Chevrolet has given its Trax crossover a significant makeover that brings sleeker styling, a new interior, and a slate of available active safety features.
Sleeker is a relative term here: while the handsome new front end owes a lot to the recently-redesigned Cruze, the rest of the Trax’s look is carried over from last year so that it remains a tall, slightly ungainly little hatchback. Awkward it may be, but that height translates into handy headroom for four in a very small footprint, our favourite thing about the Trax.
Inside, gone is the motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster, replaced by a more conventional full-analog gauge setup with a familiar-looking (if dated) information screen snuggled up to the speedo. Overall, the interior takes on a more sophisticated look that (almost) belies the Trax’s entry-level position. The MyLink infotainment system is back, accessed through a seven-inch touchscreen Chevrolet calls new, though we’re unsure if that means it’s bigger than before. What is definitely new is the availability of Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. As in other recent GM products, a 4G LTE wifi hotspot is also on offer.
We had held out hope GM’s new direct-injected 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder (it makes 153 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque in the Cruze and the Buick Encore, an upscale Trax clone) would find its way under the hood, but Chevrolet has opted to stick with the old port-injected motor of the same displacement, with its less-impressive 138 hp/148 lb-ft output. It’s suited well enough to the car, but you’ll rarely hear us complain about a little more power. As before, that motor is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and we suspect Trax will once again come with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Those active safety features we mentioned up top include side blind zone, rear cross traffic and forward collision alerts, along with lane departure warning, all of which will be options. Autonomous emergency braking isn’t on the menu, but the new Trax does get a standard backup camera, plus 10 standard airbags.
The 2017 Chevrolet Trax goes on sale this fall, and will be available in LS, LT and Premier trims.