Chevrolet Trax

Youth focused

"Chevy's first entry into the small SUV/CUV segment

"Spacious passenger cabin"

"The Trax behaved itself well in tight turns"

 

Back in February 2014, I drove the Trax in Seoul, South of Korea. It was my first encounter with this small Chevrolet SUV and more specifically, by GM Korea. Now it was time to lay my hands on it and to elaborate about every single detail that could make it a potential for buyers. I collected the Chevy Trax from IMPEX, official distributor of Chevrolet in Lebanon.

Exterior
First shown at the 2012 Paris auto show, the Trax is mainly aimed at the urban resident, so exterior dimensions are kept very compact with minimal overhangs front and rear. It may be small, but the Trax preserves a robust Chevrolet face with its large headlights and split grille with Chevy's bowtie emblem.

The Chevrolet Trax pursuit is in the Middle East markets, such as Lebanon where space on the roads and parking lots are not enough. It is available in Dubai too due to the high demand from expats.

Interior
The interior appears to be more spacious than the compact exterior shows. The large windshield is the main reason, but so is the clever use of space. There are lots of ergonomics inside such as storage cubby holes, air vents and seats that fold eight different ways to maximize their efficiency for up to five passengers and a good amount of cargo.

The dash is driver-friendly with an asymmetrical design combining a round tachometer and a digital speedometer and info display. The center stack cascades down to the gear selector and is loaded with the audio controls. The steering wheel has controls for audio and your phone, plus it tilts and telescopes for good driver positioning; the six-way power driver's seat in the 2LT takes care of the rest. The rear seats naturally split 60/40.

With the Chevrolet MyLink connected radio, a standard feature on upper trim of the Trax, drivers will have a system at their fingertips that is easy to use and allows them to access media including specialist apps from compatible portable devices.

Drivetrain
In Lebanon, it seems the dealer is bringing one engine the 1.8 liters direct injection. This is my main concern. When I drove the Nissan Juke the first time, my main concern was about the slow engine, especially on mountainous roads. It is the same case with the Chevy Trax - as long as you are alone. On full board, better to stick to the highways in Lebanon with the 1.8 liters. The 1.4 liters turbo is the cure! Better consumption and whenever you need that punch on mountainous roads - the turbo is made for that.

Driving Impressions
I got to spend some time over the weekend driving the Trax along the mountainous roads of Keserwan, not too far from Jounieh's coast. Driving the Trax, there was almost no hint that I was behind the wheel of an AWD vehicle. The chassis felt dynamic and the Trax swallowed up deficiencies in the road with unusual composure. The steering stayed straightforward and refused to get into a yank of war with me when I purposely went over serious potholes. Since I personally managed to find a small number of terrible roads just to see how the Trax would react, I was satisfyingly surprised that the suspension declined the incitement to get harassed and transfer its disagreeableness into the cockpit when traveling over a long series of bumps.

The Trax behaved itself well in tight turns, and even blind corners much better than I would have expected from a short wheelbase and tall compact SUV/CUV. The Trax I drove felt equipped for sudden maneuvers, and it never felt like it was close to getting out of control even when making some tight turns on wet Lebanese roads.

Verdict
The Trax will make a lot of sense to a lot of young buyers, many of whom will probably be first-time buyers of new cars. My brother, who is now 18 years old, was among the age category that was attracted to the Trax. Visit your nearest located dealer in the Middle East and GCC and give yourself the chance to drive before you judge it. 

Pros: Value for the money, attractive exterior, spacious interior, drivability
Cons: 1.8 liters engine offered only
Rivals: Kia Sportage, Nissan Juke, Hyundai Tuscon, Suzuki SX4, Renault Captur, Ford Ecosport
4 stars

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