2015 Chevrolet Trax

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
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Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2015 Chevrolet Trax. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Visibility
  • Tall seating position
  • Large cargo area
  • Tech gadgets
  • Media device storage

The Bad

  • No knob for radio volume
  • Weak acceleration
  • Small side mirrors

Notable Features of the 2015 Chevrolet Trax

  • Room for five
  • Turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Standard 7-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-or all-wheel drive
  • Available 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot

2015 Chevrolet Trax Road Test

Bill Jackson

Gone are the days when "SUV" meant "big" and "subcompact" meant "hatchback or sedan." Automakers are now rolling a line of crossovers and SUVs out into the munchkin body-type end of the market.

With its 2015 Trax, Chevrolet has offered up a tiny SUV with exceptional visibility, good interior room and a surprisingly large cargo area, but pokey acceleration — especially with optional all-wheel drive.

The Trax is offered in base LS trim as well as LT and LTZ versions. Each model uses the same 138-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Each trim also has the option of front- or all-wheel drive. Prices range from $20,995 for an LS with front-wheel drive, up to $27,405 for an LTZ with all-wheel drive. All prices include an $875 destination charge.

The Chevrolet Trax will vie in the subcompact SUV class with models such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke, as well as new entries like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. You can compare these vehicles here, along with the Trax's bigger sibling, the Chevy Equinox. (The Mazda and Honda cars are not yet on sale as of this writing, and the Juke will be updated for the 2015 model year.)

General Motors says it's aiming the Trax at what it calls "Urban Explorers" who like to seek out new adventures in the city. I drove one in San Diego, winding my way through neighborhoods and hills in an LS both with and without AWD, as well as in a front-wheel-drive LTZ.

Exterior & Styling
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Gone are the days when "SUV" meant "big" and "subcompact" meant "hatchback or sedan." Automakers are now rolling a line of crossovers and SUVs out into the munchkin body-type end of the market.

With its 2015 Trax, Chevrolet has offered up a tiny SUV with exceptional visibility, good interior room and a surprisingly large cargo area, but pokey acceleration — especially with optional all-wheel drive.

The Trax is offered in base LS trim as well as LT and LTZ versions. Each model uses the same 138-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Each trim also has the option of front- or all-wheel drive. Prices range from $20,995 for an LS with front-wheel drive, up to $27,405 for an LTZ with all-wheel drive. All prices include an $875 destination charge.

The Chevrolet Trax will vie in the subcompact SUV class with models such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Juke, as well as new entries like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. You can compare these vehicles here, along with the Trax's bigger sibling, the Chevy Equinox. (The Mazda and Honda cars are not yet on sale as of this writing, and the Juke will be updated for the 2015 model year.)

General Motors says it's aiming the Trax at what it calls "Urban Explorers" who like to seek out new adventures in the city. I drove one in San Diego, winding my way through neighborhoods and hills in an LS both with and without AWD, as well as in a front-wheel-drive LTZ.

Exterior & Styling
The 
Chevrolet Trax has conventional SUV styling and the split grille that's shared by many of Chevrolet's cars. It's bulbous, but in a good way. It looks better to me than the larger, more angular Equinox.

There are some differences among the trim levels, notably that the LS doesn't have the roof rails that the other trims do. Further, the standard wheels are 16-inch steel ones on front-wheel-drive LS models, 16-inch aluminum ones on AWD LS models and all LT models, and 18-inch aluminum wheels on all LTZ models.

Finally, to give you an idea of the size, the Trax is about 4 inches longer than the Soul and about 5 inches longer than the Juke. The Trax is within an inch of the Soul and Juke in terms of width and within 3-4 inches when it comes to height. Compared to the next-smallest Chevrolet SUV, the Equinox, the Trax is about 20 inches shorter, 3 inches narrower and about the same height.

How It Drives
Just as there's no getting around the fact that the 
Chevrolet Trax is a small car, there's also no getting around the fact that it's a modestly powered one. It has good accelerator response initially, so you know the car wants to go, but what happens after that largely depends on your drive equipment: With AWD, there's no surge of power. Instead, it just sort of ambles along up to speed. It's not terrible around town, but the lack of power is noticeable, and hills and highway merges are a definite weak spot.

