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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Chevrolet Tracker Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Chevrolet Tracker Overview

An Excellent Alternative to the Big SUV

It's funny how changing times can reshape our view of the automobile; take the Chevrolet Tracker for example. Just a few years ago, most SUV drivers looked upon the Tracker as a cute little wannabe, perfect for kids on a budget or as a second vehicle to tow behind the family Winnebago. But rising fuel prices and crowded freeways have brought the Tracker's modest size and fuel-efficient engine into vogue. People who don't require a vehicle large enough to fit a baseball team are giving the smaller SUVs like the Tracker a good hard look. If you fit into this category, the Tracker has much to offer, including a long track record of rugged and reliable service.

The Tracker is offered in two distinctly different body styles that serve two very different customers. The two-door convertible is clearly intended to appeal to both the young and the young at heart. It's smaller wheelbase and interior configuration make it attractive to those who don't need a lot of room, but do desire the open-air cockpit and off-road ability the Tracker provides. Because of it's smaller size and lighter weight, the Tracker convertible gets by just fine with the standard 2.0-liter engine that makes a respectable 127 horsepower. You'll find that this engine pulls pretty well, though it is a bit harsh sounding under full throttle, a trait especially noticeable when teamed to the four-speed automatic.

At the opposite end of the Tracker spectrum is the four-door. This version of the Tracker has a stretched wheelbase and a fixed roof that will probably appeal more to the family-oriented crowd. Where the Tracker convertible might be seen as a fun second car, the Tracker four-door is designed for the everyday driver and to provide a secure and quiet interior no matter what the weather outside. The Tracker four-door also provides vastly more cargo space than its two-door cousin and its solid roof can accommodate any number of roof rack systems.

Though the 2.0-liter is the standard engine in the base four-door model, the ZR2 and LT trims get a big power boost with the addition of a 2.5-liter V6. Rated at 165 horsepower, the V6 has just enough muscle to move the Tracker four-door to the acceptable acceleration category. Because the Tracker's transmission and final gear ratio are set more for pulling then passing, you should not expect the V6 to provide lightening-quick sprints; what you can expect is a torque-happy powerplant that fears no snow drift or mud pit, and that's really what the Tracker 4x4 is all about. We should note that the Tracker is also available with two-wheel drive; these models generally tend to cost about $1100 less than their 4x4 counterparts.

On the road, you'll find the Tracker proves to be fairly stable. Its tall ride height does allow it to lean a bit in the turns, but overall the Tracker stays pretty grounded, even when performing emergency-like maneuvers. As with all high profile vehicles, you must exercise some respect for the high center of gravity and approach sharp turns at a reasonable speed. You'll find the two-door's ride to be on the stiff side and that bumps and road imperfections are transformed into quick, repetitive bounces; the longer wheelbase of the four-door smoothes out most of the harshness, though the ride is still firm. Off road, the Tracker proves itself as worthy as any SUV, with a high/low transfer case and eight-inches of ground clearance that allows you to tackle the most obstinate courses. It should be noted that the Tracker's four-wheel drive system can only be employed in off-road or deep snow conditions; it is not designed to be permanently engaged on dry pavement.

Inside the Tracker, you'll find a competent if somewhat plain interior. The dash, door panels and seat covers are all colored in the same shade of gray, with black plastic surrounds for the instrument cluster and radio. On the up-scale LT trim, you can opt for a leather interior that somewhat raises the interior appeal. What the Tracker interior may lack in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in comfort and cargo room—at least on the four-door model. The seats are very firm, but provide surprisingly long hours of comfort. You'll find that the rear seats are snug for the longest of legs, but can reasonably accommodate two adults. One of the four-door's best features is its swing-out rear door and fold-down seats that provide you with over 44 cubic feet of space.

Standard equipment on base models include air conditioning, rear defroster, center console with storage, illuminated entry, auto-off headlights, split-folding rear-seat, AM/FM stereo with CD, tachometer, rear wiper/washer, fuel tank skid plate and 15-inch stamped steel wheels. The ZR2 and LT trim add many more standard features and include jazzed up exterior treatments that greatly improve the Tracker's already attractive sheet metal.

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