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I have a 2002 Vitara, 4 door, 2.0L/auto, 4WD. I have switched the wheels to Tracker 15" alloys, and installed a set of 215/75/15 BFG ATs, but left the suspension 100% stock. I live in a rural area with some decent hills to contend with, and an hour+ long commute.

In the winter (and here in Phoenix, even "winter" temps are typically in the 60s during the day...it's exceptionally rare to get below freezing temps), with the AC off, the 2.0 is just BARELY enough to maintain 65-70mph on a slight incline. Any kind of actual hill, and it's doing the 3rd/OD dance. With the AC on, even those slight inclines starts the gear dance - slows about 5mph, drops to 3rd, pulls decent back up to 3 or 4 mph beyond the set cruise speed, shifts into OD, and repeat. I'll usually lock out OD on the hills, but it's a bit annoying to listen to the engine screaming...especially with the muffler delete after smashing several mufflers off road (plus, I like being able to hear the motor better to be able to "hear" the RPM rather than looking at the tach off road).

I've decided that I really miss having a soft top in the cooler months, and began looking for a 2 door softop, 5 speed, 2nd gen Vitara/Tracker. I've found the 2nd gen soft tops are pretty rare down here, and finding them with the 5 speed is virtually unobtanium.

However, the 1st gen Trackicks aren't so rare...but will I notice a big drop in performance going to the smaller 1.6 motors? I'm thinking that dropping some weight going to a 2 door soft top will help somewhat. I'd like to stay with a 4WD, just in case the road to my property gets muddy after a big rain storm, but I have zero intentions to lift it/put bigger tires on (I also have a built Samurai for wheeling duties, and a Scout rock crawler).
 
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