The Chevrolet Tracker is a fantastic little SUV that was mostly built in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada as a badge-engineered Suzuki Vitara. Sure, it had independent front suspension, but this thing was properly capable off-road with low range, available skid plates, and eight inches of ground clearance. While larger SUVs would be getting stuck in the mud, this cute ute would be bounding overtop the terrain like a gleeful little terrier, steadily clearing a path with a sunny disposition. David Tracy had one and absolutely fell in love.
Unfortunately, as these things were fairly cheap to buy and run when new, the vast majority of them got chewed up and spit out like sunflower seed shells. Since they cost pennies to run, many Trackers were picked out as My First Off-Roaders, bashed off of trees and generally neglected. However, some survived longer than others because of an unlikely use case.
While the Tracker was designed to hit the forests and mountains, its low entry price, light construction, and manual transfer case rendered it a favorite of RV owners. If you own an automatic Tracker, just put the transfer case in neutral, turn the key one click to disable the steering lock, keep the transmission in park, and you can safely tow it behind an RV so you have an easy-to-drive, maneuverable vehicle to get around in once you park your moon-sized motorhome.
The days of RV-towed Trackers are largely behind us since U.S.-market production ended in 2004, so this immaculate example is quite the curiosity. It’s up for sale in New Jersey for a steep $14,495, but it has an odometer that could help justify this price point. According to the vehicle’s odometer, the little two-liter four-cylinder engine in this Tracker has covered just 3,913 miles since it was brand new in 1999. That sounds absurd, but it’s backed up by the Carfax and the vehicle’s visual condition.
On this Tracker, the unpainted plastics still have a deep satin sheen, the glued mouse-fur upholstery seems frozen in time, and every single button and label appear almost untouched. I don’t think I’ve seen a Tracker this nice in nearly 20 years. Just look at the texture of that cargo area carpeting. It exudes a scratchiness that could only have come from a time before every automaker grew obsessed with the concept of premium.
However, this Tracker isn’t perfect. Its history report claims that it suffered front end damage in a 2002 collision, but doesn’t list a damage amount. Presumably, it wasn’t a shockingly massive hit given that these were cheap and cheerful when new, but the vehicle’s said to have needed a tow from the scene.
It’s always weird and wonderful to see relatively mundane cars preserved to museum level, as the stories those cars can tell must be unusual. Was this Tracker a dinghy, a church-and-back Sunday driver, or just part of a collection? Regardless, it seems to have been loved and cherished, perhaps for its honesty or perhaps for its legacy.
While I’d normally say that nearly $15,000 is far too much for a Chevrolet Tracker, the used car market right now is really weird. I mean, that same sort of money gets you a 15-year-old Toyota RAV4 with 70,000 miles, and that’s not really a rough-and-tumble off-roader. So, what do you say? Could you see someone paying $14,495 for what might be the world’s nicest Chevrolet Tracker, or is that price a bridge too far?
(Photo credits: Cars.com seller)
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Here’s a long, incredibly detailed VINWiki interview with a guy who’s bonkers about Trackers. If there was an equivalent vehicle for sale today, I’d probably be its target demographic, I never got over Suzuki picking up their toys and going home.
“keep the transmission in park, and you can safely tow it behind an RV”
I think that’s how it’s done,with the T case in neutral of course.