The 2016 Chevy Trax is turning some heads, and for good reason. This little car is being labeled by Chevy as a “city-smart SUV,” and has been made in order to make urban travel a little easier, and hopefully a little less stressful. This is apparent when you first catch a glimpse of this vehicle, and is even more apparent when you get inside and see the ergonomic design of the instrument panel. While all these features make it “city-smart,” that doesn’t mean it’s confined to that type of environment; this compact SUV can still traverse the roads of a countryside just as well. With that being said, let’s take a look at what makes this vehicle so “city-smart.”
The instrument panel in this car is, too be honest, one of the better ones I’ve seen. Leading the charge in terms of ease and comfort are the controls on the steering wheel. The buttons are accessibly placed so you can control the important features (such as phone, radio volume, etc.), allowing you to keep your eyes on the road in that wild city environment.
If you can catch a breath, then you can look down and see a welcoming 7-inch diagonal touch-screen. The text is big, the options are easily distinguished from one another, and navigating it looks like a breeze thanks to the layout. It might not be as flashy as some of the other touch-screens out there, but simplicity is key when it comes to navigating the interface.
The program of choice paired with the interface is Chevrolet MyLink in order too make the experience even easier. You can make hands-free phone calls with it, as well as even stream music with Bluetooth connectivity. Both actions that would typically make your eyes wander away from the road, but thanks to the tried and true MyLink technology, that isn’t the case. Need too make a text? Siri Eyes Free has you covered in that department; just sync your iPhone and tell Siri that you want to send a text. You can even brush up on your daily appointments by checking your calendar through Siri Eyes Free.
Topping it all off is the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that is in the Trax, so no matter where you go in the city, you will always have access to the GPS on your phone. This could be helpful in a more rural environment too, especially for all you city-folk who are used to having a street sign at every corner…
The overall design of this car is… surprisingly good. You think there would be some sort of catch because of how compact it is, but there isn’t. It’s a rather handsome SUV; with an athletic and bold design led by Chevy’s staple split grille underneath a chiseled hood. It has powerful contours that run back from the hood, making it a powerful but slick looking vehicle. It definitely has some “curb appeal,” which is Chevy’s way of saying it looks good.
On the engineering side of things, it’s definitely compact. The vehicle is about 14 feet long, 5 feet high, and just shy of 6 feet wide. These dimensions all fit together to make the perfect size car; it provides the elevated visibility and awareness of a slightly larger crossover SUV while giving you the driving capabilities of a compact vehicle. Since everyone knows that curb weight is the bane of fuel economy, the compact size also helps greatly when it comes to the fuel efficiency.
Since this is a compact car, you’d figure the interior of the vehicle would lack comfort and storage space. In a pleasant and surprising turn of events, it doesn’t. The interior is actually quite roomy and comfortable, and there is versatility when it comes to storage. There are various seating configurations that allow you to store more or less depending on how much space you need. The front passenger seat can be folded down flat, along with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, providing up to 8 feet of storage length for longer items.
The various configurations provide a seemingly endless combination of storage and passenger options, making this little car big on interior space.
The engine in this little car is a 1.4-liter ECOTEC turbocharged engine, and it produces 138 horsepower and 148 feet-pound of torque. This engine might seem a little on the weak side for bigger cars, but it’s the perfect size for this car. The Variable Valve Timing and multi-port fuel injection from the turbocharge lets this car get maximum fuel efficiency while still delivering good driving performance. Will it win drag races? No, but the turbocharged engine will provide you the kick you need to quickly dart through those city streets.
The fuel economy in this car is pretty good for not being a hybrid; it gets 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Which is plenty to keep you going on a single tank for a while, especially if you are just driving around the city. But, making a trip to visit your friend living in the countryside wouldn’t hurt your wallet, either.
There is an All Wheel Drive option available if you want a little more control in a harsher climate. However, it hurts the efficiency slightly; dropping it down to 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
Don’t worry, just because the car is small doesn’t mean the safety rating is. It offers plenty of safety features to prevent and protect you from any collisions. The StabiliTrak electronic stability system helps you maintain control when you encounter ice, snow, gravel, wet pavement, or anything else that might compromise your driving. It can also help avoid collisions and maintain control during emergency lane changes or avoidance maneuvers. Best part is it helps automatically, no need to worry about engaging it during your time of need.
The Trax also comes with 10 airbags that cover most of the inside, and a high-strength steel safety cage that surrounds the cab of the vehicle.
For preventative measures, the Trax features rear park assist and a rear vision camera. The rear park assist makes warning sounds when you get too close while backing up to something; which is the last line of defense if the rear vision camera doesn’t cut it for you.
OnStar is also on-board with the Trax, but only for the first six months. It has automatic crash response that will allow someone from OnStar contact you in the event of a collision, asking if you need help contacting emergency services. If you don’t respond after a certain time, they will automatically contact emergency services for you; sending them to your location via GPS tracking.
This little car packs a big punch when it comes to competitive pricing, and it’s not sorry. The base model starts at an MSRP from $20,300 dollars, and goes up depending on trim level and options added. Which is about 3 grand lower than the 2016 Ford Escape model, a decent competitor. This “city-smart SUV” has a fantastic ratio of power to fuel efficiency, and the size of the car makes it easy to race around the city while looking for a parking spot. The smaller size clearly does not mean less space or safety, and utilizing the technological features available is a breeze.
All of this combines too make the perfect “city-smart” vehicle, one that isn’t just limited to urban confines.