Originally Posted by GatoXL7
I am selling my '96 Volvo 850 to fund the purchase of a Suzuki Samurai, but there isn't many out there; I would like a hardtop version. A friend told me the Geo Tracker is the same car, but I don't know about that.
Is there a difference in the engine/tranny? If there isn't a difference then I'd probably consider a Tracker since I've seen a few at decent prices, even thoug I don't like the square lights (could they be changed to rounds like the Samurai?)
I am a new Suzuki fan and I lack the knowledge most of you here have.
The Suzuki Samurai is NOT
the same as a Geo Tracker or Suzuki Sidekick! (*we call them TracKicks for short...
) As you might have guessed, the Geo Tracker and the Suzuki Sidekick are nearly identical except for the badging. Most units sold in North America came from the same plant (CAMI) in Canada. Early Sidekicks came from Japan. They can be identified by their VIN.
Actual 2-door hardtops (we call 'em "tintops") in either model are hard to find -few were sold in North America. Aftermarket 2-door hardtops were available and may still be available (mostly used, I would bet...)
The engines - while very similar - require a swap kit to install from a TracKick to a Samurai.
The suspension is VERY different - Independent Front Suspension (IFS) on the TracKick vs Solid Axle on the Samurai.
The transmission/transfer case is different. The T-case bolts to the transmission on a Trackick. The T- case on a Samurai is "divorced" - driven by an intermediate shaft.
Finding a 2wd Samurai is next to impossible. Not so much on the TracKick.
There was only one transmission available (manual 5-speed) on the Samurai. You could get an automatic transmission on the TracKick - 3-speed on the two door, 4-speed on the larger 4-door.
The Samurai is has a harsh ride while the TracKick has a comfortable ride.
A well-maintained TracKick can be easy on the wallet. A worn-out Samurai (most of them are), not so much in a relative fashion. They are still cheaper than a Jeep/Wrangler or CJ.
A Samurai is much easier to modify for off-roading. A TracKick is not.
People do swap tracKick engines and transmissions into Samurais, but it is not an easy plug-and-play task for an novice automotive mechanic.
I have both a Samurai and two Trackers. I recently had to use the Samurai as a daily driver. Compared to the '02 Tracker 4-door (or the '96 2-door for that matter), it was not the most pleasant cold-weather driving experience.
I hope that this helps in your choice!