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The 2016 Chevrolet Trax, the golden bowtie’s smallest crossover/CUV offering, falls into the “cute-ute” category offering functionality and good looks for folks looking for a city-dwelling vehicle.
The cousin of the Buick Encore, the Trax has an attractive stance with swept back headlights, 16” wheels on the LS and LT with 18” wheels on the top of the line LTZ, a clean design and the vertical tail lights combined with the dual-port grille bookend the CUV nicely.
Some may find it too tall for its length and that’s understandable. It’s not nearly as bad as the old Suzuki Aerio, though. The added height gives you more headroom and more cargo space, which adds to its practical side, so it shouldn’t be part of the “dislike” column.
There’s only one engine that propels the Trax, (a good thing to me) and that’s a 1.4L, four cylinder turbocharged one that’s mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox generating 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. While it won’t win you any races, you’ll still be able to get on to highways without issue or having the engine scream bloody murder.
In the city, the Trax is smooth from dead stop up to the 50 or 60 clicks you’ll hit in the urban world.
Most of my time in the mid-range LT trim came without it being loaded with cargo, so expect a bit of lag (as you would with any vehicle) that’s loaded with gear, passengers, etc. or if you’re ascending.
Remember, though, you’re looking at this for functionality over performance.
Steering and handling scored decently with me, even with the added height of the Trax. You won’t have that “tipping over” feeling taking turns at higher speeds. The wheels are fairly responsive to the commands of both hands and there’s little road noise at higher speeds.
Fuel efficiency is rated at 9.7 city, 7.6 highway and 8.7 combined for L/100 km for the LT AWD model, which was the tester I had for the week.
Also, the Trax maxes out at 53L of regular gas.
Inside, LS, LT and LTZ models get an easy to navigate seven-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with Chevy’s “MyLink” system plus OnStar, with 4G LTE and WiFi hotspot availability, which is standard on all models as is Bluetooth technology.
As it’s 2016, it’s good see such high connectivity on an entry level CUV, which will appeal to potential buyers.
There are plenty of storage compartments (great for USB cables, coins, iPods, etc), plus a fold-flat front passenger seat and a 60-40 rear seat split so there shouldn’t be any issues in filling up the car gear-wise.
Audio wise, the LT comes with six-speakers which sound quite good (seven speakers via a premium Bose system on the LTZ).
A backup camera comes standard and for a bit more cash, you can get the rear park assist feature.
Six-way power deluxe cloth seats are comfortable (leatherette seats for the LTZ) and while I’m incredibly thankful for a right arm rest (I’m looking at you, CX-3) my issue is that it’s an inch or so lower than the left armrest. It kinda gives this off-centered feeling.
Noticeably absent is a storage bin between the two front seats but the various other storage compartments make up for it.
Hard plastic materials on the interior coupled with a conservative design may turn some off while others won’t mind it at all.
Capacity wise, cargo space with the rear seats up is 530 L and 1,371 L with the seats down.
Front passengers will be happy with the space and two out of the three rear passengers will echo that.
It’s not a shot against the Trax, not at all. In the smaller segment of automobiles, it’s just not realistic to jam in three adults comfortably, regardless of what badge is on the car.
Overall, the Trax makes for a great city-slicker CUV for those looking to enter the market.
Starting at $19,795 for the base LS, the LT comes in at $25,760 and the LTZ at $29,295 and available in 10 different colours, according to GM’s website as of early February, the Trax has a lot to offer.
How well will the new-ish CUV do against the Soul, CX-3, HRV, etc.? Time will tell. For now it’s got the strength of Buick Encore sales backing it up and that should go a long way in seeing more of these on the road.
2016 Chevrolet Trax
Yay: Good looks, affordable, can catapult from the success of the Encore, tech savvy
Nay: Some may not like the hard plastic dash materials, steep road ahead to catch up with established players as the new kid on the block