Okay, so it probably didn't go quite like that, but it seems logical that the US arrival of the Trax - which has been on sale in the Great White North and other markets since late 2012 - had a lot to do with the success of the Encore. Couple that with the impending arrival of the Renegade, and perhaps Chevy sees a market ripe for small crossoverization.
When the Trax arrives in the US market at some unspecified future date (probably early 2015), it will have a fair amount in common with the Encore, with which it shares a platform. Underhood, the same 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder will send power to either the front or to all four wheels while producing 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It's good to see this engine gain another assignment, as it's already impressed in both the Cruze and Sonic. A six-speed automatic will be the sole gearbox.
In the cabin, the Encore and the Trax share identical measurements, meaning that passengers in both the front and back should have a reasonable amount of space. Not surprisingly, the Chevy's cabin materials don't look quite as nice as its tri-shielded cousin, although this sort of difference between Chevy and Buick is to be expected. What the Trax does have going for it, though, is a wealth of technology. Chevy MyLink, Siri Eyes Free and OnStar 4G LTE will all be available for customers to take advantage of.
As for its exterior, it's kind of like someone fired a shrink ray at the Equinox. It's clean and attractive, although we'd have liked a bit more visual panache, like the Sonic. Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on the lower two trim levels (LS and LT), while the top-flight LTZ is fitted with a set of 18-inch hoops.
Take a look below for a video and full press release from Chevrolet.
Global small SUV arrives stateside, offering versatility, connectivity and efficiency
NEW YORK – At the New York International Auto Show today, Chevrolet announced it will add the Trax, a new small SUV, to its portfolio. The 2015 Trax will offer versatility, connectivity and turbocharged performance in an efficient package.
Sporty and modern, Trax blends small-car agility with the utility of an SUV, including up to 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 liters) of cargo space. It's Chevrolet's seventh small-vehicle launch in less than four years. During that time, the brand's share of the small-, compact- and mini-car segments has more than tripled – up 221 percent.
"Trax offers customers another option in the Chevrolet family and will be a strong competitor in the emerging small-SUV market, which is expected to grow more than 80 percent by 2016," said Alan Batey, General Motors senior vice president, Global Chevrolet. "Trax also leverages our global resources and builds on Chevrolet's strong SUV heritage."
When it arrives in dealer showrooms early next year, Trax will accommodate customers' increasingly connected lifestyles with available OnStar 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as MyLink technology featuring the segment's only seven-inch color touch screen. Trax also will be the first in its class to offer Siri Eyes Free.
Trax technologies also enhance passenger safety, with more standard air bags than its competitors, a standard rearview camera and available rear park assist.
Additional vehicle highlights include:
• Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine that delivers the efficiency of a small-displacement engine with the power of a larger engine on demand
• Available all-wheel drive
• Electric power steering
• Available next-generation OnStar and MyLink
• Ten standard air bags, including side-curtain and knee air bags – and the segment's only rear seat-mounted thorax air bags
• Clever and convenient storage areas, including upper and lower glove boxes – with a USB port and auxiliary jack in the upper glove box for plug-in media
• 60/40-split fold-flat rear seat and fold-down front passenger seatback for storing and transporting items up to eight feet long
• Standard remote keyless entry and available remote start.
Trax will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims. Pricing will be announced closer to the start of production.
A Chevy inside and out
With its signature dual-port grille, prominent bowtie emblem and swept headlamps, the Trax is immediately identifiable as a contemporary Chevrolet. Its grille design – with chrome accents – emulates other Chevrolets and provides a more cohesive appearance across the brand's lineup of crossovers and small cars.
Available cues such as front fog lamps and simulated front and rear skid plates lend a sportier presence, while vertical tail lamps flank the tailgate, accenting taught body lines and pronounced wheel arches that give the Trax a confident stance.
The 10 exterior are: Brilliant Blue Metallic, Orange Rock Metallic, Satin Steel Metallic, White Pearl Tricoat, Black Granite Metallic, Summit White, Silver Ice Metallic, Ruby Red Metallic, Deep Espresso Metallic and Blaze Red.
Inside, Trax's distinctive styling carries over to a dual-cockpit instrument panel. In the center, it houses a seven-inch, high-resolution, full-color display for the standard MyLink voice-activated infotainment system. It also features displays for available SiriusXM satellite radio and standard rearview camera, as well as the available GPS-enabled app navigation system that customers can download.
