2013 Chevrolet Trax Review | Toronto Sun
By Joe Duarte, Toronto Sun
I thought the days of the sub-compact SUV were done at GM when the Saturn Vue went driving off into oblivion, but the Chevrolet Trax brings the general back to that affordable and functional market.
Trax shares a platform with the new Sonic sub-compact, which seems kinda too small a base on which to build anything but a hatchback, but seems to do just fine for the Trax in terms of its drivability and functionability.
Trax has a rugged little demeanour, with dark grey lower body cladding hinting at the 4×4 capabilities and tying it into the Chevy family of SUVs. Wheels at the corner provide a solid stance and convey a sense of sturdy confidence.
One of the worst traits of an SUV is its parkability, which isn’t a problem for Trax. When you can perform a 360 turn in the space required for many SUVs to be able to open their doors, you know there are very few places you can’t navigate.
One of the best traits of an SUV is towability. Trax is neither large enough nor possessing an engine strong enough to allow you to tow the cruiser to the lake or the Airstream to the campsite, but if your needs are more in line with a personal watercraft or a tent trailer, it’ll do just fine.
From under the hood, Trax’s turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine supplies 148 lb.-ft. of torque to get it moving out in a hurry when it’s empty, or to get things rolling efficiently when it’s laden. A six speed automatic keeps things moving along smoothly, or if you have the gumption to push it along a twisty bit of road, you can shift manually using a rocker switch on the shift handle (it’s not the best of sequential shift set-ups, but it works when it’s called upon).
It also doesn’t have comfortable room for seven (but what SUV short of a Yukon XL does?) nor the ability to load up provisions and recreational equipment for a long-weekend away for four. But it will do nicely for four overnight bags and a couple sets of golf clubs, or for a cooler, supplies and camping equipment for a buddies’ weekend wilderness fishing escape.
As in most vehicles this size, in any segment, front row and rear row passengers can happily co-exist on longer trips with some adjustments to front-seat legroom. Shoulder to shoulders seating shouldn’t be a problem unless you try to squeeze in a centre guest in the rear. The rear seatbacks have headrests that slide up for protection but impede rearward driver visibility significantly, but hide away nicely when the seats aren’t in use.
And by flipping up the seat cushions, the seatbacks go down pretty flat to the trunk floor, making a pretty spacious cargo hold. You’ll have to figure out what to do with the hard parcel shelf leave it behind or stow it along with the rest of the cargo.
Odds and bits aren’t as difficult to decide whether to take along since there are plenty of nooks, crannies, covered boxes, drawers, pockets and what-nots in which to carry sunglasses, change, access cards, wallets, cell phones, maps, owner’s manuals, whatever. If you can’t find a place around the steering wheel in which to put a little thing, you’re carrying too much stuff.
As with any of today’s crossovers or SUVs, the price of Trax starts affordable and escalates quickly to near luxury proportions. Trax starts as a front-wheel drive model for under $19,000 (before taxes), but our nearly fully-loaded LTZ all-wheel drive model (including items such as a premium sound system, the Chevrolet MyLink multimedia system, power outlets and climate control, among others) rings in at over $32,000 (all in) by the time you drive it out of the showroom, and could top $33,000 with other accessories, such as roof rails.
I guess some SUV characteristics span size boundaries.
Fact file: 2013 Chevrolet Trax
Trim level: LTZ AWD
As tested before taxes: $30,695
Options on test vehicle: Sunroof ($1,100); cargo pkg. ($165) inc. cargo cover and mat; oil pan heater ($100).
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engines: 1.4L turbo 4-cyl./ 6-spd. auto. with sequential shift
Power/torque: 138 hp/ 148 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Regular (52L)
Fuel economy ratings: 8.7 L/100km city; 6.5 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 8.3 L/100km over 401 km
Warranties: 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic); 5 years/ 160,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Nissan Juke; Subaru XV Crosstrek