1997 Geo Tracker Review

Used Tracker for sale
List Price Estimate:$419 - $890
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Geo Tracker model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Low price, cute styling, excellent visibility, performs well off-road
  • Underpowered engine, small cargo area, tippy handling, convertible top is difficult to manage

Vehicle overview

To the delight of Chevrolet dealers, Geo introduced a new four-door hardtop variant of the cute little Tracker last year. Also new in 1996 was a revised instrument panel with dual airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes were optional. So equipped, the new Tracker proved quite popular in the burgeoning mini sport-ute marketplace.

After a heavy makeover for 1996, changes for 1997 are limited. Convertibles get a standard fold-and-stow rear bench seat along with an enhanced evaporative emissions system. All Trackers can be painted Sunset Red Metallic or Azurite Blue Metallic for the first time. Prices have been at or near 1996 levels in an effort to make the Tracker more attractive to folks shopping Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

Fun-in-the-sun takes on fresh meaning behind the wheel of a snug-but-cozy Tracker convertible, whether its engine is driving two wheels or four. A 16-valve engine powers all Tracker models, sending out 95 horsepower. Naturally, the optional automatic transmission saps much of that strength.

Short and stubby, these friendly little vehicles maneuver easily but handle with a very light, sometimes twitchy touch on both the highway and off-road. They're more solidly built than they appear at first glance--not at all like a toy--and deliver a passably pleasant ride most of the time. Differing little from the Suzuki Sidekick, Trackers look and feel substantial, though during off-road driving, the door frames shudder just enough to let in a fine silt of dust that coats every plastic interior trim piece. Front seats are firm but lack leg support, and wear nice-looking upholstery. The rear seat of four-door models is surprisingly comfortable for two adults. Dual cupholders and a storage tray sit in the center console.

Convertibles have an "easy opening" top that folds in two ways: either the front half folds back like a sunroof, or the entire canvas top can be stowed for fully open motoring. Though improved, putting the top up and down still isn't exactly a quickie operation. Several "expressions packages" feature color-keyed convertible tops and wheels, and a Tracker can be equipped to tow half a ton. LSi editions feature automatic-locking hubs, which are nice to have if you switch often between two- and four-wheel drive.

Four-door models can be equipped with power windows, door locks and mirrors. Child security rear door locks are standard on four-door, and daytime running lights are standard on all Trackers. The 1.6-liter engine provides barely enough power in convertibles; in the four-door the engine is severely overmatched. Interstate cruising requires putting the pedal nearly to the metal just to maintain speed.

Would you want the convertible as your sole vehicle? Probably not, but a soft top Tracker in the garage just might turn sunny summer days into a veritable binge of adventure. Practical-minded folks, on the other hand, might prefer the weather-tight construction of a hardtop model. Sadly, we can't recommend using a Tracker for anything but light duty in the flatlands. The 1.6-liter motor is zippy enough to keep up in city traffic, but a heavy load of passengers or cargo keeps the Tracker's breathless engine wound out tightly on slight inclines or at freeway speeds. With a bigger engine, lightly-equipped Trackers would certainly give the competition a run for the money.

1997 Highlights

After a heavy makeover for 1996, changes for 1997 are limited. Convertibles get a standard fold-and-stow rear bench seat along with an enhanced evaporative emissions system. All Trackers can be painted Sunset Red Metallic or Azurite Blue Metallic for the first time.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Geo Tracker.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.25 out of 5 stars
Best Little Car On the Market
2dr SUV 4WD w/Soft Top
I bought my Tracker for $1750; it had 73,800 miles on it, ran awesome, and was in good shape for a 14 year old car. One of the best moves I've ever made. In the winter it's great because it has 4x4 and is amazing in the snow. In the summer it's great because it's a convertible and it's surprisingly phenomenal off-road, even when completely stock. It's durable and can handle lots of work. For such a small car it can fit 1/3 cord of wood, and you won't wreck the strong interior. It's uncomfortable and 55mph on the highway is 3K rpm, but it gets 35 mpg, it's amazingly reliable, and it has the heart and soul of a big truck.
4.5 out of 5 stars
great car
LSi 4dr SUV 4WD
Had the car ten years, changed the oil and plugs every year, had 196,000 miles when I sold to co-worker in feb 2008, he is still driving it. It had no Major problems.
4 out of 5 stars
97 Tracker
LSi 4dr SUV 4WD
I have put 200,000 miles on this 5 spd 4WD Tracker and consider it to be trouble free and cheap to drive. The worst that I have gotten was 27 MPG and that was in 4WD on snow. I get between 30 and 35 MPG with every tank. Maint: replaced the front brakes 3 times, rear brakes 2 times; starter and alternator once; tires every 45,; just replaced the speedometer cluster because the speedometer quit working; some light bulbs have never been replaced. If a vehicle lasts this long in WV it's a good design. I'll be looking for a newer Tracker in another 50K or so.
4.25 out of 5 stars
97 GEO LSI our Best Buy!
Barry Cantrell,11/13/2006
LSi 4dr SUV 4WD
We bought our LSI 4X4 4 Door. I wanted black but we ended up with the dull red one, my wife loves it, I accepted it, it is her car! We had them add remote locks, but it came loaded, CD prim, pwr everything except seats. It has 130k and we changed: brakes, front autohub to manual (auto were too expensive, though it came with auto) O2 sensors-2x, complete exhaust-converter, tires so over all that is great! We did have to redo the AC. The gate lift handle cover fell off, put back. Wife loves it, I am crippeled with bad back, more than 30 miles I have to have a pain hypo! Not good on windy days! Rust on bottom-rockers/quarters.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Geo Tracker

Used 1997 Geo Tracker Overview

The Used 1997 Geo Tracker is offered in the following submodels: Tracker SUV. Available styles include 2dr SUV 4WD w/Soft Top, 4dr SUV, 4dr SUV 4WD, 2dr SUV w/Soft Top, LSi 4dr SUV, and LSi 4dr SUV 4WD. Pre-owned Geo Tracker models are available with a 1.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 95 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 Geo Tracker comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Geo Tracker?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1997 Geo Trackers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Geo Tracker for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Geo Tracker.

Can't find a used 1997 Geo Trackers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Geo Tracker for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $23,069.

Find a used Geo for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $23,033.

Find a used certified pre-owned Geo Tracker for sale - 10 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $10,904.

Find a used certified pre-owned Geo for sale - 2 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $18,454.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Geo Tracker?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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