2015 Chevrolet Trax Review

2015 Chevrolet Trax - The 2015 Chevrolet Trax is a small crossover vehicle that mainly features practicality


Prices: $20,120-$26,530

Not to be left out of the growing small crossover market, Chevrolet has added the versatile 2015 four-door hatchback Trax to its line.

The $20,120-$26,530  Trax comes in base LS, mid-range LT and top-line LTZ trim levels and with either standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) or a $1,500 all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup.

The AWD option is the most affordable AWD in Chevy's portfolio, although the AWD Trax isn't a serious off-road crossover. It lacks the ground clearance to tackle rugged off-road terrain.-

The Trax has been called both a subcompact and compact crossover, so take your pick.

I tested the Trax LT with FWD. It listed at $22,445, but a $670 LT Plus option package upped the price of my test vehicle to $23,115--without the $875 destination charge but with a $175 LT Plus package savings. Total bottom line: $23,815.

The LT Plus package contains a power driver's seat, cruise control, deluxe cloth/leatherette seat trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear park assist.

The seat trim partially helps offset the rather dull interior, which has some cheap materials, but also some niceties.

Trax styling is generally streamlined and has some flair, but is rather nondescript. You don't buy one to draw stares.

The Trax LT has a good amount of standard equipment. It includes air conditioning, remote keyless entry and remote vehicle start, Stabilitrak Stability control system with traction control, rear vision camera, power outside mirrors and power windows and tilt/telescopic wheel with audio controls.

Connectivity features include Chevrolet's MyLink radio, a  7-inch diagonal color touch-screen and AM/FM stereo with bluetooth streaming audio for music.

There's good room up front, despite a rather narrow cabin. Rear-seat room is decent for two 6-footers, but a tall passenger behind a tall driver doesn't have a surplus of legroom.

The cargo hold is small for its class, but cargo space can be greatly increased by folding the 60/40 split rear bench seat (both top and bottom) forward. Even the front passenger seat folds to allow an object up to eight feet long to fit with the rear split seat folded.  

Upright seating and a low beltline give front occupants excellent forward visibility, although a driver can't see where the front of the Trax ends and thus must be careful pulling into a parking space because of a low front end. Front seats are large and comfortable, rear ones are rather short on thigh support for adults.

There are 15 storage areas, including a two-tier glove box -- with a USB port and auxiliary jack in the upper glove box for plug-in media.

The motorcycle-inspired  gauge controls are nifty, and large climate controls are appreciated. But the front console cupholders are set low and far back.

Safety features include twin air bags.

All Trax are powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Estimated fuel economy of my test Trax was 26 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on highways.

The engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature controlled by a small toggle switch awkwardly placed on the side of the shifter.

The engine provides decent performance, but not much more. It's loud and sounds strained when pushed, as when merging into fast freeway traffic or passing on highways. Otherwise, the Trax is pretty quiet when cruising.

Chevy rightly calls the Trax a "city-smart" car. I wouldn't call it a comfortable long-distance cruiser.

Acceleration is fastest with the 2,805-pound FWD version.The AWD Trax is slower because it weights 3,208 pounds.

The electric power steering is nicely geared, and the Trax handles well for a tall vehicle, even when streaking through curves. The suspension is supple, but a rather short (100.6-inch) wheelbase allows stiff bumps to jolt passengers.

The 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with a brake-assist feature have a linear pedal action and provide good stopping power.

The heavy hood calls for a prop rod to keep it open, although it's easy to  reach fluid filler areas if the engine is low on oil and such.

The Trax seems a viable choice for the budget-minded who want versatility and at least some flair.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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