Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

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Thread: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

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    Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Autos.ca

    December 22, 2012

    Note: We are getting a version of this vehicle here in the United States (the Buick Encore).

    Article Quotes:



    Ottawa, ON – If you didn’t attend the Paris Motor Show in September you might not know what the Chevrolet Trax is. I will assume that you did not. GM chose the Paris Motor Show to reveal the new Chevy Trax because it will not be sold in the USA, which explains why we haven’t heard much about it this fall. The Chevy Trax is a new ultra-compact SUV, or CUV (Crossover) if you prefer, that will be built in Mexico and sold in more the 140 markets worldwide. Think Pontiac Vibe on steroids.

    Apparently gas prices in the States haven’t risen enough yet to persuade anyone to contemplate downsizing this much.

    Compared to the Chevrolet Equinox, the Chevy Trax is 495 mm (19.5 in.) shorter in overall length and 76 mm (3 in.) narrower, but only 25 mm (1 in.) shorter in height. It is short and tall. It is even shorter and taller than the old Vibe AWD—85 mm (3.3 in) shorter and 58.4 mm (2.3 in.) taller.

    Chevrolet marketing has targeted the Hyundai Tucson as a key competitor, but that vehicle is 160 mm longer (more than six inches), 40 mm (1.6 in.) wider and the same height. Simply put, it is bigger. And not surprisingly, 160 mm here and 60 mm there adds up to a whole lot more interior space; the Chevy Trax has a cargo volume with the rear seats folded of 1,371 L (48.4 cu. ft.) while the Tucson has 1,580 L (55.7 cu. ft.), again with the rear seat folded.

    Not a very good comparison and not unexpected that the Chevy Trax will have a lower advertised starting price ($18,495) than the Tucson ($19,999). But for $1,500 more that larger base Hyundai Tucson model comes with standard air conditioning, which the Trax does not have.

    I wouldn’t harp on the Trax/Tucson comparison except the Chevy marketing people more or less invited us to take a closer look at what they term is their key competitor. The Trax may be one of the smallest SUVs on the market, but with the Tucson in its sights, GM is thinking big, or dreaming big. It is more likely that buyers will cross-shop the all-wheel-drive small/tall wagon category – Toyota Matrix, Suzuki SX4 hatch, Nissan Juke, Subaru XV Crosstrek, Mitsubishi RVR, and even the Mini Countryman. Amongst this group, the Trax compares well on both features and price.

    The Trax makes the best of its diminutive size with seating for five passengers and enough cargo space to not embarrass itself. Surprisingly, and again because of its tall and short dimensions, the Trax looks much larger, more substantial, with a wide stance, rising belt line and a GM corporate nose that actually looks like it belongs on the vehicle. Its prominent hood and large front overhang make up for its short 2,555 mm (100.6 in.) wheelbase.

    Whereas the old Pontiac Vibe, even with all-wheel drive, looked like a compact car, the Trax has all the physical attributes of today’s popular compact SUVs/CUVs. It belongs in the company of the Tucson and the long list of compact competitors in the segment. If size matters, buyers should take a look at this tiny truckster.

    Naturally, one sits up high in the Trax. Although getting into the front seat is more like sliding onto a bar stool than sitting down in a car, the high and upright driving position provides incomparable ease of entry and excellent visibility in all directions. The Trax is high heel–friendly and short skirt–safe, but mobility challenged people will also appreciate the ease of entry.

    The power-adjustable driver’s seat in our test vehicle, combined with tilt and telescopic steering, made it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The dash is reminiscent of the digital displays in the Sonic and Spark and interior treatments have been designed to appeal to the young and largely female target buyer.

    The passenger compartment feels narrow and, relatively speaking, it is. There is only one barely functional armrest on the driver’s seat. The rear seat will hold three passengers, but if that is your assigned seating, you won’t be happy. Call it a four-plus-one or a five-seater-in-a-pinch, it is couples and singles who will best appreciate the Trax. A convenient rear seat armrest is available when travelling with three or four. And the centre console will hold four one-litre containers – if you ever have the need.

    With a base price of $18,495 the Trax will appeal to the budget conscious. For that entry fee, the Trax LS comes with front-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlamps, power windows with driver express up and down, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth for telephone, steering wheel–mounted audio controls, power lumbar support on both front seats, four-speaker sound system with AM/FM/USB and auxiliary input, and rear cargo organizer.

    Standard safety features include ten airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Stabilitrak stability control, traction control and available all-wheel drive.

    The Trax is powered by the 1.4L turbocharged engine that is optionally available with the Sonic and Cruze. It produces 138 horsepower at 4,900 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at a low 1,850 rpm. With such strong torque down low, the Trax feels much more powerful than it is, providing good acceleration from a standing start. But it also runs out of steam at a relatively low rpm, making passing maneuvers an exercise in planning. Almost any kind of an incline seemed to induce a downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission. One can only assume that the six-speed manual would keep your right arm busy.

