What's New for 2000
After a complete redesign in 1999, new colors sum up the changes for 2000.
An all-new Tracker arrived last year, with a fresh look and revamped interior that made it more attractive to folks cross-shopping the Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V mini-utes. Only the name and a handful of components carried over from the previous-generation Tracker.
Unlike many of today's unibody mini-SUVs built off car platforms, Tracker boasts full ladder-type frame construction. But suspension and steering upgrades hide the rigid chassis, resulting in improved ride and handling, with better stability and more substantial road feel. Power front disc brakes with rear drums bring things to a halt, while four-wheel ABS is optional. A "shift-on-the-fly" four-wheel-drive system with automatic locking front hubs is standard on all 4WD models.
With its lower roofline, sloping hood and rounded flanks, Tracker's design is more modern than its chunky predecessor, whether you choose the two-door soft-top model or four-door hardtop. Better still, Tracker's interior is more comfortable and features better ergonomics. Four-door Trackers can be equipped with power windows, door locks and mirrors, while child security rear door locks are standard. Rear seating is surprisingly comfortable for two adults. Stowing the rear seat provides a nearly flat load floor, but maximum cargo space still trails primary competitors.
The two-door convertibles have a two-piece "easy-opening" top that opens up the front section, rear section or both to the sun, but you'll still utilize the uncouth parts of your vocabulary while raising or lowering the roof. Dealer-installed exterior accessory packages can also be added to custom-tailor your Tracker for more serious on- or off-road duty, if you so desire.
A 2.0-liter, 16-valve, DOHC four-cylinder engine is standard on the four-door and optional on convertibles. It puts out 127 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 134 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 revs through a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission. The base motor on the two-door is a 1.6-liter inline four available only with the stick shift - but the little motor's 97 tortured ponies and mere 100 foot-pounds of torque demand that you opt for the bigger engine mated to the five-speed. But even with its more powerful engine, the Tracker is woefully wheezy while under hard acceleration -- buzzing and complaining well before redline.
Power-hungry drivers aside, there's no denying that fun-in-the-sun motoring takes on fresh meaning behind the wheel of a little Tracker convertible -- even more so with the go-anywhere attitude afforded by four-wheel drive. And more practical-minded folks will no doubt appreciate the blend of good utility and fuel economy afforded by a Tracker four-door.