Geo Tracker Informationby Dennis Hartman
The Geo Tracker was a subcompact SUV manufactured and marketed by General Motors through its Geo division. The Tracker was sold in several countries, and was sometimes badged the Chevrolet Tracker in markets where the Geo brand was unknown. As a four-wheel drive convertible, the Geo Tracker was intended to compete with SUVs such as the Jeep Wrangler.
Origins and Design
The Geo Tracker was developed by CAMI automotive, which was a collaboration between General Motors of Canada and Japanese automaker Suzuki. While the first Geo Tracker models were produced in Japan, production moved to Canada in 1990. Like the Jeep Wrangler from Chrysler, the Geo Tracker was a subcompact SUV built on a light truck frame, making it a capable off-road performer that was also small enough to be maneuvered on narrow trails.
The Geo Tracker was first built using an existing Suzuki engine, known as the G16A. The 1.6 liter inline-4 cylinder engine features a single overhead cam and eight valves, resulting in an output of just 80 horsepower. Retuning of the engine would result in somewhat improved horsepower ratings over the following years. Several transmissions were available, including a 3- and 4-speed automatic and a 5-speed manual.
Besides its small size, the Geo Tracker sported several notable off-road features. These included a ball steering system, heavy-duty front and rear suspension and a transfer case for low gearing in off-road conditions. The Geo Tracker was also available with either two or four doors, and could be ordered with a folding convertible top. Optional equipment included anti-lock brakes, a premium audio system and a theft deterrent system.
The Geo Tracker was also sold in a slightly modified version as the Suzuki Sidekick. The Sidekick was sold in several different trim levels, and could be purchased with two-wheel drive for less than the Geo Tracker. Fully equipped models sold for more than a fully loaded tracker. Engine and transmission options were shared between the two models, as were most suspension and body components.
1999 and Beyond
In 1998, General Motors discontinued the Geo brand. A new version of the tracker was released as the Chevrolet Tracker. The new model, based on Suzuki's existing Grand Vitara, was available with a V6 engine, and once again, was offered with either two or four doors. It was both longer and wider than its predecessor, and included new convenience options like power automatic windows and a tilt steering wheel. The second generation Tracker was discontinued in 2008.
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