VIDEO: The Geo Tracker should be your next overlanding rig

When you think Geo Tracker, your brain typically conjures the image of a convertible top, two-door, cute-ute, maybe in some jaunty color, maybe hanging out at the beach. But the Tracker, and the Suzuki Sidekick it was based on, had actual off-roading chops that should have made it a real competitor in the SUV wars of the mid-90s. With Land Cruiser prices skyrocketing, there’s no reason why the Tracker can’t be your off-grid apocalypse survival machine.

As seen in this Motorweek review of a 1996 Geo Tracker LSi, the four-door version had a lot going for it. Firstly, Suzuki never shied away from building true 4x4s, and no matter how small the platform, they underpinned them with ladder-frames and real off-road equipment like locking hubs and a 2-speed transfer case. As the video notes, its 7.5-inch ground clearance was greater than a Ford Explorer’s and despite the rugged construction cost $1,000 less than a car-based Toyota RAV4.

Power came from a 16-valve, 1.6-liter inline-four good for 95 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque, mated to either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual. That’s not a lot of power, but even the four-doors weighed in at around 2,700 pounds, less than the mass of a modern Honda Civic. And as anyone who’s played Gran Turismo 2 knows, it has motorsports provenance as well in the form of Monster Tajima’s Escudo rally car that absolutely rips. The LSi came with oh-so-90s 3-spoke alloys, and a 4-wheel-drive version started at $16,025 (a 4×2 started at $14,885). That’s a fantastic bargain for what you were getting.

Tragically, they never sold in large numbers, making their current availability scarce. For armageddon-type scenarios, we’s have to recommend the four-door hardtop in order to provide your family members and scavenged gear some semblance of protection from bears and marauding bandits. Though this generation’s four-door Tracker only sold for three years, from 1996-98, the Suzuki Sidekick might give you more Craigslist returns as it had a quad-portal variant since 1991. In any case, this is one sleeper SUV you shouldn’t sleep on.

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8 Responses to VIDEO: The Geo Tracker should be your next overlanding rig

  1. Angela said:

    Love my tracker. Had 4 of the jeep type but now my dogs are old So I found a 4 door wagon style
    Love the rear door opens like a door and lots of cargo room to transport

  2. Lou said:

    I have a 1992 Suzuki Sidekick.

  3. Stanglifemike said:

    I occasionally drive my Dad’s 93 Tracker LSI he bought new in 93. It’s black with black interior, black soft top, and has a 5 speed manual with 4WD. The Tracker really is a GREAT vehicle!! He bought it just to drive to work, and since he’s now retired it doesn’t get driven much. In 26 years and 130k miles, other than routine maintenance (oil, fluids, brakes, clutch) it hasn’t needed anything except a water pump!! It’s been a really great vehicle and he absolutely LOVES it. Sometimes I think he actually likes it more than his new Sierra Denali!!

  4. Stanglifemike said:

    I occasionally drive my Dad’s 93 Tracker LSI he bought new in 93. It’s black with black interior, black soft top, and has a 5 speed manual with 4WD. He bought it just to drive to work, and since he’s retired now it doesn’t get driven much. In 26 years and 130k miles, other than routine maintenance (oil, fluids, brakes, clutch) it hasn’t needed anything except a water pump!! It’s been a really great vehicle and he absolutely LOVES it. Sometimes I think he actually likes it more than his new Sierra Denali!!

  5. I have an awesome lifted 1993 Tracker with 38k miles! For sale!

  6. Sandra said:

    I have a 2003 geo tracker takes me everywhere

  7. Clay said:

    Lots of 2-door Geo Trackers here in Tennessee on Facebook Marketplace.

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