The 2024 Chevy Trax is one of the few new cars in recent memory that is significantly cheaper than the model it replaces. Starting at $21,495, the new Trax costs $1400 less than the outgoing 2022 model and now serves as Chevy’s entry-level vehicle. In fact, it’s the cheapest vehicle General Motors sells in the U.S. Even fully loaded, the new Trax comes in under $27,000. We hate to say it, but that’s cheap by today’s new-car standards.
This reimagining of the Trax from a middling subcompact crossover into a value-focused price leader is similar to what Nissan did a few years ago when it replaced the Juke with the Kicks. This category of cheapo-utes, which also includes the Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue, prioritizes interior space and feature content over typical SUV traits such as optional all-wheel drive and rugged styling (if you want those things, Chevy will happily sell you a Trailblazer). They all start in the low-$20,000 range and come standard with front-wheel drive and Apple CarPlay. This is the new face of basic transportation.
Better Inside and Out
Measured by that yardstick, the new Trax looks like a success. Significantly longer, lower, and wider than the old, awkwardly tall Trax, the nicely proportioned new model has an almost wagonoid look about it. The base LS model looks pedestrian with its hubcaps and lack of bright trim, but the LT, RS, and Activ trim levels are relatively stylish thanks to nice wheels, interestingly shaped headlights and taillights, and distinctive grille trim up front. Several bright paint colors are available too.
The Trax’s stretched-out shape also pays dividends inside, as rear legroom and cargo space are significantly increased thanks to the drastically longer wheelbase and wider track. Chevrolet also managed to package a flat floor in the rear, making the middle seat habitable for shorter trips. This could be a popular choice for Uber drivers. Analog gauges and an 8.0-inch touchscreen are standard, but the optional digital gauge cluster and 11.0-inch central screen give the Trax a good amount of display real estate for a vehicle in this class.
We’re not too down on the Trax’s cheap-feeling interior materials given the low price point. The plastics are hard and scratchy, but the crucial areas—the dashtop, the door panels, and the upholstery—at least have some interesting textures to keep them from looking too bargain-basement. The driving position is low and carlike, a welcome change from the chairlike seating arrangements in many of the Trax’s taller competitors, including Chevy’s own Trailblazer.
Driving Experience Fits the Bill
The 2024 Trax drives like an economy car, too, which isn’t a bad thing. The ride and handling balance is tuned appropriately—softly sprung enough to be comfortable on rougher roads while still offering enough damping to keep body roll in check when pushed. The steering’s lack of on-center feel is a letdown, though, and we would’ve preferred a quicker ratio for a small, relatively lightweight vehicle (3000-ish pounds, according to Chevy). If you think the RS trim offers any sort of dynamic upgrade, think again, as it’s mechanically identical to the others save for 18-inch (1RS) or 19-inch wheels (2RS).
The only powertrain is a turbocharged 1.2-liter inline-three with a six-speed automatic transmission. Its 137 horsepower is meager, but the 162 pound-feet of torque comes on low in the rev range, and the Trax has enough power to get out of its own way. The three-cylinder has a distinctive warble, and turbo lag is minimal. The only real issue is the sluggish transmission, which doesn’t downshift as promptly as we’d like. That said, we’d still take it over a CVT any day. Fuel economy is rated at 30 mpg combined, which is not as good as compact cars like the Honda Civic but about on par for a crossover this size.
It feels like we’re getting less and less for our hard-earned cash lately, which makes a legitimately inexpensive new car an increasingly appealing proposition. The Trax isn’t particularly engaging or refined, but its attractive pricing lowers expectations to the point where we can appreciate what it does offer: a generously sized interior, impressive feature content, and good looks. Chevy expects the Trax to become its third-bestselling model behind the Silverado and Equinox, and we don’t see any reason to doubt that. With better-equipped trims coming in under $25,000, it’s clear that the Trax’s low price is its top selling point—and nearly everyone can agree that value has universal appeal.
2024 Chevrolet Trax
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
LS: $21,495; 1RS, $23,195; LT, $23,395; 2RS, $24,995; Activ, $24,995
Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 12-valve inline-3, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 73 in3, 1193 cm3
Power: 137 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 162 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 178.6 in
Width: 71.7 in
Height: 61.4 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 53/45 ft3
Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 54/26 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3000-3100 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 8.8 sec
1/4-Mile: 16.5 sec
Top Speed: 115 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 30/28/32 mpg
Despite being raised on a steady diet of base-model Hondas and Toyotas—or perhaps because of it—Joey Capparella nonetheless cultivated an obsession for the automotive industry throughout his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He found a way to write about cars for the school newspaper during his college years at Rice University, which eventually led him to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for his first professional auto-writing gig at Automobile Magazine. He has been part of the Car and Driver team since 2016 and now lives in New York City.
Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com