Chevrolet Trax Premier LT – Only one thorn on its stem

I didn’t pay attention to the Trax until Chevrolet gave it a refresh in 2018, utilizing a very aggressive front face and a redesigned rear that although it’s not as striking as the front, the less cladding, more sculpting concept won me over. I really love the Camaro-ish look it has that personally, I think only the Camaro is more beautiful than the Trax in Chevrolet Philippines’ lineup.

Chevy tried to improve the already stunning design by giving it a Premier treatment – blacked-out logo and rims, decals, a crossbar on the roof rails, a black fin-type antenna, integrated 1080p dashcam, carbon air ionizer, and a tray in the cargo area. Together in this ‘Pull Me Over Red’ color, the name Premier is very apt, as if it’s the car of a celebrity about to walk the red carpet.

Looks alone can’t make cars roll out of showrooms though so I took the Trax Premier LT for a drive to see if it’s a Miss Universe beauty-and-brains woman or just another cute vlogger with erroneous statements.

From the get-go, you can immediately feel that the Trax has a lively powertrain underneath, like it’s excited for you to just step on the gas pedal and never let go. It’s more responsive than the average crossover and the 140hp and 200Nm out of the 1.4L turbo engine doesn’t seem to mind the heavy body it’s carrying. It’s helped by the 6-speed automatic that made the Trax really fun to drive. It still won’t pull your head back when you floor it, but it also won’t disappoint you in doing overtakes in between a long cruising drive.

Speaking of cruising, the Trax is more than prepared for the city thanks to its cruise control that can be activated as low as 25 km/h. It’s not-adaptive cruise so you still have to press the brakes, but you don’t have to do brake-gas-brake-gas on EDSA anymore. Just flick the Resume button and it will go back to the preset speed again.

Once my drive was over, I checked the fuel consumption and the Trax returned 6.9km/l which is tolerable given that I drove through heavy traffic, thanks to the closed U-Turn slots in EDSA. On average it does around 9.1km/l, though it depends how often you are on very congested roads these days.

The nuances caught up with me after the initial pleasure of driving the Trax waned. First is shifting the car to Park will also unlock the doors—convenient but not the safest. Next is the beautiful, wingspread-esque dashboard places the air vents very low, and for the driver that means air is blowing directly to your hands if they’re in the proper position on the steering wheel. The driver’s retractable armrest sits too low and doesn’t have a height adjustment. Even the speakers caught my attention because they’re labeled as “Performance Enhanced Audio Power Booster,” but they lack bass and mid presence. It’s not noticeable for the average user to be honest, but something worth pointing out if you’re particular about your sound.

On the bright side, everything else feels premium from the driver’s seat. The 1080p dashcam is integrated well in the overall aesthetics and doesn’t stick out, the leather from the steering wheel feels like it was taken from the Malibu, then there’s electric controls for the driver’s seat with lumbar support, and the buttons click softly while the rotary knobs have a soft detent at every notch. The 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though relatively small, is still pleasant to use even if you’re just connecting via Bluetooth.

Passengers won’t mind the back row too much unless they’re giants. There’s enough headroom and legroom for most people. There’s a center armrest with cup holders, a 230V socket on the center channel, and not much else aside from the good leather on the seats.

As for the unseen guardians, the Trax has an impressive set of safety features. That includes 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, parking sensors, reverse camera, and tire pressure monitoring system, among others.

To sum it up, the Trax Premier LT has a stunning look, forgivable interior quirks, premium feel, adequate room, a generous set of safety features, and a great powertrain. The catch? It costs a hefty P1,535,888. To be fair though, that’s the same price when the excise tax hit the local car scene back in 2018. Chevrolet Philippines didn’t have a price hike even when they added these exterior touches.

Aside from the price, the Trax Premier LT is also threatened by its twin, the lower-trim Trax Premier LS. For P350k less, you’re getting the same core of the crossover albeit with several features pulled out. You’ll lose the projector headlamps, power folding mirrors, keyless entry, leather steering wheel, cruise control, push start, smartphone mirroring, and the special Performance Enhanced Audio Power Booster among others. Everything else remains – the engine, transmission, that intimidating look of the Trax, and the full suite of safety features, including the dashcam.

In a market that’s now infiltrated by new, more affordable options, the Trax Premier LT will have a tough time convincing anyone to choose it over anything else, let alone its twin. You have to love every detail about it to shell out that much. It’s not a bad car. In fact, it’s really good for the most part.

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