1999 Chevrolet Tracker

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1999 Chevrolet Tracker

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1999 Chevrolet Tracker review: Our expert's take

By Anita And Paul Lienert

The 1999 Chevrolet Tracker – specifically, the two-door convertible version – sounds so good on paper.

The Tracker two-door is a small, relatively affordable sport-utility vehicle with a base price of $14,735 that attracts entry-level buyers and parents shopping for teenage drivers. It had a slew of improvements for 1999, so changes for model year 2000 are inconsequential. We drove the redesigned 1999 model, which is longer and wider than its predecessor, with an improved suspension, steering and engine. But don’t be fooled. At least that’s what Paul advises.

He: Remember the first two-door Tracker we owned about 10 years ago? We bought it because it was cheap. My recollection is that it was such a dreadful vehicle – noisy, underpowered and primitive – we dumped it as soon as we could. General Motors and its Japanese partner Suzuki finally got around to redesigning the Tracker this past year, and we finally got a chance to test-drive both the two-door convertible and the four-door hardtop. Our main interest, naturally, was in the two-door. To my amazement, the ’99 model doesn’t feel like it’s dramatically better than our old Tracker. Oh, it looks a little cuter, but that was never really a problem with the old one. In the most important areas, like comfort, safety, performance and ease of use, this new Tracker two-door is a dud.

She: Yeah, but I like the four-door Tracker hardtop. It’s almost like they’re two different vehicles made by two different companies. I can enthusiastically recommend the hardtop. It felt solid and quiet, where the two-door convertible is noisy, feels flimsy and is not very refined. This is the same model, right? How could one company build such a split personality into these two vehicles? Somebody needs an analyst’s couch.

He: So analyze this. I’m filling out the specs portion of this review, and noted that the base engine in the two-door is a 97-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder. And I remembered how coarse and anemic the engine in our test vehicle felt. It always seemed to be working too hard and making too much racket. Then I discovered we had the optional twin-cam 2.0-liter engine, which makes 127 horsepower and costs $400 extra. Didn’t change my opinion – except perhaps to tell you not to waste your money. It doesn’t seem to make much difference. And fuel economy for a vehicle this tiny is inadequate, at 22 miles per gallon in the city and only 25 on the highway. My question is, would you even want to take the two-door Tracker on the highway?

She: Let me go back to the noise on the convertible. You could make the argument that it’s irrelevant, especially for the buyer demographic, which I suspect likes to blast Limp Bizkit on the CD player. Which, naturally, is also an extra-cost option. The softtop is still something of a pain to operate, although it seems to work a little better than the one on our old Tracker. I also have to admit the styling is adorable. It hits the right n ote there, on the outside.

He: Problem is, most people drive from the inside. That’s where the two-door Tracker fails miserably. The cabin is still appallingly primitive – amazing for a vehicle that had a sticker of $18,145, including more than $3,000 worth of options. Makes me wonder what the “base” model looks and drives like without the “amenities.” I mentioned the engine. What I didn’t talk about was the unsteady feeling you get when driving this short-wheelbase vehicle. At freeway speeds, the two-door Tracker gives you the impression of riding a roller coaster. And don’t try to take a turn too fast. You can almost feel the outside wheels lifting.

She: I think you’re being a little too harsh. For the audience – not a spoiled forty-something like you who went ga-ga this week over the rear footrests in the $69,000 BMW 740iL – it’s decent enough. Lienert, get back to the real world where the rest of us live.

He: You want real world? No problem. I can think of abo dozen other vehicles I’d rather spend $18,000 on – including the four-door Tracker, which is much sturdier, safer, quieter and comfier. If you’re looking for a convertible SUV, the Isuzu Amigo is a superior vehicle that starts at around $16,000. And if you just want the cheapest two-door in the class, a Kia Sportage is probably a better value.

1999 Chevrolet Tracker

Anita’s rating: acceptable

Paul’s rating: subpar

Type: Front-engine, four-wheel drive, four-passenger sport-utility convertible.

Price: Base, $14,735; as tested, $18,145 (inc. $360 destination charge).

Engine: 2.0-liter I-4; 127-hp at 6,000 rpm; 134 lb-ft torque at 3,000 rpm.

EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city/25 mpg highway.

12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan: $1,159 (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage and driving record.)

Where built: Ingersoll, Ontario

What we liked: Informal, fun exterior is adorable; somewhat affordable (Anita); engine and road noise may not annoy young buyers; some improvements over old model.

What we didn’t like: Antilock brakes cost $595 extra; fuel economy is inadequate; too noisy; even optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine feels anemic; convertible top is still difficult to operate; feels tippy when cornering at higher speeds; cabin still looks primitive.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 5.0
  • Exterior styling 4.0
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews


Lil 4x4 Heartbeat of America

I wish Chevy still made their Trackers. I have my 1999 that I bought used in 2001 and it’s still running. As long as you keep the oil changed and you keep her to drop in the maintenance done on her they’ll run forever. This thing has cost me almost nothing in repairs or maintenance as I keep up on my vehicles. I love this little car it will climb a tree if you put her in for a drive and has always been so reliable. I’m actually starting to shop for another one just to have as a back up. If anybody finds One with minimal rust and low miles I suggest you snap it up right away. They are easy to work on easy on gas the parts are still accessible from local auto shops and parts can easily be found in junkyard should you need a hood offender etc. These are one of the best little SUVs that one could have. I wouldn’t sell my 1999 Chevy Tracker for anything. They’re awesome little SUVs


I like the basic design stay simple.

Love the fun of driving it four by four system should have went with manual lock outs not auto lock the design idea is bad not reliable so install manual lock hubs and weld the actuator inside the Axel and I'll have a fun car


Basic and dependable

My 1999 Chevy 2 door Tracker is equipped with a 2 liter motor, automatic transmission, 4 wheel drive and a removable hardtop. I've had it for several months and appreciate it's simplicity, economy, utility ( Great offroad crawler ) and reliability. It's inexpensive to maintain and less expensive than the "high priced spread" SUVS to repair. Handling is not crisp, but is predictable. Even crawling in 4 wheel low range from sea level to 5000 feet on a 4 wheel designated trail at low speeds in 90+ temperatures, the temp gauge never budged from normal. It has the tightest turning radius of any vehicle I've ever driven. 20-28 mpg. 151,000 miles.

See all 6 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chevrolet
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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