When I have decks available in the marketplace, I grade my units with this:
What you want is an A- or A+ deck.
I'm really harsh with grading, and EP performance is one of my top concerns.
There's no model that does well at EP, though "in general" the AG-1980P is better than most JVCs. But some JVCs can be superior, especially with certain tapes. The condition of the deck is really what matters most, not merely model.
Tracking is a statement on head wear, transport, and just overall deck condition. It's not cause>effect, but affect. The more worn down the unit gets, the harder a time it will have with tracking tapes.
I'm becoming less and less of an AG-1980 fan due to the expensive PITA upkeep on them. They're money pits. You can pretty much expect to drop $500 per unit, for repairs, within a few years. So never overpay for an AG-1980 that isn't heavily vetted, or recently recapped.