Trax Provides Pleasant Surprises

CHATHAM, Mass. – The redesigned (second generation) 2024 Chevrolet Trax 2RS subcompact sport-utility (SUV) surprised me – in a particularly good way.

I did not expect much when I was told I would be spending a week in the 1.2-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder (that’s right – three cylinders!) Chevy but one look at the very handsome exterior lines, a peak inside at the very well-equipped cabin and a fast perusal of the window-sticker’s bottom line — $26,540 (including destination) convinced me this small SUV packed a lot of value.

Could the driving/riding experience live up to the bottom line?

Longer, lower and wider than the previous Trax generation, this small SUV’s presence was greater than its specifications led me to believe.

Unique powertrain

On paper, the 1.2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine does not sound like much: 137 horsepower and 162 pounds-feet of torque, but upon closer examination it produces more power than a few of its four-cylinder competitors.

Operating through the front wheels (FWD is the lone configuration for all Trax variants), the engine, along with the six-speed automatic transmission, can motivate the pint-sized five-passenger (in a pinch; more comfortable for four) vehicle from rest to 60 miles per hour (according to Car and Driver) in 8.8 seconds. Not a super-car number, but quite adequate for both daily maneuvering through Cape Cod’s heightened seasonal traffic as well as handling highway activities without any drama.

Efficiency might be the best way to describe the powertrain because along with the more than reasonable performance comes solid gas mileage. I saw 32+ miles per gallon of regular gasoline during my week behind the wheel, better than the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s rating of 30 mpg overall (28 urban, 30 highway).

Platform pieces do the job

The front suspension features MacPherson-type struts with coil-over springs and a direct-acting stabilizer bar, while in the rear a compound crank (torsion beam) suspended by coil springs with twin-tube shock absorbers does the job. Combined with a wheelbase (1063 inches) nearly six inches longer and wider track (61.4 inches front, 62.3 inches rear) than the previous version, along with the standard Stabilitrak stability-control system with traction control, the new Trax is demonstrably superior in both handling and ride comfort than its predecessor.

In the real world, the 2024 Trax acquitted itself quite nicely when pushed to take on the twisting roads on the Cape Cod Bay side of the Outer Cape. And I received nothing but compliments on the SUV’s overall comfort from the several different-sized passengers I took on trips, many while stuck in that aforementioned seasonal traffic.

Four-wheel, power-assisted disc brakes operate inside 19-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels which are mounted with P245/45R19 all-season tires.

Surprising – again – advanced driver-assistance systems

The standard and available advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) are impressive for a vehicle in this price range. Standard is Chevy Safety Assist with forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking (AEB), front-pedestrian braking, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, following-distance indicator and Intellibeam (Chevrolet’s automatic high-beam system).

Optional ($650) on this Trax 2RS was the Driver Confidence Package which brought rear cross-traffic alert, land-change alert with side blind-zone alert and adaptive cruise control ADAS.

Inside comfort, technology and amenities

As Chevrolet said in describing the Trax’s interior, “display screens are the centerpiece of the tech-forward design.” Standard on the 2RS version is an 11-inch infotainment color touchscreen which is perfect for interacting with the wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone functions. The infotainment system also features Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio and steering-wheel controlled voice activation.

The driver can customize the information shown on the eight-inch cluster display.

The climate-control system is automatic; there is keyless push-button starting; the front seats are heated along with the steering wheel and outside mirrors, and the electronic parking brake allows for additional storage in the center console. The 2RS also brings red accents on the seats and a racing-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel.

The one interior option ($895) is the power sunroof (with manual shade).

Like the SUV’s driving dynamics, the interior benefits from the larger overall footprint in comparison to previous versions. The 11-inch greater length and two-inch greater width than the current model translates into greater roominess and cargo capacity, including three inches more rear legroom, which increases comfort for rear-seat passengers, and maximum cargo capacity that increases by nearly 12 percent.

Living with the Trax would be just fine

While attending a recent #NewEnglandMotorPressAssociation (#NEMPA) meeting, I got into a conversation with two journalists who publish a GM-centric blog. The three of us expressed the same amount of surprise over just how appealing the all-new 2024 Chevrolet Trax 2RS was in every way (we all lamented its lack of all-wheel drive, something New Englanders desire for our challenging seasons). All said we could see owning one and being quite comfortable with our significant other driving it on a regular basis.

This comment is the highest praise an automotive journalist can lavish on a vehicle!

The 2024 Trax can be had in one of five trim versions starting at $21,495 for the LS then $23,195 for the 1RS; $23,395 for the LT; $24,995 for the 2RS (like I drove), and $24,995 for the ACTIV. All are solid value; all would be an excellent choice.

Next week TBR Drives the 2023 Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.