The 2015 Chevrolet Trax is an all-new crossover that serves as an entry point to Chevrolet’s SUV lineup. The Trax is part of a growing new segment of subcompact SUVs that are geared toward the urban landscape and beyond.
New to the U.S. market, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax has been sold around the world for a few years now. Chevrolet sees huge growth potential within the subcompact SUV segment, which is where the Trax comes in. The Trax shares rides on the same platform as the 2015 Buick Encore, as well as cars like the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark. It comes in LS, LT and LTZ models with the choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Chevrolet’s split horizontal grille is where the Trax begins. It is formed into a blunt front clip flanked by multi-lens headlamp units. There are plenty of aerodynamic aids to keep air flowing underneath the car, as well as 6.2 inches of ground clearance.
The rest of the vehicle offers a high roof, wide front doors and a large liftgate. Rear doors also open wide for decent entry and exit. Depending on the trim, 17- or 18-inch wheels fill out the Trax’s small crossover silhouette.
The Trax offers up an instrumentation pod mixed with an analog tachometer and digital readouts for everything else. The readouts were logical, but would require screen changes from the left stalk to get trip mileage and fuel economy information. Standard features include power windows, air conditioning and remote keyless entry on all trims. Higher models get upgraded cloth or leatherette upholstery, as well as heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.
Seating is for up to five, though four may be the most that fit comfortably.
Rear middle passengers get a relatively flat floor, but a tunnel protrudes for all-wheel drive models. The seats offer decent comfort and bolstering up front, though the rear seats are more comfortable. My LT test vehicle had a combination black-and-gray cloth and leatherette upholstery with contrasting teal blue stitching.
The Trax has 18.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be expanded to 48.4 cubic feet. The rear seats fold down after you lift up the bottom cushions and provide a flat-load floor to almost the front seats.
Chevrolet installed a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine under the Trax’s hood. At 138 horsepower, it is a sprightly and spunky motor to drive. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available for the Trax. Though this test SUV had front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive is available on every model.
The EPA rates the front-wheel drive Trax with 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Figures are lower for all-wheel drive models, with 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Ride quality is quite good on the Trax for most situations. Handling is on the soft side with noticeable roll and lean when cornering at speed. Yet, the Trax brakes very well with good stopping power in normal and panic situations. A small turning circle makes the Trax easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and steering feel is fine for daily driving situations.
The Trax’s standard tech features include a 7-inch touch screen, which is driven by Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. Bluetooth and USB connections are included with MyLink, along with access to smartphone apps such as Pandora and TuneIn Radio. Navigation is offered through the BringGo app, which syncs mapping and navigation functions from your smartphone onto the vehicle’s screen.
The Trax also comes standard with the OnStar telematics system with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot connectivity.
A three-month trial is included, but after it ends Wi-Fi connectivity will require a separate subscription from the standard OnStar telematics suite. The Trax also bolsters smartphone connectivity with Siri Eyes Free on top of the standard voice recognition system.
The Trax earned a top five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It also earned the Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with top scores of Good in all crash tests.
Electronic stability control, the OnStar telematics system and a rearview camera are standard on the Trax. Our test Trax LT came with rear parking sensors that provide an audible indicator to help make backing up easier. Driver assistance features like forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring are not available.
A Trax LS with front-wheel drive has a base price of $20,300. Our test Trax LT with front-wheel drive came with a sticker price of $23,815. These prices are on par with similarly equipped models in the class, with an emphasis on value and popular equipment. Selecting the top-of-the-line LTZ with all-wheel drive will send the base price above $26,000. The Trax offers a lot of value overall, with the added bonus of OnStar and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The growth in the subcompact crossover segment has been spurred on by competitors, such as the 2015 Nissan Juke, Kia Soul and Subaru XV Crosstrek, as well as new models like the 2016 Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V. The Chevrolet Trax is seen as a compliment to its near-twin, the Buick Encore.
If you are looking for a small SUV with plenty of cargo and passenger space, and you like the idea of a crossover, the Chevrolet Trax may win you over with its tempting value proposition. However, the competition is stiff with new entrants in this segment, so you’ll want to check out some of the Trax’s rivals before you make your final decision.