2015 Chevrolet Trax
Before our very eyes a new car segment is being born: the wee SUV. It”s defined as a tall box based on a small car and priced between roughly $16,000 and $25,000. No fewer than three new models were shown at this year”s Los Angeles auto show last month, including the Honda HR-V, the Mazda CX-3, and the Fiat 500X. Add to that the new Jeep Renegade and established players like the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul, and you have a full-on street brawl of mini washing machines.
GM has been delighted (and we”ve been stunned) with sales of its own little ute, the Buick Encore, which has been selling at a rate of roughly 4000 per month. That”s despite a base price of $24,990 and cramped interior dimensions similar to those of the Chevy Sonic hatchback with which the Encore shares its underpinnings. Thus, General Motors has decreed that the United States of Tahoes will now get the Chevy Trax, an Encore platform sibling that has been sold overseas since 2012. (You can read our review of a European model here.)
The Trax was engineered off the Sonic platform in Korea and is built there (so is the Encore) as well as in Mexico. While overseas markets get 1.6- and 1.8-liter naturally aspirated and 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines, as well as a 1.7-liter diesel, the U.S. Trax will get just one engine/transmission combo. That would be the 138-hp 1.4 turbo with a six-speed automatic and the option of all-wheel drive. Three trim levels‘LS, LT, and LTZ‘take the Trax from a starting price of $20,995 for a front-drive LS up to $27,405 for the LTZ AWD.
From Europe with Changes
For the U.S., GM retuned the Trax”s suspension and electric-assist steering to be a little more responsive and installed more sound-isolation materials, including an acoustic pad under the dash, thicker side glass, and a thicker laminated windshield. The optional all-wheel drive is an electronically controlled ball-ramp system that squeezes clutch plates to transfer the torque to the rear. It is not driver-lockable, so it”s a hands-free automatic assist device, there to straighten your path or help you get rolling when the weather becomes inclement.
The Trax is a starter car, aiming to be to millennials what the thrifty Civic and Corolla wagons once were to baby boomers, some of whom will also buy the Trax now that their nests are empty. We drove both the LT and LTZ in front-drive and AWD configurations. The first thing to know about a Trax is that it”s small, stretching just 168.5 inches nose to tail. That”s almost 11 inches shorter than the sales king of little utes, the Honda CR-V, which starts at $24,200, a pretty small premium when penciled out across a few years of payments.
Functional and Cool Interior
Inside, the interior theme will be familiar to any Chevy Sonic owner, down to the standard seven-inch multicolor touch screen that handles basic infotainment duties but defers navigation to a special app‘tagged BringGo‘that runs through your smartphone. The Trax”s front seats are well bolstered and comfortable, but the rears are where you feel that short, 100.6-inch wheelbase closing in. There”s just (barely) enough room in back for adult knees to clear the front seats, and the rear bench requires that you adopt an upright seating position. Shorter trips only, please. The Trax tries to make good use of its 48.4 cubic feet of cabin space, however, offering 60/40-split folding rear seats (once you lift up the bottom cushion) and a front passenger seatback that drops forward to be flat, allowing the odd surfboard or bundle of 2x4s to be pushed in up to the dashboard.Read Source
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