A red 2024 Chevy Trax RS is shown at night.

Emerging From the Shadows and Into the Spotlight: The Upward Trajectory of the Chevy Trax

The Trax launched into Chevy’s international lineup in 2013 and made its American debut two years later as the automaker’s smallest SUV. The subcompact crossover immediately earned its place in the spotlight and appealed to those looking for something larger than a sedan without compromising agility or efficiency. The Trax accomplished the feat and carved its niche in the segment.

The 2024 Chevy Trax tells the story’s next chapter, emerging from the shadows of its larger siblings. It sheds the skin of its predecessor in exchange for a bolder and more athletic design, a voluminous cabin replete with luxuries, and a tech-savvy interior with the latest connectivity, safety, and driver-assist features constantly at work. The newest iteration of the Trax introduces the Miss Congeniality of transformations in the automotive industry, proving Chevy has plenty of tricks in its wheelhouse to breathe new life into the compact crossover.

Just as Sandra Bullock’s character, Gracie Hart, transforms into a pageant queen on the silver screen, the 2024 Trax’s transformation is only complete by looking at how far it’s come. After all, a proper makeover deserves a before and after picture. Don’t you agree?

Footprint: Then vs. Now

The 2015 Trax debuted as a subcompact crossover with a small footprint and a surprisingly spacious and accommodating cabin. The first-generation Trax sits on a 100.6-inch wheelbase and measures 168.5 in long, 69.9 in wide, and 65.9 in tall. The Trax’s wide stance adds to its stability, while its length and height optimize the size of the cabin, which offers seating for five, a passenger volume of 92.8 cu.ft., and 48.4 cu.ft. of cargo space with the rear seat folded.

The 2024 Trax grows significantly with its redesign as Chevy adds nearly half a foot to its wheelbase, bringing it to 106.3 in. The automaker also stretches the Trax’s length to 178.6 in, a significant increase that complements its broader width of 71.7 in. Conversely, the Trax is shorter than its predecessor, sitting only 61.4 in tall, which gives it a more aggressive and boxier stance. Even so, the reduced height doesn’t compromise the cabin’s spaciousness, with the 2024 Trax boasting a passenger volume of 99.8 cu.ft. and more cargo room than ever at 54.1 cu.ft.

Connectivity: Then vs. Now

The Trax immediately turned heads in 2015 as a highly valuable and versatile SUV with an exceptional technology suite. Yet, today, that technology seems outdated compared to the 2024 Trax. How so?

The 2015 Trax features the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system on a 7-inch color touchscreen display. At the time, the MyLink system was innovative because of its customization options and in-vehicle apps like Pandora, Stitcher, and TuneIn radio. Also Bluetooth-compatible and capable of linking to smartphones and MP3 devices, the display doubles as a mobile connectivity hub and comes with OnStar and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. Chevrolet added to the Trax’s appeal by including Siri Eyes Free for iPhone, a feature exclusive to iPhone users that enables voice-controlled, hands-free connectivity.

Fast forward to 2024, and the latest iteration of the Trax delivers innovative technology in the same high-value packaging as its predecessor. Fortunately, that technology has dramatically improved. For example, the Trax’s former 7-inch display is replaced by a standard 8-inch or available 11-inch infotainment color touchscreen display. The larger displays mirror the 2024 Trax’s tech-centric interior and Chevy’s success at delivering seamless connectivity by making wireless smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard across the lineup.

A green 2024 Chevy Trax Activ is shown from the rear parked in front of a bay.

Safety and Driver-Assist: Then vs. Now

Chevy is renowned for its vehicle designs, often using high-strength steel to build models like the Trax. The 2015 and 2024 SUVs are no different and feature advanced body structures, protective caging, and the latest safety technologies. However, while the models share many similarities, their safety technologies provide dramatic differences.

The 2015 Trax earned distinction with its best-in-class ten standard airbags, stretching from the driver and front passenger to the side curtains for front and rear outboard passengers. Chevy complements the Trax‘s comprehensive airbag system with tech-savvy features like a standard rearview camera and Rear Park Assist on top-tier trims. Behind the scenes, the 2015 Trax relies on Chevy’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to mitigate rollovers and improve traction.

Chevy doesn’t reinvent the wheel with the 2024 Trax. Instead, it builds on its proven design by expanding its footprint and adding newer technologies and features to optimize your safety. These technologies are centralized in the Chevy Safety Assist suite and are standard on every trim. The suite outfits the Trax with Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, a Following Distance Indicator, IntelliBeam automatic high beams, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. Moreover, you can enhance this technology with advanced tools like Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control, a far cry from the standard cruise control found on the 2015 Trax’s top-tier trims.

Performance: Then vs. Now

As a crossover, the Trax isn’t designed to run a road race or bring the heat on the track. Instead, it’s engineered for agility and maneuverability so that your experience in the driver’s seat is engaging. The 2015 and 2024 models fulfill that mission with their powertrains, which offer only slight differences despite the large age gap.

The 2015 Trax is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged inline-four engine that produces 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. The engine delivers an incredible balance of power and efficiency courtesy of its six-speed automatic transmission, which offers smooth shift patterns for outstanding responsiveness. It’s everything you could ask for in an SUV of this size, but Chevy sweetens the deal and makes the 2015 Trax wildly efficient with an average fuel economy of 26 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway on front-wheel drive models.

You’ll only find a subtle difference in the 2024 Trax, whose heartbeat is a 1.2L turbocharged inline-three engine paired with Chevy’s proven six-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged powerplant delivers 137 hp and significantly more torque at 162 lb-ft. This increase gives the 2024 Trax more on-demand power and improved responsiveness when accelerating or passing.

Trims: Then vs. Now

Chevrolet kept things simple with the 2015 Trax, limiting its lineup to three well-equipped trims–the LS, LT, and LTZ. But even with a progressive suite of premium features, the Trax’s sparse lineup left a lot to be desired for those looking for more options to customize the SUV to their needs. Over the years, Chevy has remedied the issue by expanding the Trax’s lineup with distinct trims.

The 2024 Trax is an excellent example of this shift with its five-trim lineup. The LS begins the Trax lineup, offering a well-equipped base model for budget-savvy shoppers. From there, the trims distinguish themselves with unique design details and features. For example, the 1RS and 2RS are sportier and feature unique grille designs and badging, with the 2RS adding more luxury, comfort, and conveniences. The LT exudes sophistication with its sleek design, while the ACTIV sits at the top of the fleet and exudes a distinct on-road presence with its muscular and monochromatic aesthetic.

An orange 2015 Chevy Trax is shown driving past a city.

An Undercover Underdog

In Miss Congeniality, FBI agent Gracie Hart went undercover in the Miss United States pageant. The tomboy, played by Sandra Bullock, transformed into a pageant queen but quickly proved you couldn’t entirely conceal her tomboyish ways, clumsy sense of humor, and authentic beauty with makeup and a dress. The same can be said for the Trax’s transformation since its introduction in 2015.

The Trax debuted as a subcompact crossover and took its place as the smallest SUV in the Chevy lineup. Despite its versatility and value-oriented packaging, the Trax often found itself in the shadows of its bigger, more popular siblings. However, Chevy has polished this hidden gem over the years, transforming it into a worthy compact crossover with a larger footprint, a surprisingly spacious cabin, and a tech-centric interior laden with the latest technology. The transformation is remarkable because it builds on the Trax’s best qualities but adds a modern twist that gives the SUV its well-deserved place in the spotlight.