New & Used Chevrolet Trax: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Trax is the companion piece to the Buick Encore--it's a crossover in the subcompact size class, with handling and performance more like an economy hatchback. Sized like the Chevy Sonic but built on a mostly unrelated architecture, the Trax has rivals with varying degrees of ruggedness, including the Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, and the Encore.
The Trax has been on sale in Canada, Mexico, and various other international markets since the 2013 model year, but arrives in U.S. showrooms early in 2015, for the 2015 model year.
MORE: read our 2015 Chevrolet Trax preview
At about 169 inches long and 61-inch-wide track, with a 101-inch wheelbase, the Trax essentially gives GM a model to at last replace the Pontiac Vibe. It takes up about the parking space of a subcompact car; although its greater height should give it more versatility, as well as the significantly higher seating position that some prefer.
A 138-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will power all U.S.-bound Trax models. It makes 148 lb-ft of peak torque at just 1,850 rpm and is hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings should be 26 mpg city, 34 highway. And based on our driving experience in the closely related Buick Encore, we anticipate the Trax to feel confident but not lively or particularly fun. Suspension underpinnings are pretty typical for this type of vehicle; a column-mounted electric-boost power steering provides maneuverability and responsiveness, and all models will include four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated in front).
The Trax fits right in with the rest of the Chevrolet small-car lineup, with a rather tall hoodline and blunt snout, showcasing the Chevrolet dual-port grille and bowtie design. That tall nose meets a body that otherwise looks like an elevated hatchback, with some body-side sculpting helping to avoid too much of a slab-sided look. Yet faux skid plates and rubberized wheel-well liners hint at a more rugged side that might or might not actually be there. Inside, the Trax gets a look that has quite a bit in common with the Chevy Sonic hatchback—including a version of the Sonic’s motorcycle-inspired instrument panel (digital speedometer, analog tach).
Four adults (technically up to five) can fit in the Trax, which includes all the hatchback versatility you’d expect; in back, you get 60/40-split folding seats that do fold flat, and even the front passenger seat will fold flat for longer items. Cargo space expands from 18.7 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks up, to 48.4 cubic feet with them folded forward, and there are plenty of cubbies for the smaller things.
For the U.S., the Trax will include ten standard airbags and a rearview camera system, as well as an electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation, electronic brake force distribution, and Brake Assist. Standard features and options haven’t yet been released, but LS, LT, and LTZ trims will be offered, and upper trims will include next-generation OnStar telematics services and MyLink connectivity, with an available seven-inch color touch-screen system, additional USB ports, and SiriusXM satellite radio services.
That system is compatible with expanded Siri Eyes Free connectivity for iPhone models, and with the BringGo navigation app, which allows smartphone users with the installed app to project maps and directions to the vehicle’s display screen. Chevrolet’s new OnStar 4G LTE embedded vehicle data system will also be offered in the Trax, potentially turning the vehicle into a Wi-Fi hotspot when needed.