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2020 Chevrolet Trax

Consumer Reviews
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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Byron Hurd Byron Hurd Contributor
June 16, 2020

Buying tip

Stick to base versions of the 2020 Chevy Trax. Spending more doesn't necessarily get more.

features & specs

AWD 4-Door LS
AWD 4-Door LT
AWD 4-Door Premier
MPG
24 city / 29 hwy
MPG
24 city / 29 hwy
MPG
24 city / 29 hwy
MSRP
$22,800
MSRP
$24,700
MSRP
$29,100

The 2020 Chevy Trax crossover has a low price for a tall ride height–and not much else.

The 2020 Chevrolet Trax may lack eye-grabbing options, but its most stand-out feature can’t be found anywhere in the order guide: price. If you’re going to buy a Trax, buy a cheap one. 

The 2020 Chevrolet Trax is a baby crossover designed for those who want good visibility and ease of entry/exit with a city-friendly footprint.

Overall, we rate the 2020 Trax at 4.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

The Trax earns most of its points on value alone, and even that is questionable once you start adding on options. Like many Chevrolets, a loaded-up Trax starts to lose its luster compared to similarly positioned competitors. At its base price of just $22,295 (including $995 for destination), it’s a reasonably decent buy.

Chevrolet didn’t make many changes to the Trax for the 2020 model year. It still comes in three variants (LS, LT and Premier) available in front- or all-wheel drive. All versions are powered by a 1.4-liter turbo-4 paired to a 6-speed automatic. While it may be small, it’s still ostensibly an SUV, and its fuel economy suffers as a result. With all-wheel drive, it maxes out at a 29-mpg highway EPA rating.

The small Trax is maneuverable enough, especially in the city, but its highway stability suffers thanks to its short wheelbase and high center of gravity. 

Compared to subcompact cars, the Trax offers a higher seating position and thus better views of the road, but the view of the inside is a bit drab. Buick’s variant, the Encore, is a little nicer inside (and consequently more expensive) but just as tight of a fit.

It would be easier to forgive the Trax for the cost of its higher trim levels if it was offered with more tech, especially in the safety department, but sadly the Premier’s advanced safety features are limited to forward-collision warnings. It cannot be equipped with automatic emergency braking at any price.

4

2020 Chevrolet Trax

Styling

The Trax looks aged compared to others in its class.

Aesthetics are not the Trax’s forte, to put it mildly. On the road, it has about as much charisma as an old pair of Dad’s sneakers. 

While it’s about as nice inside as its similarly priced competitors, we have to dock the Trax a point for its exterior. It’s a 4 out of 10. 

The basic LS trim especially does the Trax no favors. Steel wheels with obvious hub caps are a dead giveaway, but we can forgive the cheapest variant for its unpainted bumpers and lower trim, as they suit its supposedly more-rugged mission. No amount of utilitarianism will save it from its proportions, which are ungainly to say the least.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen dominates a dash with few other controls. Bumping up to the LT will get you better interior materials and some bright-finished trim, and the Premier adds contrast stitching.

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3

2020 Chevrolet Trax

Performance

Turbo power helps the Trax around down, but not much else does.

The Trax’s performance can be summarized thusly: it exists. 

We rate it 3 out of 10, which is as much a comment on the dearth of performance to be found in this class of crossover as it is an indictment of the Trax itself. 

It’s powered by a 1.4-liter, turbo-4 packing 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It’s on-par for the class. The turbocharged torque makes it punchy enough for around-town driving, but that’s about as good as the experience gets. If you need all-weather confidence, all-wheel drive is just $1,500 away.

It’s strange to think that a 6-speed transmission has become archaic, but some time spent with the Trax will remind you of that fact. Shifts are sluggish, likely to preserve highway fuel economy, but at the expense of the driving experience. 

The steering is pleasantly quick, which makes for nimble maneuvering in town, but it can make the Trax darty and seemingly less stable on the highway. This isn’t a car to drive on long road trips if your attention tends to wander. 

The Trax has only drum brakes in the rear on front-wheel drive models, with discs included in the bump to all-wheel drive. Either should be more than adequate for daily use.

