Affordable utility vehicle. The Chevrolet Trax was this brand’s most afforadable utility vehicle until the Chevy TrailBlazer arrived this year. The 2021 Chevy Trax is quite small, but its interior is surprisingly roomy.
Four can sit in comfort, five in a pinch. But we wouldn’t push a fifth person, except perhaps if there are three preteens in the back. If you need more space, starting your search with the Chevy Equinox or the Chevy Blazer is a better idea.
The Trax is a budget model and its low price is its signature appeal. Oddly, Chevy removed the top Premier trim this year, which also dispensed with the power moonroof and premium Bose audio system.
There's much overlap with the TrailBlazer in size and price, so check out the new model to get a feel for what Chevy offers.
Perky engine. We think the Trax’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine accomplishes its mission. It supplies decent off-the-mark acceleration and scoots the little Trax around town. It makes 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Chevy pairs the engine with a six-speed automatic transmission that seems almost archaic in a sea of nine- and 10-speed automatics these days.
Nevertheless, the Trax succeeds as an urban utility vehicle with its fuel economy ratings of 26 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway, and 28 combined, according to the EPA. On the other hand, you’ll find little joy as you tackle twisty roads or make your way down the interstate. Competing models simply do it better.
When properly equipped, the Trax is rated to tow up to 1,263 pounds. That’s not much, but it should be enough for anyone who dares to pull a skiff with this small crossover.
Drab interior. A low price point typically happens due to where a vehicle is built and how it is dressed. As for the Trax, it is made by GM Korea. As for its interior, the design is standard fare with lots of plastic everywhere.
A low-buck interior isn’t surprising, but competing models such as the Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30 do it better. Both models offer sleek styling and more padded materials, although you’ll pay a bit more for the premium touches with the CX-30.
The base LS is particularly spartan, while the upgraded LT attempts to ease that look. But upgraded upholstery and matte silver trim hardly justify the added price.
The Trax’s best feature inside may be its cargo space. Behind the second row is 18.7 cubic feet of space, which mushrooms to 48.4 when it's folded down.
Basic but functional infotainment. The 7-inch touchscreen display in the Trax is simple, but it gets the job done. The screen is clear and crisp and the learning curve is a short one.
You cannot get navigation with the Trax, but that’s no big loss. Instead, Chevy furnishes both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility, with features to take you there. A 120-volt outlet is included with the LT trim.
Eliminating the range-topping Premier trim means the previously available Bose audio system is no longer an option. Gone with it are a pair of safety features – forward collision warning and lane departure warning. This a curious move, one that'll have some shoppers looking at the TrailBlazer or rivals from other automakers.
Final thoughts. The 2021 Chevrolet Trax is big on a budget, but not necessarily on value. Competing models and the all-new TrailBlazer do it better. Perhaps the best thing going for the Trax is its fuel efficiency, but even that star point is matched or bettered by several competing models.
Check prices for the 2021 Chevrolet Trax »