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Chevrolet Trax 2016 specs / reviews ( Test Drive)


Chevrolet Trax 2016 specs / reviews

Following the success of the popular Buick Encore, GM decided to bring its international market offering stateside for their flagship, bow-tied brand, and what resulted is the 2016 Chevrolet Trax. Chevrolet

Following the success of the popular Buick Encore, GM decided to bring its international market offering stateside for their flagship, bow-tied brand, and what resulted is the 2016 Chevrolet Trax.

Full Car Details More Reviews

Trax
MSRP
$25,535 (as tested)
Engine
1.4-L turbocharged 4-cyl.
Power
138-hp; 148 lb.-ft.
Safety
5-star NHTSA

“Badge engineering” is largely a thing of the past in 2015, and good riddance. While many of us got used to seeing virtually identical Ford Tauruses and Mercury (RIP) Sables over the last few decades, automakers have since gotten much better at hiding sibling models with styling and a little bit of engineering wizardry.

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Sometimes, though that old practice of slapping a different badge on the same car comes through, and short of pickup trucks (we’re still looking at you, GM), the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore are the chief example.

We got our hands on the 2016 Trax for a full week, and after a hefty dose of city driving, this mini Chevy showed its true colors as an economy crossover. Chevrolet

We got our hands on the 2016 Trax for a full week, and after a hefty dose of city driving, this mini Chevy showed its true colors as an economy crossover.

Following the success of the popular Buick Encore, GM decided to bring its international market offering stateside for their flagship, bow-tied brand, and what resulted is the 2016 Chevrolet Trax. With less frills and (arguably) better looks, the Trax is an enticing option from afar in an increasingly-large sea of subcompact crossovers. After all, it’s just a cheaper Buick, right?

Not exactly, and it’s that key difference that hampers what could have been a hit for Chevrolet.

We got our hands on the 2016 Trax for a full week, and after a hefty dose of city driving, this mini Chevy showed its true colors as an economy crossover. Our all-wheel-drive LT model rang in at a total price of $25,535 after $895 destination charge and $670 “LT Convenience Package,” which gets you a driver power seat adjuster, leatherette seat trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rear park assist. Standard features are the bare minimum for its class, but the Trax does boast a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity as standard, and the option for GM’s excellent 4G LTE in-car WiFi.

The Trax does boast a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity as standard, and the option for GM’s excellent 4G LTE in-car WiFi.Chevrolet

The Trax does boast a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity as standard, and the option for GM’s excellent 4G LTE in-car WiFi.

“Boast” may be a strong word, however, as the touchscreen, which is lifted from the Sonic, was on the slow side in terms of responsiveness, and the user interface is not exactly what we’d call “intuitive.”

Outside of the standard touchscreen, however, there isn’t much else of note inside the car. Cheap, rental fleet plastics that were abundant in the days of “old GM” are everywhere, and build quality feels last generation, which is to say: lacking. On the bright side, the Trax packs lots of handy storage spaces – 15, to be exact – including under the front passenger seat for places to stow your gear in a pinch.

In fact, the whole car can fit a maximum cargo volume of 48.4-cubic feet with the seats folded down, and items up to 8-feet long with the front passenger seat flattened, making it much more spacious and practical than its city-friendly size would suggest.

So we’ve told you how the 2016 Trax stows, but how does it go?

“Boast” may be a strong word, however, as the touchscreen, which is lifted from the Sonic, was on the slow side in terms of responsiveness.Chevrolet

“Boast” may be a strong word, however, as the touchscreen, which is lifted from the Sonic, was on the slow side in terms of responsiveness.

Unfortunately, not very briskly. Powered by a 1.4-liter EcoTec turbo 4-cylinder, the Trax packs 138-hp and 148 lb.-ft. of torque out of the box. Those are respectable numbers in the compact crossover class, but in practice, it feels like much, much less. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive, the Trax has a hard time getting out of its own way. In fact, 60-mph takes almost 10 whole seconds at full tilt, and despite its turbo, it’s tough to get the Trax going when you need to make a quick city pass.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 2016 CHEVROLET TRAX

“Just switch it to manual mode and keep it in the power band!” you might say, but with the Trax it’s not that simple. There’s no separate gear selector position for manual mode or paddle shifters – instead, you get one up and down selector button right on the gear shift that isn’t exactly easy to use in spirited driving.

The whole car can fit a maximum cargo volume of 48.4-cubic feet with the seats folded down.Chevrolet

The whole car can fit a maximum cargo volume of 48.4-cubic feet with the seats folded down.

The ride is actually pretty comfortable, and there’s minimal road noise creeping in from the outside, but handling leaves a lot to be desired, as this top-heavy tiny truck drops a heaping of body roll on you in the corners.

At around $25,000, the Trax’s price is on par with rivals from this new class of compact ‘ute, including the fun-to-drive Mazda CX-3 and the value-heavy Honda HR-V, not to mention quirkier options like the Jeep Renegade and platform mate Fiat 500X. At that price, nearly all of its rivals have a leg up on the Trax in one or more categories, especially build quality.

The ride is actually pretty comfortable, and there’s minimal road noise creeping in from the outside. Chevrolet

The ride is actually pretty comfortable, and there’s minimal road noise creeping in from the outside.

If you’re really really loyal to the Chevrolet brand and need to downsize your crossover, we imagine you’ll be happy with the Trax. But in the face of the vast improvements in quality GM has shown across the board in recent years, the Trax feels like a relic already.

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