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By Jim Flammang
April 15, 2002
Vehicle Overview Available in two-door convertible or four-door wagon form, this compact sport utility vehicle is Chevrolets version of the Suzuki Vitara. Alloy wheels are new for 2002, and the LT edition loses its running boards. A CD player is now standard on all models, and four-door versions gain a roof rack. Other new amenities include front armrests, see-through halo headrests and adjustable lumbar support for the driver.
In 2001, the Tracker got an optional 155-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 engine, which has been available in the Suzuki Vitara since 1999. A four-cylinder engine also is available, but the V-6 is standard on the ZR2 and LT four-door models. Both the Tracker and the equivalent Suzuki products are built in Canada at a plant jointly owned by General Motors and Suzuki.
Exterior The four-door, solid-roof Tracker is 162.6 inches long and has a 97.6-inch wheelbase. That makes the solid roof model 11 inches longer in both dimensions than the two-door convertible, which has a manually folding canvas top. The spare tire is mounted on the tailgate, which opens to the right, on both body styles.
Interior Larger dimensions give the four-door Tracker greater interior space. The convertible seats four occupants, but the four-door wagon seats five. Folding down the split rear seat expands cargo space to 34 cubic feet on the convertible and 45 cubic feet on the wagon.
All models have air conditioning and, for 2002, a CD player. Leather upholstery is optional only on the LT model.
Under the Hood The base engine for the four-door wagon and ZR2 convertible is a 127-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a 155-hp, 2.5-liter V-6 goes into the LT and ZR2 wagons. Four-cylinder engines team with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission, but the V-6 comes only with the automatic. Both body styles work with either rear-drive or four-wheel drive. Antilock brakes are optional.
Driving Impressions The Tracker is on the noisy side, but it generally is a satisfying little machine. The noise comes from the V-6 engine and driveline; while its better than in the past generation, it still triggers a trucklike sensation. The automatic transmission tends to stay a trifle too long in lower gears, which also adds to the extra sound level.
The Tracker is easy to steer and control, and it maneuvers nicely in city driving. When equipped with four-wheel drive, it also performs capably on snow and ice. A somewhat choppy ride is inevitable, but its not much of a problem. Acceleration wont win any awards, but its wholly adequate for all but the most assertive drivers. Seats are excellent, well cushioned and have good support, though legroom is rather limited in the backseat.