Under the Hood: 2018 Chevrolet Trax

Despite selling poorly, the Chevrolet Trax will remain in production for the 2018 model year. Despite its semi-reasonable base MSRP of $21,000, the Trax hasn’t proved to be very popular among consumers.

Among other things, its styling scares away potential buyers. While the 2016 facelift improved styling greatly, it still retains its awkward rear end design. Furthermore, Chevrolet tried to sell it as a “CUV” which stands for “Compact Utility Vehicle,” despite sharing its platform with the not-very-utilitarian Chevrolet Sonic.

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The “CUV” class of vehicles hasn’t proved to be very popular. The only other true competitors to the Trax are the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, and the Mazda CX-3. It is an unpopular class of dull, uninspiring vehicles.

Performance Specifications

The 2018 Chevrolet Trax is powered by a miniscule 1.4-liter inline-four turbocharged engine producing just 138 horsepower. This is less than the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline-four Chevrolet used in the fifth generation Chevrolet Malibu, manufactured from 1997 to 2005.

Due to its meager power output, it takes the Trax a whopping 9.3 seconds to do the 0-60 sprint. It has a top speed of just 115 mph. The Trax has three available trim levels: the “LS” trim, the “LT” trim, and the “Premier” trim. Each variant has all-wheel drive available as an optional extra.

It is rumored that Chevrolet’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine will be available in the Trax in the not too distant future. This is unlikely, as the Trax has had very meager sales figures. Adding another engine to the lineup wouldn’t be a wise spend of money. That being said, it is much better than the 1.4-liter engine that the Trax currently comes with.

Fuel Economy

The Chevrolet Trax is capable of 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway. This figure stays roughly the same between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

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Safety and Entertainment Features

The 2018 Trax features GM’s so-called “StabiliTrak” stability control system. Apparently, if the system detects a loss of traction, it applies a certain amount of pressure to the brakes in order for the vehicle to maintain traction. It also features a tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lamps, a back-up camera, blind-spot warning, collision alert, park assist, as well as front and driver knee protectors. As do most modern GM vehicles, the Trax features OnStar. It also features a total of 10 airbags.

The Chevrolet Trax features Chevrolet’s “MyLink” radio system with an seven-inch touchscreen. This head unit also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. SirusXM satellite radio is an option, as well. The Trax also has a premium, seven speaker Bose audio system.

Like most modern Chevrolets, the Trax is available with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. When you purchase a new Trax, you receive a three-month, three-gigabyte free trial of the OnStar Wi-Fi hotspot.

How It Stacks Up Against the Competition

In all honesty, the CUV class of vehicles leaves much to be desired. There are very few competitors for the Trax, but none of them have proven to be popular.

The upcoming Ford EcoSport hasn’t been released yet, but it will be powered by a tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine producing just 123 horsepower. It goes from 0 to 100 in about the same time as the Trax, in the mid nine-second range. Pricing information hasn’t been released, but it will likely be in the same price bracket as the Trax.

The Honda HR-V is a pointless vehicle. It is effectively a Honda Fit with lifted suspension for $21,150. That is nearly $6,000 more than the Fit, which starts at a more reasonable $15,190. It has the same engine, and same basic underpinnings, though the HR-V is available with all-wheel drive. That being said, that doesn’t warrant a $6,000 price gulf. That’s just madness.

The Mazda CX-3 is probably the most attractive vehicle in the CUV class. It starts at $19,995, and is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four producing 146 horsepower. It goes from 0 to 60 in 8.1 seconds, making it faster than the Trax, as it accelerates onto a top speed of 120 mph all-wheel drive is an available option as well.

Pros

  • Decent fuel economy
  • Well equipped
  • Decent price
  • Good warranty

Cons

  • Questionable styling
  • Slow
  • Literally no torque at all
  • Questionable build quality

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