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2002 Chevrolet Tracker

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.0

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Chevy Tracker Base 4-Door

by brad:      Aug 14, 2002 - Updated Aug 14, 2002

Product Rating: 5.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: almost everything you-need comes standard - add auto-trans, cruise, and keyless-entry and you're set
Cons: somewhat jerky ride in immediate acceleration (in a hurry) - out of-the gates or passing
The Bottom Line: the niche looking for a small SUV will find this vehicle an exceptional value. read the review for details.

Hello. I've been a Tracker lessee for four years now, first with the 1999 Tracker "base 4-door," and now with the 2002 version of the model. In February of this year (2002), GMAC offered me the "GMAC Pull-ahead" program deal, whereby I could turn in my then-currently-leased vehicle for a brand new one. The Pull-ahead program allowed me to get out of my lease without having to make additional payments on the vehicle I had, including the month of "trade-in." Already having begun shopping for a new vehicle, I decided the offer was too good to pass up.

I highly recommend this vehicle for the modest consumer who is looking for a small SUV. This model is probably the least expensive small SUV on the market, with the possible exception of the KIA Sportage. I did price out all reputable small SUVs on the market at the time (prices and models which remain current as of the date of this review). Looking at the value of each model, I found the attributes of the Chevy Base 4-door to be unbeatable.

This vehicle comes standard with almost everything you will "want," except for the following options:

- cruise
- Anti-lock brakes
- Automatic transmission
- remote keyless entry
- tilt steering
- alloy wheels
- Exterior rearview mirrors dual, black, power

In fact, these are the only options available for this model. Everything else is standard, including A/C, CD player, roof rack, rear wiper, intermittent front wipers, lamp lites, etc., etc. Really, where you'll pay is with the automatic transmission, which was a must for me. That adds about $1,500 to the cost.

My model includes all of the options except the power rearview mirrors. I'd've bought an Envoy if I wanted those.

So, if you pick up this vehicle, you'll likely get everything you need to ride in style. If you want a bigger engine, leather interior, or any other "luxury" options, you'll need to spend at least $3,000 more to get up to another model. If you can tolerate very comfortable cloth interior seats and a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine, this model will more than suffice.

The vehicle is made by Suzuki. In fact, it's the exact same vehicle as the Suzuki Vitara, except that it has the Suzuki brands swapped for Chevy labels.

The only downside to this vehicle is a somewhat jerky ride. Actually, this problem is only apparent when one is in a hurry. If you're content to accelerate at a reasonable speed, the automatic transmission will more than get the job done. However, if you plan on bolting out of the street onto the freeway or slinging past a slowpoke, you'll encounter a "jerk" while the transmission switches gears. It's not a large problem at all, only a small annoyance. You can avoid this "jerkiness" by spending $5,000 more and picking up a Honda CRV. I can tolerate the occasional lack of immediate power for a pocket savings at that clip.

The rest of the ride is very comfortable. Cruising down the highway is as comfortable as any vehicle I've been in that costs less than $40,000. A 'beamer' rides smoother, that much I'll grant. 'beamer' buyers aren't reading this review, however.

This vehicle, and this covers any model of this vehicle, seats two comfortably in the front. You will only want to use the back seat unless you're in rather dire straits, as far as carrying extra passengers, unless you have only one additional passenger who weighs less than 50 pounds (i.e. an infant). I use the back seat for storage - books, extra clothes, anything I might need "on the fly."

One of the nicest features of this vehicle is the rear door. It's a door that opens from the side and opens entirely. A pinch of the switch opens the door and the sliding mechanism helps you pull it open. This is the cargo area. The cargo area is perfect for storing a bag of golf clubs. My golf bag fits perfectly in this area, in terms of length. Anything longer will not fit. Depth is about four feet. Height is about five feet. Plenty of room to jam in a bunch of stuff for heading up to the lake or for a weekend vacation. If you need more room, the back seats can be flipped backward and down, opening up the entire rear portion of the interior. After having done this, you'll have enough room to trek on a weeklong vacation or more.

As I said, this is a two-person vehicle. Let's not fool ourselves. It has four doors, but the two rear doors should be for access to the back seats for storage purposes. If you want to carry more than two full-body passengers, buy a station wagon or a used vehicle with far more space (if you're running a budget).

Really though, who drives a vehicle with more than two people unless he/she is married. This is a vehicle for commuting, for a single person, or for a techie or small businessperson.

The sound system sounds just fine. The "normal" person needs no further augmentation in the form of amplifiers, boosted speakers, and the like. This comes from a guy who listens to music and movies in a room with 5.1 DTS digital surround sound with five speakers and a subwoofer. My burned-CDs sound very good in the standard audio system of this vehicle.

The A/C and the heater fire up very quickly. Nice and cool or nice and warm within seconds. Nice system.

New for the 2002 Tracker models are arm rests on the front bucket seats, adjustable head rests, a new audio interface (new set of buttons on the radio), lamp lites, and cargo net (all standard). The cargo net was previously an option.

Essentially, this is the same vehicle as Suzuki cranked out in 1999, the year they totally re-vamped the Tracker. Previously, it was under the Geo brand and was not the vehicle it is today, in any terms of language. The Geo infamism is thing of the past. This is a quality vehicle that has run for me for four years now, without a hint of a problem. Hey, with this vehicle you get a foreign built unit with local dealership benefits. How can you beat that?

The only other unit that comes close to offering what this vehicle does is the KIA Sportage. I nearly purchased the Sportage as opposed to leasing my Tracker. In the end, it came down to trusting that General Motors would take care of me, all the while giving me an engine that was built by people who know how to build engines that don't break down (i.e. non-lazy, non-union foreign workers), as opposed to a relatively unproven brand with virtually no track record. Although KIA Motors, as I now understand it, is BUILDING, mind you, an impressive track record, I went for 80 years worth of car selling experience: GM/Chevrolet. I figured these guys would know how to handle a problem, and, a dealer would be in site every 15 miles. KIA, on the other hand, you might find scattered around every 50-100 miles, as far as a dealership.

My dealer is Suburban Chevrolet, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, which leased this vehicle to me below cost of invoice (in other words they took a loss, for whatever reasons). My lease was based on the end price of approximately $19,000.

Once again, I have a small SUV with a 2.0 4 cylinder engine, A/C, CD player, cruise control, keyless entry, automatic transmission, tilt steering, roof rack, lamp lites, alloy wheels, automatic windows/locks, rear defogger, and whatever else comes standard on this model. All this for $19,000. Negotiated via carsoup.com, an online car sales service that helps consumers force dealers to butt heads for the rock-bottom, dirt-cheapest price in the greater, greater area.

I highly recommend the Chevy Base 4-door Tracker.

Always yours, brad.

Amount Paid (US$): 19000.00
Condition: New
Model and Options: Tracker Base 4-door
Product Rating: 5.0
Recommended: Yes 
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