It's better with front-wheel drive. It's the same engine, so there's no additional power, but with front-wheel drive the Trax is about 150 pounds lighter and feels quicker.

In either case, the six-speed automatic transmission does what it can by kicking down gears or holding on to them to give as much power as it can. I prefer this transmission to many of the continuously variable automatic transmissions on the market in terms of responsiveness and behavior.

Still, I'd go so far as to recommend drivers test both models and ask themselves if they really, truly need AWD before going with that version, especially given the mileage penalty they'll pay: The EPA rates the front-wheel-drive Trax at 26/34/29 mpg city/highway/combined and the AWD Trax at 24/31/27 mpg. These numbers are about 3 or 4 combined mpg higher than the front- or AWD Equinox, for comparison's sake.

Finally, the Chevrolet Trax has a pretty good ride, even with the larger 18-inch alloy wheels on the LTZ. I was expecting a jarring ride from something with such a short wheelbase, but it absorbed the potholes of southern California very well. Compared with other vehicles like it, it's on the more comfortable end of the ride spectrum, with the Juke on the harder end and the Soul in the middle.

Interior
The car's interior space is also bigger than you'd expect just looking at it from the outside. My co-driver was about the same size as me — about 6 feet tall and broad through the shoulders — and we never bumped elbows during our drive. Make no mistake: This is a small car — but while you'll be cozy, you won't be cramped.

The front seats could be a bit more supportive. I felt like the optional imitation leather seats were more firm and offered more support, but the standard cloth seats were too mushy for me.

In the backseat, the same cozy but not cramped interior space carries over. I had plenty of legroom and headroom with the driver's seat set to a comfortable position for me. My knees were a bit raised and there was a lack of thigh support, but for the short, urban trips that Chevrolet has in mind for this vehicle, it'd be fine.

Overall interior quality is OK. There's a lot of hard plastic, but it looks acceptable. LTZ trims get more chrome accents and a nicer metallic finish around the climate controls and radio. Overall, it's fine for a Chevrolet; if it were a Cadillac or Buick I'd raise more complaints. The LTZ does feature an option seven-speaker Bose upgrade.

If power isn't the Trax's calling card, visibility will be. The Trax has the best visibility of any car I've recently driven. Obviously a lot of that is how the windshield and windows are shaped and angled. The Trax is more upright in design than a lot of swoopy cars out there, and that's a benefit; its high seating position also aided visibility.

I do wish the side mirrors were a bit larger, but that's a fairly minor complaint given how outstanding visibility is in this car. I think shoppers moving from other compact sedans and hatchbacks will be impressed with how much more they can see when driving the Trax.

It won't just be Chevrolet Trax drivers noticing things going on around them: Passengers will benefit, too, especially wee ones. One of the Trax's designers told me a challenge they were given was to make it so that a 5-year-old could see out the rear window. I can't vouch for their success — no 5-year-olds were provided for our test drive — but all-around visibility is excellent.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Chevrolet uses its MyLink system for multimedia and navigation integration. In the era of ubiquitous smartphones, having a system that works with your phone's navigation makes a lot of sense. Why pay for a fully integrated navigation system if you can punch the destination into your phone and have the map display on your vehicle's screen? And why pay extra for that integrated system? This also gets automakers out of the business of trying to be one step ahead of smartphones, app developers and Google. That's smart. Yes, you do need to have Sirius XM satellite radio and the BringGo app, but I'd still take that setup on convenience alone.

What I'm less sold on are the controls for the radio volume: Instead of knobs, you're given two touch-sensitive arrow buttons. I don't think that's as intuitive or easy-to-use as a knob, and I think it's not smart.

The rest of the controls for the climate control are knobs and buttons, and it's nice to see Chevrolet resisted the temptation to move those controls over to a touch-screen menu.

Finally, on the electronics front, there's available 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot via OnStar.

