2015 Chevrolet Trax LT AWD Review
Affordable yes, but also cheap.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 22nd, 2015
Something odd is going on in the SUV/crossover universe: things are shrinking. Centers of gravity are being lowered, wheelbases are shortening, and tonnage is reducing. Meanwhile, in the car universe, models that are known and loved precisely because of their diminutive stature (Mini, Fit, 500) are being super-sized to appeal to those who won't crossover to the crossover market.
That's where the Chevy Trax comes in. It's either a bizarrely proportioned car, or what's known as a compact SUV. Whatever you call it, Chevy is hoping this new Sonic-based mini-maxi makes inroads in this fast growing market.
The problems with this new, ill-defined segment (the Trax is classified as a compact SUV, a midsize CUV, and a mini SUV/CUV, depending on the country) are all embarrassingly obvious on the Trax. From the front it looks positively gargantuan, but once you get to the windshield it becomes some weird not-quite hatchback, all of which leads to the typical "what the hell is it?" reaction.
Its looks are original, at least, which must be applauded in this era of bland same-old-same-old-ness. And who knows, some may love the Trax's design - which looks kind of like a Sonic, a Lexus, and a Peterbilt all went through a transporter at the same time and everything got mixed up like on the Good Kirk/Bad Kirk episode of Star Trek (TOS, obviously).
However, the car's looks did grow on us during our one-week loan, and our overall opinion drastically improved once we started driving it.
While exterior spaces could perhaps have been differently apportioned (like less friggin' front end, maybe?), interior space is well distributed. Head- and shoulder-room are ample, and there are clever storage solutions aplenty, plus the Trax has more cubic feet of cargo space than most cars in the segment, such as the Nissan Juke, the Kia Soul, and the Jeep Renegade.
The design of the interior is okay, in a "let's just whip something up" kind of way, but the materials are, shall we say, not of the finest grade. Again, the interior is par for this price-point's course, and also well laid-out and offering a halfway decent amount of modern tech (the clunky MyLink is better than nothing, and Chevy's fleet-wide 4G LTE is a nice bonus).
But let's not discount the Trax's spaciousness - it's a major selling point. Chevy is marketing this as a city vehicle, and it's well suited for that - easy to maneuver and park, yet big enough to hold five and all their stuff. The audio system can be upgraded to a 7-speaker Bose, which we recommend over the base system, adequate though it may be for some.
On the Road
The Trax is powered by a turbocharged inline-four that makes 138 horsepower. If that doesn't seem like a lot, consider that it's nearly as powerful as the Fiat 500 Abarth's engine. This is a far less sporty car, obviously, but certainly not underpowered, and certainly capable of having some serious fun in.
The six-speed automatic transmission tries to hit the sweet spot between economy and fun, but errs on the side of economy. That will disappoint pleasure seekers, but it will thrill the thrifty, as the Trax delivers an impressive 34 mph highway/26 mph city rating, which, along with the Trax's $20,000 base price, makes the Trax a tantalizing option.
All-wheel drive is available for an impressively affordable $1,500, and it's probably a must for anyone looking for any degree of SUV-ity.
The Trax is an odd duck in an odd segment, but it distinguishes itself in terms of affordability, efficiency, and fun, which are no minor things. The Trax is compelling competitor for the Fiat 500X, the Mini Paceman, and the Nissan Juke.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: front engine, front-wheel drive
Power Output: 138 hp / 148 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 26 city / 34 highway
Base Price: $23,945
As Tested: $25,315 (incl. $875 destination)
LT Plus Package: 6-way power seats, deluxe cloth/leatherette seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, rear park assist.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Chevrolet Trax, click here: 2015 Chevrolet Trax.