San Diego, CA – General Motors brings the Chevrolet Trax to our shores as its latest small sporty and modern SUV for the 2015 model year. Trax is set to go on sale in the U.S. in early 2015. Blending small-car agility with SUV utility and functionality, the Trax is Chevrolet’s seventh small vehicle to be launched in less than four years. The emerging small-SUV market segment is expected to increase more than 80 percent by 2016.
The Chevrolet Trax, which seats five in up to eight seating/cargo configurations, will be available in three trim levels: the base LS; LT; and top-of-the-line LTZ. The standard drive configuration is front-wheel drive, with All-Wheel drive available as a $1,500 option. The starting price point for a FWD Trax in LS trim will be $20,995. A Destination and Handling charge of $875 applies to all models.
Premium features are offered across the entire range, including: sixteen-inch wheels as standard fare on LS and LT models, with 18-inch aluminum wheels standard on LTZ models; Rear park assist is available on LT and standard on LTZ; the contemporary interior environment features an instrument cluster with a large, performance-style analog tachometer combined with a prominent digital display for the speedometer and other readouts, which also includes a 3.5-inch-diagonal driver information center display with ice blue backlighting; heated front seats with leatherette trim are standard on LTZ, while deluxe cloth/leatherette seating trim is available on LT; a Bose seven-speaker sound system is available on LT and standard on LTZ models; a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel is available on LT and standard on LTZ trim vehicles; fog lamps are standard on LTZ; roof rails are standard on LT and LTZ; a six-way power driver seat adjuster is available on LT and standard on LTZ; LT and LTZ models offer an available Power sliding sunroof; Heated power-adjustable mirrors are standard on LT and LTZ; and an Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror comes as standard on LTZ.
The Chevrolet Trax provides up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded flat, with 18.7 cubic feet of storage behind the 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks. There’s also a segment exclusive fold-flat front passenger seat to accommodate lengthy items up to eight feet long. Fifteen interior storage compartments lead the segment competition.
Visually, the Trax is a Chevy through and through. The exterior leads off with
Chevy’s signature dual-port grille, prominent bowtie emblem and swept-back headlamps, making Trax readily identifiable as a contemporary Chevrolet. The grille design with chrome accents follows suit with other Chevrolet models as well and provides a cohesive appearance across the brand’s crossover and small car lineup. Available styling cues such as front fog lamps and simulated front and rear skid plates provide a sportier look, while vertical tail lamps flank the tailgate, accenting the taut body lines and dramatically pronounced wheel well arches that display a confident stance.
Moving to the interior, Trax’s distinctive styling carries over to a dual-cockpit instrument panel. In the center, it houses a seven-inch, high-resolution, full-color display for the standard MyLink voice-activated infotainment system. It also features displays for available SiriusXM satellite radio and standard rearview camera, as well as the available GPS-enabled app navigation system that customers may download.
The instrument cluster is inspired by the bold design found in the Sonic, featuring a large, performance-style analog tachometer combined with a prominent digital display for the speedometer and other readouts. A small-diameter, thick-rimmed steering wheel enhances the sporty atmosphere, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel on LTZ and some LT models. There is a two-tier glove box with a USB port and auxiliary jack in the upper level for plug-in media. Interior colors offered are Jet Black, Jet Black/Light Titanium and Jet Black/Brownstone.
Powering the entire Chevrolet Trax lineup is an Ecotec 1.4-liter, 16-valve, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection and electronic throttle control. The four banger delivers 138 horsepower at 4,900 rpm, while developing 148 pound feet of torque at 1,850 rpm. Energy from the transversely mounted front engine is routed to the driving wheels via a Hydra-Matic 6T40 Six-speed automatic transmission. Estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
Connectivity and infotainment details are not forgotten, and include available Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users. Other standard and available features include: a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen and additional USB ports; available Chevrolet connected by OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot; available next-generation OnStar and MyLink; available BringGo navigation app; available SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three months of trial service); playback support of MP3 files stored on USB flash memory drives, such as smart phones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet.