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4

2020 Chevrolet Trax

Comfort & Quality

Cargo space is one of the 2020 Trax's high points.

The Trax is just 167.7 inches from bumper to bumper. That’s a plus for city parking, but there’s not much upside otherwise. We rate it 4 out of 10, dinging it for passenger comfort but adding one back for its cargo space. 

Cost was obviously a factor in appointing the little Chevy’s interior. The front seats are firm, and only the driver’s side chair offers an armrest. Four-way manual adjustment is standard for the driver’s side with six-way power adjustment available if you spend a little more. The basic cloth feels just that, while LT models get a nicer fabric and Premier bumps you up to synthetic leather. 

You don’t want to put more than two adults in the rear seat for very long, especially those who have long legs, but the rear seat space is slightly more generous than expected. 

If the Trax has a strong suit, it’s cargo area. Behind the second row, you’ll find 18.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Drop that seatback and it expands to 48.4 cubic feet, which is a serious plus for this class.

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5

2020 Chevrolet Trax

Safety

The 2020 Trax lacks automatic emergency braking.

The Trax performs well enough in crash tests for what it is, but if you’re buying a crossover or SUV for safety reasons, you might want to look at something larger with updated tech.

We rate it at 5 out of 10; its five-star NHTSA rating gives the Trax a boost, but its lack of automatic emergency braking wipes out that advantage. 

It’s a critical omission, as the competition has leapfrogged Chevrolet in that department. Both Nissan’s Kicks and Mazda’s CX-3 offer automatic emergency braking, where the Trax tops out at a mere warning system.

Apart from that, the Trax offers a fairly standard suite of safety features. Ten airbags, a rearview camera and stability control are all standard. In addition to the aforementioned five-star NHTSA rating, the Trax received “Good” ratings from the IIHS in most categories, with the exception of passenger-side small overlap, in which it scored only an “Acceptable.” The watchdog also dinged it for its lack of advanced collision avoidance technology.

Review continues below
5

2020 Chevrolet Trax

Features

Top trims of the 2020 Trax fail to impress.

For about $22,000, the 2020 Chevrolet Trax nets buyers a 3-year warranty and a new car smell, but not much else. Thanks to its value-focused equipment suite, we give the Trax only a 5 out of 10 for features. 

The base 7.0-inch infotainment system packs smartphone integration (both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), which is a nice plus. Additional standard equipment includes the four-way manual driver’s seat, air conditioning and power door locks. 

In the LT trim, you get alloy wheels, cruise control, remote start, tinted rear windows and some much-needed interior trim and material upgrades. Stepping up the Premier nets you synthetic leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, a Bose audio system, a moonroof, and lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems. 

If you load up the Trax, it’ll run you just north of $30,000, which puts you into territory where you could be considering larger or more luxurious options. While we’d normally caution against comparing across size classes like that, the Trax lacks a lot of equipment that is baked into the base trim of larger cars costing similar money.

Review continues below
5

2020 Chevrolet Trax

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Trax manages respectable fuel economy, even with all-wheel drive.

SUVs and crossovers aren’t known for being fuel misers, but thanks to its small footprint and relatively low weight, the Trax does OK in this department. 

On our scale, the 2020 Trax nets 5 out of 10. 

Front-wheel drive will save you a bit on fuel, with 26 mpg city, 31 highway, 28 combined ratings. Adding all-wheel drive will drop those figures to 24/29/26  mpg. Those numbers may not be impressive compared to some small sedans, but they’re competitive in this class, and, despite the little 1.4-liter’s turbocharger, you’ll never need premium gas.

Review continues below
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$21,300
MSRP based on FWD 4-Door LS
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4.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 4
Performance 3
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety 5
Features 5
Fuel Economy 5
Compare the 2020 Chevrolet Trax against the competition
  • 2020 Buick Encore

    5.0
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  • 2020 Ford Ecosport

    4.0
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  • 2020 Honda HR-V

    5.2
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  • 2020 Mazda CX-3

    5.7
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  • 2020 Nissan Kicks

    5.2
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