2001 Tracker New Car Test Drive
The first human being to recommend traveling light was probably hiking through the forest with his belongings on his back. Or maybe she was trying to cut through rush-hour traffic on the way to soccer practice. In either case, bulk was not an advantage.
And so it is with SUVs: A hulking, 5,000-pound, $40,000 behemoth may look impressive in your driveway and yeah, we know it could tow City Hall if it had to. But that doesn't make it the most ideal companion for the backwoods, or even the back streets. Chevrolet's Tracker, on the other hand, is a fully trail worthy SUV that's not much bigger than the car-based compact SUVs. A real truck, it's built on a ladder frame, and its four-wheel-drive system offers a low range. Yet it's not much more expensive than a well-equipped compact car.
The current-generation Tracker, which debuted in 1999, is far more refined than before. Now, the 2001 models offer attractive new trim options and an all-new V6. The Tracker makes a lot of sense for a lot of people.
Tracker prices begin at $15,235 for the two-wheel-drive, two-door convertible. That's about $1,300 more than last year, but it buys a significantly upgraded vehicle. Last year's standard 1.6-liter inline-4 is now history; and the previously optional 2.0-liter inline-4 is now included in the base price. Air conditioning, which was an option last year, is also standard.
Four-wheel-drive convertibles are now offered in either base ($16,335) or sporty new ZR2 ($18,185) trim. The same 2.0-liter engine provides the power, but ZR2s add fender flares over wider tires, plus skid plates, cruise control, power locks with remote entry, power mirrors, and other conveniences.
Tracker is also offered as a four-door wagon, which many people will find more practical than the convertible. Four-door models also come in either two- or four-wheel drive, with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the base engine. Again, the ZR2 package is available on the four-wheel-drive version, but four-door ZR2 models are powered by an all-new 2.5-liter dohc V6. A four-speed automatic transmission, optional with the four, is standard with the V6.
Also new for 2001 is the luxurious LT trim level, offered with two- or four-wheel-drive but only on the four-door body. LT Trackers trade the ZR2's sporty fender flares for classy contrasting bodyside cladding and a chrome grille surround. LT trim levels pack all the same functional features as the ZR2 (including the V6 and automatic transmission) and add lower-profile tires, a luggage rack, CD player, color-keyed mirrors, and full-cloth upholstery.
A flagship 4WD LT lists for $21,230.
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