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I'm moving to Duluth, MN next summer, and I'm seriously worried about my
'95 Suzuki Sidekick. It needs some work before this winter, but a Duluth winter pales in comparison to a Minneapolis one. Hills plus snow and black ice = no fun. I'm aware of the price involved, but am not quite sure how I should go about doing the things I'm thinking of

To start with, one of the first things I noticed about my Sidekick is its center of gravity. To correct it I wanted to widen my axels. While doing this, bigger rims and wheels. That part is just mainly for fun, although it will undoubtedly help with large amounts of snow.

The second (or third) project would be a more powerful engine. One of my peeves about this car is that it has decent acceleration in 1st and 2nd gear, but, in later gears, loses all enthusiasm for speed. What engine would be an easy swap for this car? I'm aware of the 4.3 Chevy Vortec V6, but the only information I can find out is all kits and shop packages.

These two (or three) things are what is picking at my mind. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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