There’s a new machine rumbling around the farm these days.
Meet the Trucklet, our 1995 (ish?) Geo Tracker. We’ve had an ATV on the farm for a while, which was quite handy when you needed to get across the farm in a hurry. It just wasn’t as handy if you needed to take any stuff with you. A small diversified livestock farm entails hauling lots of 5-gallon buckets, 55-gallon drums and 150-gallon water tanks to and fro.
Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to haul those things on an ATV but it is probably not safe and definitely not comfortable.
We decided to look into something a little bigger and a little more capable. A side-by-side UTV would be ideal, I suspect there’s a reason why nearly every farmer around here has one, but holy cow they’re expensive! We ended up with a Geo/Chevy Tracker (nee Suzuki Sidekick) for the princely sum of $1000.
Awesome things about Trackers & Sidekicks:
They’re cheap – manufactured from 1989-2007 (in the US) there are a ton of them for sale and that means they’re cheap. I’ve seen them for as little as $500. Compare that to $6000-8000 for a Japanese Mini-Truck or $10,000-15,000 for a UTV.
Parts are cheap – With so many of them on the road, you can find any part you’ll ever need at just about any auto-parts store or junkyard. Compare that to an ATV or UTV where you’ll have to buy parts online or from the dealership and the sticker-shock on those parts might just detach your retinas.
It’s small – Tracker/Sidekicks are only 60″ wide, that’s the same width as a UTV. They’re just about the same length too. That means they’ll go places where most other trucks just won’t fit.
It’s a truck – they’re built like trucks anyway. Body-on-frame, hi-lo transfer case, manual transmission, all that good stuff. Plus you get all the creature comforts of a high-end UTV: lights, roof, doors, heat and a radio.
So what’s the downside to this awesome beast? Well, the main thing is that it’s a motor-vehicle, so if you want to drive it on a public road it needs to be licensed and insured and all that jazz. Not too big of a deal for us since we plan on it being a strictly on-farm vehicle.
The other drawbacks are primarily related to our Tracker being a cheap used car. The power steering pump leaks, the brakes are soft, the tires are bald and the ignition switch is messed up. Those are my kind of downsides. The easily fixed kind.
Andrew, we’ve done the same thing on our farm over the years with old Blazers, Jimmys, old cars even. You do have to spend a little more on upkeep, but if you can do a lot of the repairs yourself I’m sure you’ll be money ahead because as you said, they want a lot for UTVs new.