2013 Chevrolet Trax LTZ Road Test Review

Jennifer Hofmann - CAP staff
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Have you noticed how many different types of vehicles there are available now? It used to be you had a truck or you had a car. Now it's not so easy to tell. The perfect example is the tester I drove this week, the 2013 Chevy Trax. It doesn't really look like a car. It's too small to be an SUV. What exactly is it? Well, we don't really need to know, do we? The best part about there being so many different types of vehicles is that you can find exactly what suits your needs. The Trax is aimed in part to my exact demographic. Well, okay, to my exact demographic a few years ago, but still! I am socially active, tech savvy, educated, and, uh, cough, young.

Starting with the interior, it's easy to see how it is directed at the younger crowd. First of all, in the base model you can't even get a CD player, although they come standard with an aux input (iPod, etc.) and Bluetooth (as well as AM/FM of course). The LT and LTZ (which I had) include MP3 playback and Bluetooth audio streaming, SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as the CD player. There are no knobs or many buttons. Rather, you'll need to rely on either the nicely sized 7-inch MyLink touchscreen or the steering wheel controls. I found both easy to learn and easy to use. There's no navigation system available, but you can download an app called BringGo on your smartphone that wirelessly displays on the MyLink screen. This could be the future for navigation systems!

I was happy to find the USB connection not in plain view, but tucked away in one of the two glove boxes. Yes I said two glove boxes. The Trax has all kinds of little storage places. From the sliding drawer under the passenger seat to various cubbies spread around, even to storage spaces underneath the floor mats, you'll have somewhere to stow almost anything you need to bring along. There are six cupholders, four in a slightly awkward space under the driver's armrest (the Trax only has one armrest for the driver), but I was simultaneously ashamed and proud of how quickly I filled them up with empty drink cups and full water bottles.

Although the Trax provides beverage holders for six, you can only technically seat five, but if you're planning to put three adults in the backseat it will be a bit of a squeeze.

Continuing on with the idea that you can carry anything you really want to in a Trax, the backseat folds totally flat with a 60/40 split, and the front passenger seat folds down as well! This gives you a lot of options for carting home whatever Ikea furniture you've purchased, or whatever else you might need to transport, within limits of course. Backseat folded down will give you 1,370 litres of cargo capacity to play with.

The only thing that seemed out of place in the interior was a pretty large child lock button right on the centre stack. Does it need to be so big and obvious? Unless you're planning on locking your friends in the backseat, I'm not sure that it's necessary.

I liked the blue contrast stitching on the seats, which nicely accented the silver mesh-look trim on the dash. Some of the materials on the controls had soft plastics, but most were the regular hard stuff. With the Trax coming in at $20,045 including freight and pre-delivery preparation for the base mode, cheaper than most of its competition such as the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul, I guess I can't really expect soft touch plastics. And I especially can't complain when they include things that are more important to me such as remote keyless entry, exterior power mirrors, ten airbags and an air filtration system.

I can complain about the exterior design however, which is a bit boring. The rest of the car seems to have quite the personality, yet particularly the front fascia seemed to just blend in with a lot of other crossovers. I will say I like the mini mirror within the sideview mirrors. Many car companies are starting to incorporate this "extra view" idea, and I thought that the Trax mirrors were the best executed that I've seen so far.

Also positive, this new Chevy comes with another Chevy's heart, the Sonic's 1.4-litre Ecotec turbo engine that puts out 138-horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. If you choose the LS model, which is front-wheel drive, you'll get the six-speed manual transmission; a six-speed automatic is optional. If you go with either the LT model or the LTZ (which again I tested), the automatic comes standard. Also with anything above the LS you have the option of all-wheel drive.

On the road, I found that the Trax gave me pretty much what I wanted in terms of power and handling. I enjoyed its zippy acceleration off the line, as well as the light, quick feel of its steering. The engine can get a bit noisy at highway speeds, but nothing its decent sounding audio system couldn't cancel out.

That LTZ-standard sound system is a seven-speaker Bose unit with an external amplifier.  Also included in this trim level are very attractive five-spoke 18-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels (upgraded from the 16-inch steel wheels). There's a chrome accent on the liftgate handle too, plus leatherette seating surfaces. Both front seats are heated, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror is included, while fog lights improve night vision, all for a total of $28,930.

If you feel the Trax might fit your style, its youth-oriented target market suiting your particular stage in life or not, check it out. I found it to be a great around-town crossover-SUV, with a lot of little extras someone slightly older might really like. Either way, the Chevy Trax is a fun, useful and possibly "just the right size" vehicle for today's fuel-conscious market. It certainly works for me.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Chevrolet, 2013, Trax, $10,000 - $19,999, $20,000 - $29,999, Subcompact,

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