Open letter to Suzuki Esteem owners (years of manufacture: 1995-2002), particularly owners of the "GL" trim:
Dear Sirs or Madams:
Hello. I am writing to you because I know you. Indeed, up until recently, I was one of you and feel that because of my former Suzuki Esteem ownership, I have the right to call you on your ill-advised additions to your personal Esteems -- and frankly, your misbehavior in dealing with this vehicle.
My Esteem was a 1998 GL four-door sedan, royal blue in color, quite amiable in disposition. I bought her four years after her birth with 68k miles and recently sold her at 110k with plenty of life left in her (though missing a window, stereo and featuring a beat up dash; more on that here). She did me well, in fact, better than I anticipated she would. She was inexpensive to buy and maintain, kept the gas costs low and even rode pretty well, for the most part, despite the 13" wheels and occasional foray down a snowy canyon road meant to be closed to all traffic without four-wheel drive.
The Esteem is even a pretty appealing car on the superficial level. Like that girl in Algebra class who somehow becomes more attractive as the school year rolls on, the Esteem features subtle good looks. Sure, she's no super model, but a pretty gal all the same. However, the Esteem's rear end is a dramatic contrast for the worse, quite unappealing, as if math girl stands up from her desk to reveal some strangely mis-shapen posterior. (Interestingly, in 1999, the front end got a face lift, making it even more appealing, and yet the ass-end remained ass-ugly.)
The Esteem is definitely a more attractive vehicle than some of its mid- to late-nineties competitors [Hyundai Accent (before the re-design), Daewoo (any of 'em), Kia (again, any of 'em)] and camouflages itself nicely among the pricier Corrollas and Civics of the same time period. And therein lies the point of this letter, fellow Esteem owner, and really, the point of the Esteem itself.
The Suzuki was designed to be non-descript, to blend into daily life, not to draw attention to itself or the driver. It was manufactured to quietly get you from Point A to Point B without receiving too many laughs or insults along the way. Of course, the crazy Suzuki engineers had to have some fun with you and name the sucker "Esteem," but come on, it could be worse. You could be driving a Ford Aspire.
So, keeping in mind the aforementioned goals of the Esteem, I am asking you fucktards (for lack of a better word) who feel the need to tint all windows to a hue of black, install lowering springs and body kits in order to bring an already low clearance to a centimeter from the ground, switch the stock wheels for some chromed-out 19" "spinners" despite their not fitting within the wheelwells, craft spoilers reaching Tower of Babylon-proportions, and install aftermarket shift kits and muffler/exhaust systems to disguise the sound of a 95 horsepower engine, I beg of you: Please stop. This is not what is meant for the Esteem and it truly hurts my senses to come across one that is so "modified."
Perhaps you are a visual learner; I can respect that. If this is the case, please see below. Note: the first two photos are acceptable; the remaining photos are Suzuki Esteems that have gone terribly wrong. I have no doubt that if these vehicles could speak for themselves, they would either beg to be destroyed or put their respective asshat owners in their place.
If you are guilty of "customizing" your Suzuki Esteem, please change it back immediately. If this letter does not apply to you, thank you for your good sense in not making a silly car more silly. In either case, I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
former 1998 Suzuki Esteem GL owner