Can you blame Chevrolet for bringing the Trax to the US market? Of course not! There is no bigger growth segment in the car market than the mini SUV.
This one shares most of its platform and running gear with the Sonic and other little guys in the Chevy portfolio, but will command a $3,000 premium just for sitting a bit higher up and having some SUV body cladding.
This model is required to slot in below the ever-larger and very dated Equinox and very-old-indeed Captiva Sport that is a fleet-only model.
Chevrolet and GM have been rightly lambasted for their appalling small cars for decades – but this really started to change in 2012 or so. With Spark, Sonic and Cruze — the Chevy bow-tie badge is now the best-selling brand in the compact and subcompact car markets. This is thanks to hip styles and good tech integration – combined with always-low actual transaction prices.
As for sticker levels on the Trax, look for a $17,000 base price and a $23,000 loaded LTZ.
Global small SUV arrives stateside, offering versatility, connectivity and efficiency
NEW YORK – At the New York International Auto Show today, Chevrolet announced it will add the Trax, a new small SUV, to its portfolio. The 2015 Trax will offer versatility, connectivity and turbocharged performance in an efficient package.
Sporty and modern, Trax blends small-car agility with the utility of an SUV, including up to 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 liters) of cargo space. It’s Chevrolet’s seventh small-vehicle launch in less than four years. During that time, the brand’s share of the small-, compact- and mini-car segments has more than tripled – up 221 percent.
“Trax offers customers another option in the Chevrolet family and will be a strong competitor in the emerging small-SUV market, which is expected to grow more than 80 percent by 2016,” said Alan Batey, General Motors senior vice president, Global Chevrolet. “Trax also leverages our global resources and builds on Chevrolet’s strong SUV heritage.”
When it arrives in dealer showrooms early next year, Trax will accommodate customers’ increasingly connected lifestyles with available OnStar 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as MyLink technology featuring the segment’s only seven-inch color touch screen. Trax also will be the first in its class to offer Siri Eyes Free.
Trax technologies also enhance passenger safety, with more standard air bags than its competitors, a standard rearview camera and available rear park assist.
Additional vehicle highlights include:
Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine that delivers the efficiency of a small-displacement engine with the power of a larger engine on demand
Available all-wheel drive
Electric power steering
Available next-generation OnStar and MyLink
Ten standard air bags, including side-curtain and knee air bags – and the segment’s only rear seat-mounted thorax air bags
Clever and convenient storage areas, including upper and lower glove boxes – with a USB port and auxiliary jack in the upper glove box for plug-in media
60/40-split fold-flat rear seat and fold-down front passenger seatback for storing and transporting items up to eight feet long
Standard remote keyless entry and available remote start.
Trax will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims. Pricing will be announced closer to the start of production.
A Chevy inside and out
With its signature dual-port grille, prominent bowtie emblem and swept headlamps, the Trax is immediately identifiable as a contemporary Chevrolet. Its grille design – with chrome accents – emulates other Chevrolets and provides a more cohesive appearance across the brand’s lineup of crossovers and small cars.
Available cues such as front fog lamps and simulated front and rear skid plates lend a sportier presence, while vertical tail lamps flank the tailgate, accenting taught body lines and pronounced wheel arches that give the Trax a confident stance.
The 10 exterior are: Brilliant Blue Metallic, Orange Rock Metallic, Satin Steel Metallic, White Pearl Tricoat, Black Granite Metallic, Summit White, Silver Ice Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic, Deep Espresso Metallic and Blaze Red.
Inside, 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 can download.
The instrument cluster is inspired by the bold design 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 ambience. The wheel is leather-wrapped on LTZ and some LT models.
LS models feature standard cloth seating, with deluxe cloth standard on LT, along with an available cloth/leatherette seating trim. LTZ models feature standard full leatherette trim. Interior colors are Jet Black, Jet Black/Light Titanium and Jet Black/Brownstone.
For versatility, the 60/40 flat-folding rear seat features a fold-down armrest with cup holders, storage in all four doors, four bins in the dash, pockets in the seatbacks and bins under the rear load floor and a hidden storage drawer under the front passenger seat. It also offers 18.7 cubic feet (530 liters) of storage behind the split-folding rear seat and 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 liters) with the rear seat folded. The front passenger seat also folds flat to extend the cargo length and accommodate items up to eight feet long.
Connectivity and infotainment details
Available Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users enhances connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity so customers can keep phones stored and their hands on the wheel.
Additional standard and available features include:
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), SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Tune Select (requires XM subscription)
Supports playback of MP3 files stored on USB flash memory drives.
With Chevrolet’s connected by OnStar 4G LTE connection, Trax provides an available Wi-Fi hotspot that allows passengers to connect multiple personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet.
Trax is powered by a power-dense Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine backed by an efficiency-enhancing six-speed automatic transmission. The engine is expected to be rated at an SAE-certified 138 horsepower (102 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm.
The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps it deliver a more confident driving experience, with a strong feeling of power across the rpm band. The turbocharger’s on-demand performance also contributes to efficiency because it enables greater power when needed with the lower fuel consumption of a small-displacement engine when it’s not.
The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A solid cast crankshaft and forged connecting rods deliver additional durability to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque.
A Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission with TAPShift control is matched with the 1.4L turbo engine. It has a unique design, with the planetary gearsets positioned on the same axis as the engine crankshaft centerline, making the entire powertrain unit shorter fore-to-aft. This design enables a shorter overall vehicle length, increased interior space, enhanced safety crush zones and lower weight.
A “steep” first gear and a “tall” overdrive top gear to achieve a wide ratio spread of 6.14:1. This allows Trax to achieve robust acceleration, as well as fuel efficiency and lower engine noise at highway cruising speeds.
Refined ride and handling
Trax is built on a robust global platform and engineered with precise suspension tuning to deliver one of the segment’s quietest and most refined driving experiences. Available all-wheel drive seamlessly shifts power to the rear wheels when required for better traction and handling.
A 100.6-inch (2,555 mm) wheelbase and wide stance – 60.6-inch (1,539 mm) front and rear tracks – contribute to a confident driving experience, while a strong structure enables greater suspension precision and a quiet ride.
A MacPherson strut front suspension is used with coil springs, a large stabilizer bar and side-load-compensated front strut modules.
The rear suspension incorporates a compound crank (torsion beam) design, with a double-wall, tubular V-shape beam profile with gas-charged twin-tube shocks. It combines all the advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle, including minimal space requirements, with low weight and consistent camber control. Noise-damping urethane spring isolators improve ride isolation and dampen noise.
Trax also features a column-mounted, variable-effort electric power steering system that saves fuel compared to a conventional engine-driven power steering pump.
Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on LS and LT (aluminum wheels on LT). LTZ has standard 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Built to protect
Trax incorporates technologies that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in case one occurs. Crash-avoidance technologies include:
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
The body structure forms a protective cage around the passenger compartment, with 66 percent of the structure composed of high-strength steels, including ultra-high-strength steel. That structural protection is complemented with 10 standard air bags:
Driver and front passenger frontal air bags
Driver and front passenger 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.
Chevrolet Trax was launched in late 2012 in Mexico and Canada as a 2013 model; about 90,000 have been sold in more than 60 global markets. The 2015 Trax is currently on sale in China, and will arrive in U.S. dealer showrooms early next year, adding the small SUV to Chevy’s two largest markets. Trax is named after a 2007 concept vehicle.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.