8 cubic inches (1.3 liters)
compression ratio8.9:1
Fuel tank capacity10.6 gallons / 40.12 liters
Transmission5 Speed Transmission
Clutchsingle-disc diaphragm spring clutch
Front Tires15×5 P205
Rear Tires15×5 70R15
Braking systempower-assisted hydraulic
Front brakediscs brake
Rear brakedrum brakes
Overall length135 inches
Width60.2 inches
Height65.6 inches
Ground clearance8.1 inches
Wheelbase79.9 inches
Price$269 to $3,525


The Suzuki Samurai has a SOHC of 80.8 cubic inches with a 1.3-liter engine that can produce 60-65 mph top speed and 66 Horsepower at 6500 rpm. It has a bore and stroke ratio of 73.91 x 76.96 mm. Its aggressive compression ratio is 8.9:1, so it can climb hills and trails easily.

Moreover, the United States version of the Suzuki Samurai engine has a four-cylinder, in-line, and eight-valve. The Suzuki Samurai carburetor induction used on models from 1986 to 1989 was replaced by throttle body fuel injection on models from 1990 to 1995.


It has five-speed manual transmission with a dry, single-disc diaphragm spring clutch and reverses. Although it is a 4WD vehicle, Suzuki also offered its 2WD model from 1991 to 1993. The 4WD model from 1986 to 1989 could produce 60 horsepower at 6500 rpm, and from 1990 to 1995, its horsepower was 66 at 6500 rpm. With this power and excellent transmission, it becomes an ultimate travel vehicle that can go anywhere. It can easily cross mud and narrow paths because of its compact size and enormous power.


Tires are the central part of a vehicle that provides a fraction to the vehicle while coming in contact with the road. It has front and rear 15×5 P205 / 70R15 all-season, steel-belted radial tires. The Suzuki Samurai wheels are made of steel. You can purchase replacement tires of the same size or limit yourself to 32-inch tires for a better look and height.


A travel vehicle must have an adequate braking system to stop it on time and to fulfill the braking requirement, Suzuki added a power-assisted hydraulic brake system. It has a front disc and drum brake on the rear wheel; both are operated by hand lever and are convenient when applying brakes. 


Suspensions are used to provide a calm and smooth ride. Both front and rear suspensions are provided by leaf springs and solid axles. The front axle was changed to a two-pinion design in 1990 and will not fit the available lockers. These suspensions are good and made for the off-roads and hills.


It measures 60.2 inches wide and 135 inches long. Its height is 65.6 inches, which is not enough for a truck, but you can increase its height by using high-profile tires; the ground clearance requirement is 8.1 inches. There is a 79.9-inch wheelbase for comfortable and bump-free rides. The 16.7-foot turning radius is possible thanks to manual ball nut steering. The Suzuki Samurai is 2,094 pounds in weight. While its gross vehicle weight (GVWR) is 2923 pounds      

Body Design

It is a thin, boxy, two-door vehicle. It originally had four seats, but in 1994, to comply with safety regulations, its four seats were reduced to two. In 1999, Suzuki returned the Samurai hardtop model and the new style convertible. It continues to sell well all over the world and trades under the Mazda (AZ-Off-road) and Chevrolet (Holden Drover) brands.


The 1987 Suzuki Samurai is a one-of-a-kind subcompact truck that was a huge hit right away but also a short-lived automaker success. It was sold in more than 100 countries, but due to its rolling issues while regular turning, it became a loss for Suzuki. It has a steel Chassis frame that provides strength to the body.

Samurai can be a good truck for travel due to its vast power and specifications. It comes with the average bump-absorbing suspensions with the 15×5 P205/70R15 front and rear tires. If you want extra height, then you can use 32 inches tires.

 It is a massive success for the Suzuki, but it can be hazardous when turning it on the hill as it can easily roll over, so you have to be very careful if you are buying it for travel purposes. You can enjoy it by using it for your daily work in the town, or it can be an excellent option to use on your farmhouse for different jungle grinds. Even though it is unsuitable for driving on expressways, you can use it as a fun ride off the road.

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Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions.

How much is a 1987 Suzuki Samurai worth?

The current value of a used 1987 Suzuki Samurai ranges from $269 to $3,525. Its price depends on factors such as condition, mileage, soft-top, and options. The starting price for the model in 1986 ranged from $6,200 to $7,500, and the starting price for models in 1987 and later ranged from $6,895 to $8,865, depending on the trim package. People still enjoy the ride, but turning can be dangerous, so be careful.

What is the Suzuki Samurai’s top speed?

The top speed of Suzuki Samurai is 60-65 mph, but some owners have reported speeds of 80 mph in fifth gear. You can reach 85-90 mph speeds without wind with a Mikuni carb and 32-inch tires. However, on flat ground, it can reach speeds of up to 104 mph with extensive upgrades, but it can be dangerous as it is not made for such high speed.

Which size of tires will Suzuki Samurai take?

A Samurai can run reliably with tires up to 33 inches in diameter, as long as an ARB locker will save your axles and take the strain off the drivetrain when traction is not required. Avoid using too much power, as the 33-inch tires are close to the axles’ limit. If you want to use big-sized tires, you can use 32 inches; it can be a perfect choice over 33 inches tires. A Spartan-style locker or spool can only accommodate tires up to 30 inches in diameter.

What is a Suzuki Samurai’s high mileage?

A used Suzuki Samurai’s mileage can range anywhere from 90,000 to 200,000 miles, depending on how it was modified, maintained, and used. Because a modified Sammy will shorten an engine’s lifespan if it is not correctly geared, these brutes typically require just the right gearing.

What engine swap is best for a Suzuki Samurai?

As it is the oldest truck, so availability of its engine part is nearly nil, so if you want to use this truck, there’s only one option to swap its old engine with a new engine whose parts are readily available in the market. Driver preferences determine which engine swap for the Suzuki Samurai is best. 

Some might prefer a 16V Vitara engine. Others would incorporate an RX-7’s rotary engine. The Rotary needs extra care; I suggest you to use the 16V Vitara engine.

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