Re: Should I buy this Samurai?
The NHTSA is a federal goverment organization that deals with highway saftey and car defects (ODI). I have some of the informaion here concerning their investigation about the Samurai roll over problem:
2.0 PREVIOUS INQUIRIES AND INVESTIGATIONS BY NHTSA INTO ALLEGED ROLLOVER DEFECTS
In 1988, ODI received two petitions for a defect investigation regarding the alleged rollover propensity of 1986 through 1988 Suzuki Samurai vehicles, including convertible and Suzuki "variants" of the Samurai, the SJ410 and LJ80 models (DP88-011 and DP88-019). NHTSA also denied these petitions, primarily because the available information did not show that the rollovers were caused by a defect in the vehicle rather than by the driver and/or environmental factors. NHTSA concluded that: 1) The rollover crash involvement of the Samurai was no worse than that of most other light utility vehicles; 2) Occupant ejection is the primary cause of fatal and serious injuries in a rollover; 3) The Samurai had a track width to center of gravity (cg) ratio higher (better) than that of most other light utility vehicles. This ratio has been demonstrated to have a fundamental effect on the rollover propensity of vehicles; 4) The likelihood of a rollover is dependent on a variety of conditions present at any given moment, including vehicle condition, road/ground surface, topography, and vehicle speed; 5) Testing indicated that vehicle control was not a problem when the Suzuki vehicles were driven by experienced drivers. However, the short wheelbase, narrow track width, and low vehicular mass could cause an inexperienced driver to over-react to a given situation and induce rollover; 6) The test procedures for assessing the rollover propensity of vehicles existing during the time period the petition was considered were unsatisfactory identifiers of relative rollover propensity because they did not allow repeatable, reproducible results; and 7) The lack of utility vehicle driving experience exhibited by the Samurai drivers was the most important factor in many of the rollover events reviewed by the agency.
In 1996 ODI was again petitioned to open a defect investigation into the Suzuki Samurai's rollover propensity. The petitioner alleged that Samurai convertibles have high rollover propensity, as reflected by their low static stability factor, and, when loaded with occupants, the vehicle is even less stable. After reviewing the materials presented in that petition and other available data and information, the agency concluded that it was unlikely that further investigation of alleged Samurai convertible rollover propensity would enable NHTSA to identify a safety-related defect. The petition (DP96-004) was therefore denied.