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By Jim Flammang
August 27, 2003
Vehicle Overview Without any fanfare, Chevrolet has abandoned the two-door convertible version of its smallest sport utility vehicle, along with its four-cylinder engine. The Tracker convertible saw meager sales and recently suffered from unusually low resale values.
Four-door Trackers are available in three trim levels base, ZR2 and LT and are unchanged for the 2004 model year. A V-6 engine is installed in all Tracker models. They may be equipped with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
This is an authentic sport utility that can handle the roughest terrain, said Marketing Director Margaret Brooks. General Motors and Suzuki jointly own a Canadian plant where the Tracker and the similar Suzuki Vitara are built. The Tracker competes against the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
The Tracker is built on a ladder-type frame and features what Chevrolet calls bold, distinctive, sculpted flanks that are complemented by contoured edges. The four-door solid-roof Tracker is less than 163 inches long overall and has a 97.6-inch wheelbase. Two-wheel-drive models are 65.6 inches high, and four-wheel-drive models stand 66.3 inches tall. The extinct convertibles were considerably shorter.
The spare tire is mounted on the tailgate, which opens to the right. All models ride 15-inch tires. The base models are equipped with steel wheels, and alloy wheels are standard on the LT and ZR2. Skid plates are included on the ZR2, which features white outline-lettered tires and 8 inches of ground clearance. Options include tubular side steps, a brush guard, and ski and bike racks.
The four-door Tracker wagon seats five people. Folding down the split rear seat expands the cargo space to more than 50 cubic feet. All models have air conditioning and a CD player, and the LT adds such extras as cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Leather upholstery is optional only on upscale models.
Under the Hood
A 165-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 engine and a four-speed-automatic transmission are installed on all Trackers. Four-cylinder engines and manual gearboxes are no longer offered. Trackers may be equipped with either rear-wheel drive or shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive.
Antilock brakes are optional, and daytime running lights are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available in the Tracker.
Every Tracker is on the noisy side, but its a generally satisfying little machine. The noise comes from the V-6 engine and the driveline. While recent models are better than those of the past, they still produce a trucklike sensation despite their modest dimensions. 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. The Trackers acceleration wins no prizes, but its wholly adequate for most drivers. The SUVs seats are excellent and well cushioned, and they offer good support. Legroom is limited in the backseat.