What's New for 2001
Now into its third year of the current bodystyle, the Tracker gets a new V6 and a new LT trim package on four-door models. Air conditioning, AM/FM cassette stereo, and child seat tether anchors are now standard on all models. The base 1.6-liter engine has been dropped in favor of the more powerful 127-horsepower 2.0-liter that is now standard on all two-door and base four-door models.
Although completely redesigned in 1999, the Tracker faces stiff competition in the hot new mini-ute category. New vehicles like the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, and the upcoming redesign of the CR-V will cause serious problems for the aging Tracker.Unlike many of today's unibody mini-SUVs built off car platforms, Tracker boasts full body-on-frame construction. But suspension and steering upgrades hide the rigid chassis, resulting in decent ride and handling, with surprising stability and 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 rounded roofline, sloping hood and sleek flanks, Tracker's design is stylish enough; whether you choose the two-door soft-top model or four-door hardtop. Better still, Tracker's interior is comfortable and features functional ergonomics. Four-door Trackers now come in three trim levels: base, ZR2, and the newly available LT package that includes a premium cloth interior, chrome grille, and larger wheels and tires in addition to the normal amenities like power windows, door locks and mirrors. Child security rear door locks are standard on all four-door models; air conditioning and an AM/FM/cassette stereo are standard on all models. Four-door Trackers have surprisingly comfortable rear seating 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 adversarial 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 base model four-doors and both ZR2 and base two-doors. 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. Four door models in either ZR2 or LT trim now come with a 2.5-liter DOHC V6 standard. Putting out 155 hp and 160 ft-lbs. of torque, this is a welcome improvement, but it still lags behind the V6s of the Ford and Mazda twins whose top engines manage a healthy 200 hp.Power-hungry drivers aside, there's no denying that fun-in-the-sun motoring is possible from behind the wheel of a little Tracker convertible -- even more so with the go-anywhere attitude afforded by its optional 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.