Great drives: The 2015 Chevrolet Trax offers fuel economy, sporty handling and a bunch of safety and technology features as standard equipment, at a starting price f $20,120. No wonder Trax has become one of Chevy’s best sellers since it was introduced to the US market early this year.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter just spent a long weekend test driving the Trax over several hundred miles of bumper-to-bumper city traffic, country roads and highways. Here’s what impressed me:
Love the fuel economy. Trax is EPA rated at 26mpg city, 34mpg highway, and you might do even better, as I did. My test drive Trax was an AWD, rated at 24mpg city, 31mpg highway and 27mpg combined. Despite some nightmarish city gridlock traffic which drove down my fuel economy, I still clocked 29.7 average, which is better than the EPG rating.
Love the green car rating. Trax is rated 7 out of ten for fuel economy and greenhouse gas, and 6 out of ten for smog rating.
Love the handling. Chevy’s Ecotec 1.4L turbo DOHC engine made it feel more powerful than its 138hp. There’s more than enough oomph for highway merges, and the sport mode made it more fun to drive on country roads.
Love the safety features. Trax comes with ten standard airbags, including side-curtain and knee bags, and it’s the only model in its class with rear seat-mounted thorax airbags. That’s especially important if you transport valuable cargo, like your kids. Also standard is a rear-vision camera and tire pressure monitor system, unusual at this price point. You can upgrade to get park assist, and Chevrolet gives you six months of enhanced OnStar for free. It’s why the 2015 Chevrolet Trax has received the Top Safety Rating from IIHS.
Love the storage areas. Trax has 15 clever little compartments stashed around the cabin, including a two-tier glove box with a USB port in each half, so both driver and passenger can plug in smartphones, as my son and I both did.
Connectivity. In addition to enough USB ports to support up to seven devices, Trax can be turned into a 4G hotspot with your OnStar password.
Chevrolet Trax already has climbed to the No. 2 spot in market share in the small SUV segment in its first few months in the U.S. market. That’s because it is hitting a sweet spot in three important demographic segments.. Chevrolet tells me that 47 percent of Trax buyers are new to Chevrolet, 58 percent are women, and 19 percent are under the age of 35.
Since the small utility segment is seeing what AutoTrader describes as “phenomenal growth”, Trax is an important new addition to the Chevrolet line-up and bottom line.
Essentially, Trax is a stripped down version of the popular Buick Encore.
The small SUV segment has a lot of room to grow. According to AutoTrader, 46 percent looked at SUVs and CUVs in 2014, up from 36 percent the year before.
So here is what Chevrolet should fix to make it even better:
Seats: Driver’s seat can be adjusted forward and back, but not up and down. Even with the steering wheel adjusted to its lowest position, five-foot-one-inch little me had to crane my neck occasionally for a full view of the road ahead. My six-foot son had no such problem, which again proves why everybody who will be driving a vehicle should test drive it before buying it.
Blind spots: The large rear headrests block much of the rear view. However, the can be lowered easily – more easily than I’ve noticed in other brands and models. Headrests can be down when there are children in car seats in the rear.
2015 Chevrolet Trax price: $20,120 to $26,530. Model drive tested: 2015 Trax LS AWD, $21,620 plus $875 destination charge.
ecoXplorer gives the 2015 Chevrolet Trax a thumbs up.