The 2015 Chevrolet Trax is one of the more thoughtful vehicles General Motors has produced. Not because it’s user friendly (it is), but because it is an early entry into a new segment in the United States. Small crossovers, which are (basically) tall hatchbacks with all-wheel drive (AWD), are expected to become one of the hottest segments worldwide. The proof is in the multitude of vehicles which are about to, or already have, pounce(d) on this segment in North America alone: the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, MINI Countryman, Jeep Renegade, Buick Encore (the Chevrolet Trax’s cousin), Fiat 500X and the 2015 Chevrolet Trax.
Automakers have predicted that, within the next few years, this segment will match or exceed the hottest selling markets in the USA.
A lot of this renewed interest in small crossovers has to do with the new batch of efficient engines, AWD systems that are more intelligent/efficient and lots of tech – all for a reasonable price. The 2015 Chevrolet Trax has a starting price of $20,995. Want AWD? The 2015 Chevrolet Trax’s AWD system costs $1,500.
Based on the same architecture as the Buick Encore, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax has the same footprint, engine, transmission and basic features. What separates the Chevy Trax from the Buick Encore is the material choices, interior/exterior design and refinement. The Buick Encore is a much more polished (and expensive) crossover.
Fortunately, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax is still a slick buy for small families, young drivers that need AWD, empty-nesters and so on. It has a very broad appeal for a large portion of economy-mined consumers.
The 2015 Chevrolet Trax has a 138 (@ 4900 rpm) horsepower, 1.4L turbo that makes a 148 lbs-feet of torque way down at 1,850 rpm. The only transmission abvailable is a Hydra-Matic (6T40) six-speed automatic. It comes in front or AWD.
According to Chevrolet, Here are some of the highlights for the 2015 Chevrolet Trax:
■ Offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims – with 18-inch wheels standard on LTZ
■ Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine that delivers the efficiency of a smalldisplacement engine with the power of a larger engine on demand
■ Electric power steering
■ Standard Chevrolet MyLink with 7-inch color touch screen
■ Available Siri Eyes Free
■ Standard OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
■ Available BringGo navigation app
■ Fifteen clever and convenient storage areas, including two-tier glove box – 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
■ Chevrolet Complete Care includes two years/24,000 miles (whichever comes first) of scheduled maintenance
■ Ten standard air bags, including side-curtain and knee air bags – and the segment’s only rear seat-mounted thorax air bags
■ Standard rear-vision camera
■ Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, cornering brake control and brake assist
■ StabiliTrak stability control with full-function traction control
■ Available rear park assist
■ 66 percent of the body structure is composed of high-strength steel
Despite its small size, 168.4-inches (the Honda CR-V is about 10-inches longer) the 2015 is big enough to hold four adults without a problem. Five adults may be a bit squeezed in the rear, but a small family may be impressed with the interior packaging. Maximum cargo room (with the rear row and front passenger seat folded flat) is 48.4 cu-ft. There is plenty of room for a big stroller behind the rear seats and the overall ride height is ideal for small children to scramble up inside on their own.
There are tons of thoughtful touches throughout such as several cup holders, cubbies and hidden storage compartments. There’s a nifty storage spot underneath the front passenger’s seat. General Motors wants you to know about their standard infotainment system that comes with a backup camera and 4GLTE connectivity. Basically, you can turn the Trax into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Nifty – and mighty easy to use. We got connected in a matter of minutes with our cellphones and the connection speed seemed pretty good.
General Motors had us planted square in the middle of San Diego and turned us loose. This way, we could sample the Chevrolet Trax’s easy to drive demeanor in real traffic. It’s a breeze to park and the little turbo had no problem spooling up quickly for passing and merging. The high seating position makes for an excellent vantage-point to navigate.
Despite having a bubbly, spin-happy turbo, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax is no sports car. is simply gives it legs and helps it keep up with traffic. The steering feel is mellow, but the steering-wheel weight is quite good. Brakes, even the FWD’s rear-drum brakes, feel tight. Balance, despite the high body, is pretty good. Sure, it wallows when pushed hard, but it’s very easy to control. The turning radius is extremely tight.
Yes, it has a torsion beam rear end, it still felt planted even on the hardest corner. The tires let go before the suspension was befuddled.
There was a bit of noise we could hear on the highway, mostly tire and wind noise, but it still felt comfortable and compliant.
This press event with the 2015 Chevrolet Trax was a pleasant, even surprising drive. Considering what you get for the money, AND that excellent engine, make this a wee-little crossover to watch. TFLcar is looking forward to getting a few up to the Rocky Mountains.
The 2015 Chevrolet Trax should be in dealerships before New Year’s Eve 2014.
Speaking of new, small crossovers…
Also, check out this initial Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know TFLcar video.