Making Trax

Amid a glut of crossovers, the Chevrolet Trax more than holds its own, as Wheels host Matteo Guidicelli and myself found out. It is an unabashed crossover that does not pretend to be a full-service SUV. In fact, based on the vehicle’s looks and features, it actually embraces the true crossover spirit—assuming both ute and sedan qualities and distilling them into a congruous whole.

When viewed from the front, the vehicle’s sedan inspiration is immediately evident. Elegant daytime running lamps complement the headlamp assembly, and a more aerodynamic (as opposed to muscular) lines improve not only aerodynamics but the sedan aesthetics. A skid plate and two fog lamps betray its SUV functionality.

From the side, the Trax’s outline also reveals its crossover ethos. Flared fenders give a sense of presence, while a black plastic accent in its lower quarters lends an illusion of elevation from the ground. Lift the tailgate and you’re rewarded with 356 liters of space—a number that can go up to 1,375 with the rear seatbacks folded.

Motivating the affair is a 1.4-liter Ecotec engine. No biggie, you say? Well, it’s frugal on the gas but belches out a hearty 142 horses and 200Nm (the latter accessed from 1,850rpm) because it’s delightfully turbocharged.

Inside, the Trax is surprisingly spacious, and loaded with thoughtful tech and amenities. An infotainment system is pillared on a seven-inch touchscreen display which doubles as a reverse camera screen. The standard niceties are present such as steering wheel controls, but Chevy ups the ante with a tire pressure monitoring system, start/stop button, and even a 230-volt socket ostensibly to keep your devices such laptops or tablets topped up.

Completing the Trax experience is effortless drivability. There’s some noticeable turbo lag if your foot is a heavy paperweight, but this shortcoming is nowhere near a deal-breaker as this vehicle is a complete, compelling performer that offers a breath of fresh air in a segment where you’ll be pressed to search for standouts.

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