Let’s be abundantly clear: the Chevy Trax is not, nor has ever been, a bad vehicle. It’s just that in the past few years, it’s had a lot of trouble keeping up with some of the more exciting options in the Chevrolet stable. Granted, it wasn’t intended to keep up with the Corvette or Camaro, nor does it have the cargo capacity of the Tahoe or Suburban, but that’s the point. The Chevy Trax was purposefully designed to provide drivers with a safe, reliable, comfortable small SUV that provided all the goodies we need at a reasonable price. And for the past seven years, the Trax has been doing just that.
However, with so many amazing things happening at the Chevy headquarters, including the Equinox EV announcement, an all-new Colorado heading our way, and an electric Blazer SS in the works, the Trax seemed to fade in the background. Experts wondered if the subcompact was doomed, until Chevy announced a fully re-imagined Trax for the 2024 model year. While the refreshed design is impressive, the main takeaway is that the Trax is going to continue to be a budget-friendly, fun-to-drive vehicle ideal for a large part of the driving population. So, while we wait for the dawning of the Trax’s new generation, let’s take a look back at where the Chevy Trax has been since its 2015 US debut and why a used Chevy Trax is still a good choice for any driver.
Chevy Trax: The Early Days
Interestingly enough, the Chevy Trax was not originally an American release. Though it made its world debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, the Trax was marketed in 140 countries but not the US. Experts and critics were pleased with the vehicle, which nudged into the subcompact crossover class at a time when the competition was not as fierce as it is today. By the time the Trax arrived on American soil with the 2015 model year, quite a buzz had been generated around the little SUV.
To its credit, the Trax manages to suit a broad audience of drivers. Urban dwellers who fear parallel parking, suburban drivers who want to save on the cost of commuting, single drivers who can’t justify the cost of a full-size SUV, and older drivers who need a taller vehicle without the bulk of a giant SUV are all served by the small-yet-just fine Trax. Its reasonable price tag fits many budgets, from first-time drivers to those who are looking for ways to save money anywhere and everywhere.
Furthermore, there aren’t a ton of options, which may be startling for a Chevy vehicle. The debut 2015 Trax was offered in three trims: the LS, LT, and LTZ. All are equipped with a 1.4L turbocharged inline-four engine that provides 26 MPG on the city streets and a whopping 34 MPG on the highway. Sure, it tops out at 138 horsepower, and the 148 lb-ft of torque isn’t enough to tow a massive load, but it was engineered to provide a peppy, responsive drive. All-wheel drive was optional on all trims, too, for all-weather Trax enjoyment. Perhaps most famously of all, the 2015 Chevy Trax offered 15 separate storage compartments throughout the cabin, including an under-seat storage drawer in the LT and LTZ trims.
The Chevy Trax Matures
Over the next few years, the Chevy Trax came into its own. In 2017, it received a major facelift, with a brand new front-end design and a refreshed interior. The super-sleek Redline Package was added to the lineup in 2018. Then, the Trax seemed to remain the same while Chevy diverted its attention to other vehicles.
To be fair, the Trax is a diminutive vehicle, but many experts felt that Chevy’s oversight in updating the car would lead to the inevitable end of the model. Then 2020 happened, and electric vehicles were in the spotlight, but there were also chip shortages to contend with. Everything seemed suspended in the interim, including the Chevy Trax.
However, somewhere amidst the chaos, hope bloomed. The Trax was named Kelley Blue Book’s #11 Best Subcompact SUV of 2020. While critics across the internet complained that the Trax was becoming stagnant, they also couldn’t help but admit that it was a “more than decent” little SUV.
Three trims comprise the 2020 lineup. The LS and LT trims retained their positions, while the LTZ was replaced by the Premier trim. The 2020 Premier trim is much swankier than you’d expect, with a Bose audio system, heated front seats, and simulated leather upholstery. However, it was not meant to be, and the Premier trim was dropped from the lineup for the 2021 model year.
The Modern Chevy Trax
It’s probably fair to say that the 2022 Chevy Trax lineup isn’t the most thrilling pair of SUVs to wear the bowtie badge, but it’s impossible to compare an SUV of its stature to anything else in Chevy’s collection. It remains, as always, an enjoyable, economical subcompact vehicle that provides comfy seating for five passengers or up to 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded down.
There are two trims: the LS and the LT. Both are equipped with the necessities, like a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, multiple USB ports, a rear vision camera, and compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LT takes things up a notch, though, with roof rails, remote start, heated outside mirrors, and a variety of optional appearance packages. The Redline Edition, for example, adds 18-inch black-finish aluminum wheels with red accent stripes and black accents everywhere, including the grille and moldings. The LT is also offered with the optional Driver Confidence Package, which adds a side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking assistance.
So, how different is the 2024 model going to be? According to Chevy, the most noticeable difference, aside from the styling updates borrowed from Trax’s bigger cousin, the Blazer, will be the 1.2L turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, which maintains a similar level of horsepower while churning out an improved 162 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, the Chevy Safety Assist suite of driver assistance technology will be standard, including Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, IntelliBeam automatic high beams, and Following Distance Indicator. The LS and LT are getting a few new siblings, too. The 1RS, 2RS, and ACTIV trim will be joining the lineup, each with its own carefully cultivated comfort and convenience features.
Let the Waiting Commence!
Chevy has announced that the 2024 Trax will be available starting in Spring 2023, making it an intriguing mid-year model that future generations will refer to with a clever nickname, like the “Trax 23 and a Half.” However, it’s already gained a steady following of genuinely curious drivers who love what the Trax has to offer. Chevy has already acknowledged that the Trax will remain a budget-friendly vehicle in both pricing and fuel economy. While the vehicle has reportedly gained eleven inches in length, it is still very much a smaller, more nimble SUV in comparison to its stablemates.
Will the 2024 Trax save the model? It seems highly probable that the Trax will gain an entirely new audience with the latest release. Still, there’s never been anything wrong with the Trax. Maybe it was just the timing, but mercifully, the small SUV that could is getting a new generation in which to refresh, reinvent, and reintroduce itself to the American public.