For many of us, sport-utility vehicles are the stuff of lottery-winning fantasies. Most SUVs cost more than $35,000, many cost upwards of $50,000. But not all of them have to mean a huge deduction from your bank account. Of the truly trail-worthy SUVs, Chevrolet's new Tracker 4X4 is one of the least expensive. And, you might be surprised to read, it's one of the most satisfying. Like other small SUVs, such as Honda's CR-V and Toyota's RAV4, the Tracker fits a number of needs. It's got cubbyholes and storage space galore, places to store everything from mountain bikes to Rollerblades. And though it may be small, the Tracker has the power to cut and thrust through city traffic. With four-wheel drive, it inspires confidence in the wet and snowy months. The Tracker takes small SUVs a step farther than Honda's CR-V and Toyota's RAV4. The Chevy Tracker boasts a sturdy structure underneath its sheet metal that makes it more suitable for serious off-road travel. It's built on a ladder frame. And its four-wheel-drive system offers a low-range set of gears for off-road trail rides and hill climbs. Add in 8 inches of ground clearance, and the Tracker has the goods for any activity, on or off the pavement. So the Tracker might even tug you to an off-road adventure. Chevy's Tracker would make an enjoyable economy car even if it came without the wagon body and off-road gear. But with its tall roof and 4X4 capability, the Tracker makes a strong case as an all-in-one vehicle that suits a wide range of needs. It's a slick piece of work -- and a hip choice if your annual car budget has just one line item.
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