If the Chevrolet Trax was a spaceship in a beloved science fiction program/movie, it would be Serenity.
It wouldn’t be the Millennium Falcon – it doesn’t have the speed. It also wouldn’t be the agile-as-all-heck X-Wing, nor the enormous yet elegant Enterprise.
But it would flash its shiny backside at Alliance Cruisers, and it would make all who sail within feel an unnatural affection for its cute, pug-like face.
The real reason the Trax is best described (in sci-fi parlance at least) as a Firefly-class transport is its plethora of storage compartments and cubby holes. Like Serenity, which was a favourite of Mal’s for its many hiding spots – he was a smuggler after all – the Trax is a playpen of holes, drawers, cup holders, crevices and crannies.
There are dozens and dozens of them. Two deep crevices on either side of the centre stack hold telephones, wallets, tissue packets and the like. There are three (3!) levels of trays in the door trims, a drawer under the passenger seat, a false floor in the cargo area, a covered bin in the side of the cargo area, an uncovered tray in the other side, a mini glove box with USB and Aux inputs inside on top of the regular glove box, a centre-stack-top pop-up tray, another tray at the bottom of the centre stack and a flip-out coin holder to the left of the steering wheel.
The cargo area is a respectable 530 L with the back seats in place and 1,371 L with them folded flat. You can also independently flip the seat bottoms in the back forward, giving you a nice tall loading area in the back for plants/picture frames/stolen Alliance gold.
The parallels between a Trax and the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity don’t end there (I’ll stop soon, I promise). Serenity was scoffed at by people who didn’t know better but was loved by those who did because it was cheap to repair and had a good reputation for durability.
2015 Chevrolet Trax, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
Unlike Firefly, the Trax is actually mainstream popular. In fact, only the Kia Soul is outselling it in the tall hatchback/crossover class. Trax has sold 7,452 units to 8,708 Souls, 6,020 Subaru XV Crosstreks, and 5,963 Mitsubishi RVRs.
The little 138 hp/148 lb-ft 1.4L turbo four cylinder is less punchy on paper than both the Soul and RVR, whose 2.0L units produce 164 hp/148 lb-ft and 148 hp/145 lb-ft respectively.
But paper isn’t everything. The Trax’s torque comes on at 1,850 rpm, over 2,000 sooner than the RVR’s thrust. That difference is noticeable and the Trax feels peppier around town than the RVR. The Soul is unsurprisingly faster and more responsive. The Trax’s six-speed transmission is smooth enough but the manual mode – with buttons on the shifter for changing gears – is worse than useless. Honestly, it has no reason to exist.