Entry Price: $21,000
Price as Tested: $26,820
This week, we’re reviewing the 2018 Chevy Trax, introduced back in 2015 with a bit of DNA that dates back to the little Chevy GEO that roamed the highways starting in 1989. However, unlike the Geo and sibling Suzuki Tracker, this modern-day compact SUV delivers responsive handling, loads of modern safety, a standard turbocharged Ecotec 1.4-liter four-cylinder and surprisingly good interior roominess.
Our top line Trax Premier featured front-drive underpinnings, although Chevy also offers an all-wheel-drive (AWD) option for the three Trax models available. The Premier adds much to the Trax formula, with features like standard forward collision warning, lane departure notification and even a sunroof, too.
All Trax models now feature Android and Apple Smartphone compatibility, which adds to the standard across the board rear view safety camera, 110-volt outlet, USB ports, 4G Wi-Fi and MyLink infotainment systems that Chevy introduced several years ago.
Undergoing a nice front end design upgrade in 2017, the entry LS Trax starts at $21,000, with mid-tier LT beginning at $23,895 while the Premier starts at $27,300. The AWD option adds $1,500 to the price assuring your new Trax will have some “Tracker” four-wheel-drive traction that comes in handy during off-road ventures or inclement weather.
Already a big seller for General Motors in foreign countries, Trax is built in South Korea and popular in China, Canada, Germany, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Europe. Overall, Trax is marketed in 66 global markets.
Similar in dimensions and mechanicals to the Buick Encore which we drove about recently, Trax is built on the same platform as Buick and consumers can save several thousand dollars if they decide to go with the Chevy model instead of the upscale Buick. Of course, you won’t receive that special Buick luxury, but many consumers won’t mind the trade-off if the purchase is strictly based on dollars spent.
If you decide on the top line Premier, you’ll receive keyless entry and push button start, nice 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, enhanced leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a seven-speaker Bose stereo audio system.
Notable is the turbocharged Ecotec engine that delivers 138 horses with power transferring through a six-speed Hydramatic transmission. The automatic transmission also has a “manual mode” option for drivers who want to control shift points. Fuel mileage is decent as 2WD owners can expect 25 city and 33 highway while the AWD crowd will experience 24 and 30, respectively.
Thanks to the turbocharger, which feeds more air into the engine as RPMs rise, Trax’s 138 horses feel more like 170 when the turbo kicks in, resulting in 148 lb. ft. of torque. Overall, Trax may not win any speed trials at the drag strip, but you’ll still be able to merge easily a 65 mph turnpike or pass on a two-lane secondary road when conditions are proper.
Inside, Trax features some 15 different storage bins, including a two tier glove box that has a USB connector and auxiliary jack on the upper side. Standard fare includes OnStar, a seven-inch color touchscreen, SiriusXM Satellite, Bluetooth, tilt and telescopic steering, air conditioning, cruise and much more. Your Chevy dealer awaits your visit to explain all features.
One area where Trax excels is safety. Consumers will appreciate the solid Five Star government crash rating thanks to the high-strength steel used in construction. This structural integrity combines with a 10 airbag setup, stability control, four-wheel disc brakes, Stabilitrak electronic control system, traction control, rear park assist, daytime running lamps and more.
Our Premier featured one option, a $275 protection package of all-weather floor mats and splash guards. This brought the final retail price to $28,570 with $995 delivery included. However, Chevy now has a $1,750 incentive, lowering this price to $26,820 net.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 100.6 inches, 2,805 curb weight, 35.5 turning circle, from 18.7 to 48.4 cu. ft. of cargo space, 6.2-inch ground clearance, and a 14-gallon fuel tank.
Chevy Trax is a multi-functional, easy to drive small utility vehicle that serves well as a passenger mover or an weekend tailgate party companion. It rides well on the freeway, is great in city traffic and generates decent fuel mileage in its good looking compact design. It competes with compact SUVs from Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Nissan, Jeep, Ford, Subaru, Honda, Toyota and Buick.
Chevy Trax is worthy of a test drive based on price, mechanical platform and safety build. I recommend you start with the mid-level LT and then decide which options and additional features are necessary to fulfill your driving needs.
Currently, there are some great deals awaiting potential buyers on leftover 2018 Trax models, so check them out. The 2019 is pretty much the same, so take advantage of a $1,500 leftover incentive, which lowers our review Trax price to $26,820 with $995 delivery included.
Likes: Looks, interior room, safety rating, turbocharger.
Dislikes: Cargo room less than competitors, bit of turbo lag, some safety items unviable on entry model.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.
Test Drive: 2018 Chevrolet Trax
Entry Price: $21,000