Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax is roomy and maneuverable, two important aspects for shoppers interested in affordable subcompact crossover SUV.

The Chevrolet Trax was one of the early entrants into the budding subcompact crossover SUV field. It has a thoroughly modern interior and offers the advanced safety and driver assistance features we like to see in new vehicles.

Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. The Trax trails the competition in several key areas, including ride quality, interior quality and real-world fuel economy. We like the Trax for its generous passenger space and maneuverability, but there are a lot of choices in the subcompact crossover SUV segment, and the Trax isn't one of the best.

Current Chevrolet Trax The Chevrolet Trax is available in LS, LT and Premier models. The LS is fairly basic, though it does feature automatic headlights and a 7-inch touchscreen stereo with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The LT is a more palatable choice, with cruise control, roof rails, upgraded upholstery, and other minor but useful amenities that we like to see on a crossover SUV. The Premier packs on the features, including 18-inch wheels, a Bose audio system, keyless ignition and entry, faux leather upholstery and a power-adjustable driver seat.

On the plus side, the Trax does offer quite a bit of passenger space. Front headroom is excellent, and the rear seat is roomy for those up to about 6 feet tall or so. Unfortunately, the Trax comes up short on cargo space, with just 18.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 48.4 cubic feet with the seats folded. And the interior feels like an exercise in cost-cutting: The cabin is awash in hard, unappealing plastic, and there's no center console between the seats, just a flimsy center armrest for the driver.

All Trax models get a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower. Acceleration isn't terribly quick — we've timed the front-wheel-drive Trax to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, and the all-wheel-drive version in 10 — but most of the Chevrolet Trax's competitors accelerate at a similar leisurely pace. We like the Trax's smooth-shifting six-speed automatic, which does a good job of extracting what power the engine has to offer. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, but we've had trouble duplicating the EPA's estimates in the real world, an issue we've had with other General Motors vehicles that use the 1.4-liter turbo engine.

We like the maneuverability that comes courtesy of the Trax's small size, but the ride can get choppy on LS and LT models and is even worse on the Premier with its larger 18-inch wheels. The steering is vague, and the Trax doesn't track well on the freeway. It feels enthusiastic in the curves, but a lack of both steering feel and tire grip keep it from being a truly enjoyable crossover to drive.

Used Chevrolet Trax Models The first-generation Chevrolet Trax made its debut in 2015. There were no changes for 2016, but Chevrolet followed up in 2017 with updated exterior and interior styling, an Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-compatible stereo, and advanced driver assistance and safety features. The top-of-the-line model got a name change from LTZ to Premier.

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