Protective Trax technologies that help to avoid crashes and protect occupants in the event one occurs include; a standard rearview camera; standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, incorporating traction control and rollover mitigation features; ABS and electronic brake force distribution; Cornering brake control and brake assist; 10 standard air bags; driver and front passenger frontal and knee air bags; front and rear thorax air bags for all outboard positions – including the segment’s only rear-seat-mounted thorax air bags; side curtain air bags for front and rear outboard passengers. Trax’s safety and security features also include exclusive OnStar technology with Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more.
During the national media lunch of the Trax, my driving partner and I began our Urban adventure in a 2015 Chevrolet Trax LTZ AWD model with an exterior finish of Orange Rock metallic, with a Jet Black and Light Titanium interior. The base price was set at $26,530 while the power, sliding sunroof and Destination charge bumped the final sticker price to $28,305. Next we piloted a FWD Trax in LT trim, finished outside in Silver Ice metallic and inside in Jet Black. Its base price was $22,445 while the LT Plus Package and Destination Charge elevated the final tally to $23,815.
SUMMARY: The Trax is built on a global platform and engineered with suspension tuning to deliver a quiet and refined driving experience. When equipped with all-wheel drive, power is shifted to the rear wheels as required for better traction and handling. Suspension componentry consists of a MacPherson strut type with coil springs, a large stabilizer bar and side-load-compensated strut modules up front, while the rear suspension incorporates a compound crank (torsion beam) design, with a double-wall, tubular V-shape beam profile and gas-charged twin-tube shocks, combining all the advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle, while including minimal space requirements, with low weight and consistent camber control. Noise-damping urethane spring isolators improve ride isolation and dampen noise.
During our specially planned “Urban Adventure” the Trax was driven in a variety of traffic scenarios from bumper-to-bumper commute situations to freeway sprints. The Trax proved to be both comfortable and stable in all types of driving.
Acceleration was adequate for a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, but seemed to provide less “oomph” than one would expect from a turbocharged engine. The transmission performed its duties admirably.
The ride quality was comfortable, outward visibility good, and the handling characteristics leaned toward sporty.
Chevrolet Trax was launched in late 2012 in Mexico and in Canada as a 2013 model, and roughly 90,000 have been sold in over 60 global markets. The 2015 Trax is currently on sale in China, and will arrive in U.S. dealer showrooms in early 2015. Trax contains 4% U.S. and Canadian parts with the major 75 % parts source being Korea. Final assembly of the Trax is done in Bupyeong Gu, Korea. The Trax is named after a 2007 concept vehicle.
All in all, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax is an ideally sized SUV, with a high degree of versatility and functionality that is roughly one-third the cost of a fully loaded Suburban.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Chevrolet Trax
|Price as Tested:||$28,305.|
|Engine Type and Size:||Ecotec 1.4-liter, 16-valve, turbocharged inline four-cylinder with sequential multi-port fuel injection and electronic throttle control.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||138 @ 4,900 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||148 @ 1,850 rpm|
|Transmission:||Hydra-Matic 6T40 Six-speed automatic.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive.|
|Suspension:||Front – MacPherson strut with coil-over spring; direct-acting stabilizer bar; steel 6-point rigid attachment front cross member.
Rear – Compound crank (torsion beam); coil springs with twin-tube shock absorbers
|Brakes:||Power-assisted – FWD – front vented discs, rear drum / AWD – four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, TCS and ESC with rollover mitigation.|
|Tires:||Continental ContiProContact P205/70R16 ALS (std.) P215/55R18 AL3 (opt.)- mounted on 16 x 6.5-inch steel with wheel cover (std.) 16 x 6.5-inch aluminum (opt.)18 x 7-inch aluminum (opt.)|
|Length Overall:||168.5 inches|
|Curb Weight:||2,805 lbs. – FWD / 3,208 lbs. AWD|
|Fuel Capacity:||14 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||26 mpg city / 34 mpg highway|
|Drag Coefficient:||Not listed.|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not Tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.