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2017 Chevy Trax offers impressive tech and safety features Featured

Apr 03, 2017 Hit: 394 Written by 
The 2017 Chevy Trax is best for city driving, and competes well with other mini-SUVs in terms of tech and safety offerings.
The 2017 Chevy Trax is best for city driving, and competes well with other mini-SUVs in terms of tech and safety offerings. Photo courtesy of GM

The Trax, being just a few years old now, is among the lesser known vehicles in the Chevy lineup. But this subcompact SUV is one the automaker has high hopes for, as sales continue to rise amid a surge in support for this emerging class of vehicles.

In essence, Chevy’s entry in the mini-ute category is a more simplified version of GM’s more upscale Buick Encore offering. I recently spent some time in a 2017 Trax and I am back with a full report on how it competes against the other small soldiers on the roadways.

LOOKS

While higher off the ground than sedans, mini-SUVs are going to all be pretty tight inside. It comes with the territory.

But overall, the Trax has a decent amount of room for the segment. Though sitting two up front and three in back will be a tight squeeze. I wouldn’t do it regularly unless the ones in back are all little ones.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2017 Chevy Trax
  • Price as tested:: $25,135 (starts at $21,000)
  • Best feature:: Strong safety ratings, affordable price, solid tech offerings
  • Rating:: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Subcompact SUV buyers who drive mostly in the city, and want to stay domestic with their purchase


In terms of comfort, I must note that the driver’s seat was pretty tight and not very comfortable to me. And as a six-footer, headroom was not much of a luxury in the Trax, though it is better than some in the category in this regard. While I could get used to it, I’m pretty sure those who are north of six feet would probably would want to skip this class of vehicle altogether.
Outside, the design of the Trax is sharp, but not overly exciting. You do get some design upgrades for 2017 on the grille and the rear, plus available halogen reflector headlamps, and an option for 18-inch aluminum wheels (Standard is 16-inch steel wheels, with 16-inch aluminum wheels also available).

In terms of storage, the area for carrying items can be expanded if you fold the rear seats down. Max cargo room is 48.4 cubic feet, which is on par or better than many alternatives, but still behind the class leaders. Weight of the vehicle is slightly over 3000 pounds.

ENGINE, HORSEPOWER

The 2017 Trax is powered by an Ecotec 1.4-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine; and it features a 6-speed automatic transmission. Performance numbers come in at 138 horsepower, and 148 lb.-ft. of torque.

The reality here is that there’s nothing to get too excited about here in terms of the drive. It often struggled to get moving as I would have liked it to, and in the subcompact SUV category there are other competitors in the segment that have the edge here. The Trax will get you where you need to go, but the enthusiasm isn’t there from under the hood.

Due to these power issues, I would recommend this vehicle more to people who drive mostly in the city, not to those who hit the highway regularly. The size will also be a benefit to city drivers who might need to fit it tighter parking situations.


On the positive side, the Trax does respond well to driver input, and offers a smooth ride that is relatively quiet.

Both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive are offered (AWD is optional, FWD is standard.)

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

One area GM has done very well with across its lineup in recent years is technology. It’s been an innovator, and continues to maintain that reputation.
A central tech feature offered is its 7.0-inch touchscreen and the latest Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, which has stayed up to date by being compatible with both Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay (which bring the functionality of your smartphone into the vehicle).

The OnStar system is included, with the OnStar Basic Plan included for five years.
With the OnStar RemoteLink App, you can contact roadside assistance, check your tire pressure monitor, and monitor your fuel range/oil life/trip odometer, and more.

You also get keyless start and keyless open on the Trax, along with standard 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot (fees are associated with this after initial trial).


For a mini-ute, the Trax has some excellent government safety ratings; damn near perfect actually. All ratings come in at five stars, other than rollover, which is four stars. That’s a huge boost for the Trax, as it will please those concerned about what safety they’ll get from a smaller vehicle.

Other highlights in the safety arena include: Ten standard airbags; Side Blind Zone Alert; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Forward Collision Alert; Lane Departure Warning; rear camera, and rear park assist.


MPG
Official fuel mileage numbers on the Trax are 25 city/33 highway/28 combined. My numbers came in slightly lower. You get a 14 gallon fuel tank, so a fillup will take you about 350 miles. These are strong numbers, but lag a few ticks behind segment leaders Mazda and Honda.


PRICE

My test vehicle came in at $25,135; and the base price starts around $21K. For this segment, that’s reasonable pricing, but a couple other models do undercut it by a couple thousand.
This vehicle is aimed at those who are primarily city drivers and want something more than a sedan, and are on a budget. On the high end, you’ll top out around $28K with a fully loaded Trax.

Three trim lines are offered -- LS, LT and Premier

This is year three for the Trax in U.S. (they debuted with the 2015 model year, two years after debuting in Canada), and so far reliability has been pretty strong on the vehicle.

BOTTOM LINE

If you come to the Trax with reasonable expectations, it may surprise you pleasantly. Sure, it’s not the most powerful in the segment, but the price is right, the safety is top-notch, and the ride is responsive enough.

It won’t be for everyone, and there are some great competitors here too (such as the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V), but if you’re looking to stay domestic with your mini-ute, the Trax and the slightly pricier Buick Encore are among your best options, especially if your driving is mostly in city conditions and not on the highway.


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AutoTechReviews.com can be foundon Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at theAutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be foundon Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com

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