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- Highs Good ride and handling, long list of standard features, airy and pleasant cabin.
- Lows Ultra-conservative styling, weak engine, few luxury touches.
- Verdict The 2018 Chevrolet Trax, with its commendable list of standard equipment, provides good value for buyers who don't mind an anemic engine and dearth of luxury features.
The restrained styling of the Chevrolet Trax will appeal to modest buyers who prefer not to have eyes on them in traffic, unlike like those who are drawn to its more flamboyant competitors. The Trax is comfortable and handles competently, but its weak turbocharged engine does nothing to stir the soul. Speaking of soul, driving enthusiasts will want to direct their attention to the 10Best Cars–winning Kia Soul or the zippy Mazda CX-3. A long list of standard equipment, which includes touchscreen infotainment and onboard Wi-Fi, is the Trax’s saving grace and represents much of its appeal.
What's New for 2018?
Chevrolet has given the Trax some visual punch for 2018 by introducing the Redline Edition appearance package, which adds black exterior trim, black 18-inch wheels with red stripes, and black leatherette-and-cloth seating surfaces. The Premier trim now comes standard with forward-collision and lane-departure warnings and gains a sunroof. Three new colors are available: Storm Blue Metallic, Sandy Ridge Metallic, and the extra-cost Cajun Red Tintcoat.
- LS: $21,995
- LT: $23,895
- Premier: $28,295
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Only one engine is offered in the Trax, and it’s not a great one. The turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four makes 138 hp, a low number for this segment, and it’s buzzy and unrefined. Around town, the engine’s turbocharger provides a decent amount of low-end punch, but as soon as you need to pass or merge on the highway, the engine runs out of steam. The six-speed automatic is smooth enough, but it often executes sluggish shifts and is sometimes reluctant to downshift. Aside from its subpar powertrain, the Trax drives well, with composed handling and a comfortable ride. Good body control and a pleasantly firm ride give the Trax a feeling of solidity, and quick steering makes it agile in parking lots and urban areas. There’s less body roll in corners than you’d expect given the Trax’s tall stature, although the handling isn’t as responsive and eager as many competitors.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Trax has some stitched dashboard inserts that help cultivate a bit of an upscale look. Venture further down the center stack, though, and you’ll find cheap-feeling climate controls and cut-rate plastics. Only the top Premier trim level offers nicer amenities, such as heated front seats and a sunroof, while automatic climate control isn’t available at all. A high seating position and expansive headroom make the Trax’s cabin feel airy and spacious, but it actually has less rear-seat room than several of its competitors. The Trax’s cargo area is on the small side for its segment, and its rear seats aren’t as easy to fold as those of several rivals. The Trax’s door pockets are usefully large both front and rear, but the Chevy does not have a true center console.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s standard on all Trax models looks basic, but it functions well, responds quickly to inputs, and includes the latest smartphone-integration capabilities. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functions are standard on all Trax models; several competitors either make these features optional or don’t offer them at all. The caveat is that the Trax isn't available with built-in navigation of any kind, so you’ll have to rely on your phone for traffic, weather, and GPS services. In-car Wi-Fi is standard, although it does require a monthly subscription fee after the free trial period runs out.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.