Chevy’s 2015 Trax subcompact SUV offers a new choice for those who want the functionality of an urban-friendly crossover with higher fuel efficiency. With an overall length of 168.4 inches and a smaller physical footprint than many crossovers, it also features a tight 36.7-foot turning diameter that makes for great maneuverability in city traffic
The Trax is based on the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic hatchback but is actually quite a bit larger, allowing it to carry 48.4 cubic feet of cargo and up to five people. It’s built in Korea like the Sonic, and while new to the U.S. market the Trax is already available in over 60 global markets. Along with the Sonic, its platform, mechanics, and cabin layout are shared with the Buick Encore.
Power comes from a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec engine featuring dual overhead cams and variable valve timing. The engine, also made in Korea, produces 138 horsepower at 4900 rpm and 148 pound-feet of torque at 1850 rpm. Around-town driving is spirited with good acceleration and snappy shifts courtesy of a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a $1500 option.
Like many downsized crossover SUVs in recent years, the Trax aims at highway fuel efficiency in the 30-plus mpg range, a goal met with its EPA-estimated 34 mpg highway fuel economy and 26 mpg in the city. The AWD version is rated at 31 highway and 24 city mpg. The fuel tank holds 14 gallons.
Though on the smallish side, the Trax offers an interior that’s quite versatile. The 60/40 folding rear seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat allow carrying items up to 8 foot long as needed. The Trax is quite narrow so accommodating three in the rear is a bit tight, although we found rear seat headroom and legroom to be just fine.
The Trax comes with full power equipment including electric power steering, air-conditioning, and a rearview camera. Front wheel drive variants get front disc and rear drum brakes with the AWD featuring four wheel discs. An LT Plus package adds a six-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrap steering wheel, and rear parking sensors. The uplevel LTZ comes with leather upholstery, 18 inch wheels, heated front seats, an auto-dimming mirror, and a Bose sound system. Other versions use cloth seat materials and 16 inch wheels.
Safety is a notable feature of the Trax, which received five stars from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for overall, frontal, and side crash protection and a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. There are 10 airbags including front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtains, and front knee airbags.
Buyers will appreciate this crossover’s approachable $20,995 base price and two year/24,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance. Also appealing is the model’s high level of electronics technology that comes as standard or optional equipment. This includes a 7-inch MyLink touchscreen, On-Star 4G LTE with built-in WiFi hotspot, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone, a USB port, an iPod interface, OnStar emergency telematics, and a BringGo navigation app.