The subcompact sport utility vehicle segment is expanding rapidly as new products from Honda, Fiat, Jeep and Mazda enter the fray. Joining the current Buick Encore and Nissan Juke is another small SUV, the Chevrolet Trax, a five-passenger model that gives the bow-tie brand its fifth utility vehicle.
The 2015 Chevrolet Trax is just now entering showrooms, the third crossover and fifth overall utility vehicle for GM’s headmost brand. The Trax arrives just as the subcompact SUV segment receives an infusion of new products, including the Honda HR-V and the Fiat 500X.
Pricing Essentials and Strategy
The Chevrolet Trax is based on the Buick Encore, a premium model with the price and content to go with it. To effectively compete in a segment where a base price of $20,000 will be common, GM established a $20,120 base price for the Trax or $20,995 once the delivery charge is included.
This front-wheel drive model is also available in all-wheel drive and is sold in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. All-wheel drive adds $1,500 to the price. Chevrolet says that the Trax has the utility of an SUV and the agility of a compact car. Likely, that statement is true because it aligns with my impressions of the similar Buick Encore. Stay tuned for a hands-on review once one passes through my press fleet rotation.
For a small vehicle, there is a lot to discuss beyond its standard 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Indeed, its standard Chevrolet MyLine infotainment system, 7-inch diagonal screen, Wi-Fi hotspot, standard rear view camera, and standard 10 airbags should pique the interest of the intrepid shopper.
Room for Five; Compartments Galore
Technically, the Chevrolet Trax seats five, but is best suited for four. Its 60-40 spilt, flat-folding rear seat and fold-flat front passenger seat to enable owners to maximize storage space. Chevrolet is quick to note that the Trax’ storage space eclipses the Nissan Juke and is in line with competitors, such as the Jeep Renegade and Kia’s Soul. By extension, you can associate the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen with this segment, a wagon-like model with its own utility vehicle inclinations.
SUVs typically have multiple storage compartments, including a sundry of nooks, crannies and crevices. The Chevrolet Trax does not disappoint in this department as it has 15 of them, including one to the left of the steering wheel and a pair encompassing the center stack. Furthermore, double slots in all four doors run up that tally nicely.
One technological feature that is sure to please beyond the Wi-Fi hotspot is Siri Eyes. Siri Eyes Free works with compatible iPhones and like devices to augment connectivity, through voice control. Specifically, drivers can keep their phones stored and their hands on the wheel, effectively eliminating a distraction point. To point out, Chevrolet will be the only subcompact SUV to offer this feature.
A Profusion of Safety Components
Speaking of safety, the Chevrolet Trax comes with driver and front passenger knee air bags as well as the segment’s only rear-seat-mounted thorax airbags. Furthermore, the expected and mandated safety features common to all vehicles — such as anti-lock brakes, stability control, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist — are present. This model also comes with cornering brake control; rear park assist is standard on the LTZ edition and is available with the LT.
Will buyers make the trek to the Chevy Trax? That’s no slam dunk considering the competition that is also reaching the segment now and in the coming months. At the same time, the Trax will have some in-house competition from the Buick Encore while some buyers may simply prefer the capaciousness of the Equinox, the previous of the smallest utility vehicles in the Chevrolet portfolio.
Photos courtesy of the General Motors Company.