The instrument cluster is inspired by the bold design in the Sonic, featuring a large, performance-style analog tachometer combined with a prominent digital display for the speedometer and other readouts. A small-diameter, thick-rimmed steering wheel enhances the sporty ambience. The wheel is leather-wrapped on LTZ and some LT models.
LS models feature standard cloth seating, with deluxe cloth standard on LT, along with an available cloth/leatherette seating trim. LTZ models feature standard full leatherette trim. Interior colors are Jet Black, Jet Black/Light Titanium and Jet Black/Brownstone.
For versatility, the 60/40 flat-folding rear seat features a fold-down armrest with cup holders, storage in all four doors, four bins in the dash, pockets in the seatbacks and bins under the rear load floor and a hidden storage drawer under the front passenger seat. It also offers 18.7 cubic feet (530 liters) of storage behind the split-folding rear seat and 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 liters) with the rear seat folded. The front passenger seat also folds flat to extend the cargo length and accommodate items up to eight feet long.
Connectivity and infotainment details
Available Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users enhances connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity so customers can keep phones stored and their hands on the wheel.
Additional standard and available features include:
• Seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen and additional USB ports
• Available Chevrolet connected by OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
• Available next-generation OnStar and MyLink
• Available BringGo navigation app
• Available SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three months of trial service), SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Tune Select (requires XM subscription)
• Supports playback of MP3 files stored on USB flash memory drives.
With Chevrolet's connected by OnStar 4G LTE connection, Trax provides an available Wi-Fi hotspot that allows passengers to connect multiple personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet.
Trax is powered by a power-dense Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine backed by an efficiency-enhancing six-speed automatic transmission. The engine is expected to be rated at an SAE-certified 138 horsepower (102 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm.
The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps it deliver a more confident driving experience, with a strong feeling of power across the rpm band. The turbocharger's on-demand performance also contributes to efficiency because it enables greater power when needed with the lower fuel consumption of a small-displacement engine when it's not.
The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A solid cast crankshaft and forged connecting rods deliver additional durability to support the engine's pressurized power and torque.
A Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission with TAPShift control is matched with the 1.4L turbo engine. It has a unique design, with the planetary gearsets positioned on the same axis as the engine crankshaft centerline, making the entire powertrain unit shorter fore-to-aft. This design enables a shorter overall vehicle length, increased interior space, enhanced safety crush zones and lower weight.
A "steep" first gear and a "tall" overdrive top gear to achieve a wide ratio spread of 6.14:1. This allows Trax to achieve robust acceleration, as well as fuel efficiency and lower engine noise at highway cruising speeds.
Refined ride and handling
Trax is built on a robust global platform and engineered with precise suspension tuning to deliver one of the segment's quietest and most refined driving experiences. Available all-wheel drive seamlessly shifts power to the rear wheels when required for better traction and handling.
A 100.6-inch (2,555 mm) wheelbase and wide stance – 60.6-inch (1,539 mm) front and rear tracks – contribute to a confident driving experience, while a strong structure enables greater suspension precision and a quiet ride.
A MacPherson strut front suspension is used with coil springs, a large stabilizer bar and side-load-compensated front strut modules.
The rear suspension incorporates a compound crank (torsion beam) design, with a double-wall, tubular V-shape beam profile with gas-charged twin-tube shocks. It combines all the advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle, including minimal space requirements, with low weight and consistent camber control. Noise-damping urethane spring isolators improve ride isolation and dampen noise.
Trax also features a column-mounted, variable-effort electric power steering system that saves fuel compared to a conventional engine-driven power steering pump.
Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on LS and LT (aluminum wheels on LT). LTZ has standard 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Built to protect
Trax incorporates technologies that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in case one occurs. Crash-avoidance technologies include:
• Standard rearview camera
• Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, incorporating traction control and rollover mitigation features
• ABS and electronic brake force distribution
• Cornering brake control and brake assist
The body structure forms a protective cage around the passenger compartment, with 66 percent of the structure composed of high-strength steels, including ultra-high-strength steel. That structural protection is complemented with 10 standard air bags:
• Driver and front passenger frontal air bags
• Driver and front passenger knee air bags
• Front and rear thorax air bags for all outboard positions – including the segment's only rear-seat-mounted thorax air bags
• Side curtain air bags for front and rear outboard passengers.
Trax's safety and security features also include exclusive OnStar technology with Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more.
Chevrolet Trax was launched in late 2012 in Mexico and Canada as a 2013 model; about 90,000 have been sold in more than 60 global markets. In addition to the United States, the 2015 Trax will also go on sale in China, adding the small SUV to Chevy's two largest markets. Trax is named after a 2007 concept vehicle.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.