Cargo & Storage
The 
Chevrolet Trax's ability to carry cargo is notable. With the rear seats in place, there's a surprisingly large cargo area. It'd easily be enough for at least three adults' luggage, and the liftover height isn't terribly high.

If that's not enough room, there are split-folding, flat-folding seats in back , and all Trax models have a front passenger seat that folds flat and is backed with plastic to allow you to carry long items, such as surfboards.

Moving around to the front, it's largely the same story: There's lots of room for stuff. There's no center console, but there are numerous door pockets and a storage area under the passenger seat. Also, the Trax has top-of-dash storage for sunglasses, as well as a compartment above the glove box that has a USB port; it's also large enough for a bigger smartphone plus a pair of gloves or something.

Safety
The 
Chevrolet Trax has not yet been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Trax a five-star rating — the agency's highest — for frontal impacts and a four-star rating for rollovers. The ratings are the same whether the vehicle has all- or front-wheel drive. The Trax has not had a side crash test performed, and there's no overall crash-test rating for the car.

You can check out the full list of safety technologies here.

Value in Its Class
Instead of trying to be a sporty SUV or a wildly styled one, the Trax aims for modest performance with more practicality.

In its class, starting with mileage, the Chevrolet Trax is competitive with what's out there now. Its combined mileage figures of 29 mpg with front-wheel drive and 27 mpg with AWD compare well with the Soul's 26 mpg (for models with a six-speed automatic transmission) and the 2014 Juke's figures of 29 and 27 mpg with front- and all-wheel drive, respectively (though the Juke takes premium gas).

In terms of practicality, the Soul has more cargo room — 61.3 cubic feet of maximum luggage volume compared with 48.4 for the Chevrolet Trax — but I've had issues both fitting long items into the back of the Soul and fitting myself into the Soul's backseat. (Both the Trax and Soul are substantially larger than the Juke's maximum cargo volume of 35.9 cubic feet.) So I'm not ready to say that it's a slam-dunk, no-brainer choice to go with the Soul if cargo room is your top priority.

Where it gets really interesting is when you consider the fact that there's more in the market than small SUVs. For roughly the same price, the Trax also faces competition from other small cars, in particular the Subaru Impreza and Mazda3.

The Impreza offers better mileage (31 mpg combined with an automatic transmission and standard AWD) and more overall cargo room (52.4 cubic feet versus 48.4). The Mazda3 hatchback offers similar mileage with an automatic transmission (31-33 mpg, depending on which engine is selected), similar cargo space (47.1 cubic feet versus 48.4) and a lot more driving fun.

So if mileage and practicality are the criteria, the Trax faces stiff competition just from those two cars. Its major line of defense is the visibility you get from the higher driving position of its SUV body style.

As a small SUV, the Chevrolet Trax largely succeeds in its mission. It's a well-packaged vehicle that offers a surprising amount of interior room, the option of AWD and great visibility. But even though it's not trying to be a sports car, I still think it needs more power to excel anywhere other than short urban trips. Further, considering the Trax as a small car — not an SUV — opens your options to consider hatchbacks that offer more space and good, if not better, mileage. In that case, its high seating position and visibility will likely be the winning cards for the Trax.

Send Bill an email  

 


2015 Trax Video

The Trax is a practical small SUV with plenty of features that shoppers want, but there are also a few things they should keep in mind such as its lack of power and less-than-impressive fuel economy figures.

Latest 2015 Trax Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

great value for your money

by traxstar from Bellevue on October 9, 2018

the most basic package stills comes with so much great stuff. the gas mileage is great with this vehicle. this is a very reliable vehicle Read full review

(5.0)

A very extraordinary vehicle I have ever Owned

by ADH baker from Mandan on October 1, 2018

This car was exactly what I was looking for It met all my needs And wants I will definitely recommend it to allIt purrs like a kitten and runs like a Cadillac love it Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 Chevrolet Trax currently has 6 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2015 Chevrolet Trax LS w/1LS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Chevrolet
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)

  • Powertrain warranty

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Trax received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

C

Rear-facing convertible

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker