Can a subcompact SUV make a great off-roading vehicle? It is easy to assume that you need a dedicated vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler or Ford F-150 to have something that will survive tough off-road conditions. While these vehicles can be off-road ready right off of the lot, they aren’t necessarily the only options you have available if you want to stick with the Chevy lineup. Something like the Silverado or Colorado might be a better choice, but what if you want a small presence on the trail? A subcompact SUV like the 2018 Chevy Trax actually has several advantages to consider when you are searching for that perfect off-roader. For one thing, the Trax is deceptively capable in a wide variety of conditions. While it is most at home in urban environments, it only requires a few small tweaks and upgrades to get it off-road ready for better performance. Better still, such upgrades do not require a large budget or price tag like more dedicated off-roading vehicles.
If you own a Trax or are considering one as your next vehicle purchase, it’s time to see how this small SUV has the potential to be a great off-roader.
Advantages Of The Trax
The 2018 Chevy Trax does not look like your typical off-roading SUV at first. Whereas other vehicles have larger suspension kits, wider tires, and body plating, this SUV lacks all of that from the dealership floor. That means that you will need to invest a little bit of time and money putting in some of these upgrades so the vehicle will last longer in more challenging conditions. So why even bother if it is easier to go with a dedicated off-roader?
The reason is in the Trax’s subcompact design. Making a vehicle work off the road requires more than just the right equipment. Yes, large tires and beefy suspension systems make a difference, but if a vehicle does not have the right frame to start, you are wasting your time. That is where the Trax has the advantage over larger SUVs and trucks that are more common in off-road environments.
Subcompact SUVs are all about maneuverability. Imagine if you could take a small family sedan and convert it into the perfect off-roading machine. Challenging terrain and ground obstacles would not be as much of an issue since the vehicle would have the maneuverability necessary to move around these barriers. Combine that maneuverability with the better ground clearance and engine options of the Trax, and you will start to get an idea of what the SUV truly offers as an off-roading vehicle.
With a shorter wheelbase, the Trax has a smaller turning radius that is right at home in challenging driving conditions. The ability to add off-roading upgrades and accessories also makes it a great option for overcoming the natural limitations of the subcompact design. Normally, this SUV is meant for urban environments where large size SUVs struggle just to find a parking space. With some strategic additions and upgrades, however, the Trax can become a great off-roading vehicle at a budget price point.
Knowing that the Trax will require some extra upgrades and accessories to make the most of the vehicle’s off-roading capabilities, where should you start? That all depends on your budget. Compared to larger trucks and SUVs, the Trax has an affordable price tag as a new vehicle. As a result, you may be able to save some extra money buying a Trax you can then use for future upgrades. If you have a smaller budget, the best place to start is with some affordable accessories you need to survive off-road.
All vehicles, on or off the road, should have some kind of survival kit in case an emergency arises. This is even more important off-road since you may find yourself stranded or separated from help. The bare minimum purchase you should think about is an off-road specific survival kit that includes tools and gear for the outdoors. Some basic supplies like food and drink that don’t require refrigeration can also go a long way if you become stranded.
A Trax equipped with a set of roof racks instantly becomes a more capable off-roading vehicle due to the extra storage and cargo space. Racks from Thule and Yakima, for example, are capable of carrying any number of tools and toys that make the off-road experience more enjoyable. For many people, a set of roof racks can also be a good survival tool if you invest in a roof tent that elevates you up from the ground as you sleep.
To enhance the performance of the Trax, concentrate on improvements to the wheels and suspension of the vehicle. Off-road or all-terrain tires, for example, will give you more grip and traction in loose conditions that may prevent you from moving forward on the trail and presenting a situation that strands most people. This type of purchase doesn’t require any modifications to the vehicle itself as long as you choose tires that are close to the original tire’s diameter. For extra clearance and the ability to fit larger tires, a suspension kit will give your Trax extra height. Finally, for added protection, particularly on the underside of the vehicle, body plating such as a skid plate is a more expensive-but-necessary upgrade for any heavy-duty form of off-roading.
Turning The Trax Into An Off-Roading Machine
The great thing about the Chevy Trax is just how versatile it can be with the right upgrades. It does not take much to get the subcompact SUV in shape for tackling more challenging terrain than it is likely to encounter just in the city. As a family-oriented vehicle, it is also a great choice of vehicle if you want something that can handle different types of journeys. Hopping from the city to the great outdoors in a single SUV saves time and money.
Ultimately, how you use a 2018 Chevy Trax is up to you and your imagination. Don’t let the small size fool you: the Trax is a capable SUV.