2018 Trax New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet's smallest utility vehicle, launched as a 2015 model, doesn't qualify as fancy. Most entrants in the small-crossover category strive for and achieve a degree of stylistic flair, but Chevrolet took an opposing path. Externally plain, the tall-riding, strictly straightforward Trax stresses practicality inside.
Little has changed for the 2018 model year. Equinox and Traverse crossovers sit above the five-door Trax in Chevrolet's lineup
Three Trax trim levels are offered: base LS, midrange LT, and top-rung Premier. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option for each trim level.
Developing 138 horsepower, the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Peak torque, totaling 148 pound-feet, is available starting at only 1850 rpm.
Like many of the smallest crossovers, Chevrolet Trax is based on a subcompact-car foundation. Specifically, it's related to the Sonic hatchback and sedan. Some folks dub the Trax a tall hatchback or wagon, rather than a subcompact crossover.
All versions except the LS have LED running lights and taillights. Indisputably plain, devoid of chrome trim, the LS is fitted with steel wheels and black plastic mirrors that suggest an econocar. Trax LT comes with alloy wheels.
Build quality has been good, without noticeable squeaks, rattles, or buzzing.
New for 2018, a Redline trim package is available for the LT, adding black 18-inch wheels with red accents, black trim elements, plus black cloth and synthetic leather upholstery.
Crash-testing has yielded good results. The 2017 Trax earned top Good ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, except for an Acceptable score in the small overlap frontal crash (passenger-side). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Trax five stars overall and five stars in each individual test except rollover prevention, where it got four. That rollover score (a calculated figure) is typical for tall utility vehicles.
A rearview camera and 10 airbags are standard, but active-safety features are offered only on top models. Forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning are standard only on Premier trim, but unavailable for any other version. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking assist are standard on Premier, but optional for LT trim.
Chevrolet's MyLink system includes Bluetooth pairing for hands-free phone and audio, a USB port, auxiliary input jack, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Navigation is available using smartphone mapping.
Trax LS ($21,000) comes with front-wheel drive, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, remote keyless entry, 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and MyLink entertainment. Steel wheels have plastic covers. OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with wi-fi hotspot capability is available. LS options include keyless ignition, a power sunroof, and Bose premium seven-speaker audio. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $995 destination charge.)
All-wheel drive is optional on all models ($1,500).
Trax LT ($22,900) gets 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, satellite radio, remote start, LED taillights and daytime running lights, and roof-mounted side rails. All-wheel drive adds $1,500.
Trax Premier ($27,295) includes a power driver's seat, heated front seats, leatherette seat upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, chrome accents, keyless ignition, a power sunroof, and Bose premium audio. Blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, forward collision alert, and rear park assist also are standard.