    Full article at link.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    To those who will complain about this vehicle not being for sale here in the United States, you may wish to click this link: 2014 Buick Encore. To answer your next question, yes, Canada will indeed get both - however the market penetration for small vehicles is greater there than here in the United States.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    >With such strong torque down low, the Trax feels much more powerful than it is, providing good acceleration from a standing start. But it also runs out of steam at a relatively low rpm, making passing maneuvers an exercise in planning. Almost any kind of an incline seemed to induce a downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission. <

    Same reviewer complaints for the Cruze as well. Why does GM insist on slamming this mediocre engine into everything they sell below midsize? The engine is just not good enough. Give it DI or give it a rest.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by steve333 View Post
    >With such strong torque down low, the Trax feels much more powerful than it is, providing good acceleration from a standing start. But it also runs out of steam at a relatively low rpm, making passing maneuvers an exercise in planning. Almost any kind of an incline seemed to induce a downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission. <

    Same reviewer complaints for the Cruze as well. Why does GM insist on slamming this mediocre engine into everything they sell below midsize? The engine is just not good enough. Give it DI or give it a rest.
    Why do you insist on slammng the same mediocre comment into every thread? Do you just log in every day to see if there'a a thread on a car with this motor so you can dump on it?

    It's getting very old and even people who've never read this site know you hate the 1.4. Just build a bloody bridge and get over it. No-one's twisting your arm behind your back to buy one.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by steve333 View Post
    >With such strong torque down low, the Trax feels much more powerful than it is, providing good acceleration from a standing start. But it also runs out of steam at a relatively low rpm, making passing maneuvers an exercise in planning. Almost any kind of an incline seemed to induce a downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission. <

    Same reviewer complaints for the Cruze as well. Why does GM insist on slamming this mediocre engine into everything they sell below midsize? The engine is just not good enough. Give it DI or give it a rest.
    I don't agree. My Sonic LTZ 1.4T stick AVERAGES 39 MPG. It is peppy, and I love to shift. My GF's 2011 Cruze 1LT Auto (rated at 36 MPG hwy back then vs. 38 for '12+) averages 30 MPG and she NEVER drives on the highway. Both cars pass w/ ease and are very quiet. Of course, anything can be improved upon. DI would be great (assuming it provided better FE and power which I would expect). I am interested in the 1.6T DI that's been rumoured. More interested in the Cruze Diesel if it can be had w/ a stick.

    My dream car would be a ATS4 Performance Diesel Stick w/ about 250HP/400Trq and 30/40+ MPG Cty/Hwy. I'll keep dreaming...

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by blaksabb View Post
    I don't agree. My Sonic LTZ 1.4T stick AVERAGES 39 MPG. It is peppy, and I love to shift. My GF's 2011 Cruze 1LT Auto (rated at 36 MPG hwy back then vs. 38 for '12+) averages 30 MPG and she NEVER drives on the highway. Both cars pass w/ ease and are very quiet. Of course, anything can be improved upon. DI would be great (assuming it provided better FE and power which I would expect). I am interested in the 1.6T DI that's been rumoured. More interested in the Cruze Diesel if it can be had w/ a stick.

    My dream car would be a ATS4 Performance Diesel Stick w/ about 250HP/400Trq and 30/40+ MPG Cty/Hwy. I'll keep dreaming...
    It's definitely better and perfectly fine in the Sonic since it does weigh a few hundred pounds less. On the street the engine is fine on the Cruze, it's the mid range passing power that lacks on the freeway.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    strong torque down low, the Trax feels much more powerful than it is, providing good acceleration from a standing start. But it also runs out of steam at a relatively low rpm, making passing maneuvers an exercise in planning. Almost any kind of an incline seemed to induce a downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission. One can only assume that the six-speed manual would keep your right arm busy.
    I would assume the oposite if you know how to drive you would have it in the right gear allready
    She’s got four a colour, four a clear
    She’s lookin’ better year by year
    And unlike you tonight she’s riding low

    So baby its goodbye
    You could never get me high
    Like when I light the nitro on my
    HQ454 Monroe

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by steve333 View Post
    >With such strong torque down low, the Trax feels much more powerful than it is, providing good acceleration from a standing start. But it also runs out of steam at a relatively low rpm, making passing maneuvers an exercise in planning. Almost any kind of an incline seemed to induce a downshift from the six-speed automatic transmission. <

    Same reviewer complaints for the Cruze as well. Why does GM insist on slamming this mediocre engine into everything they sell below midsize? The engine is just not good enough. Give it DI or give it a rest.
    I will agree with blaksaab. The 1.4L is a sublime little powerplant that does what it is supposed to do: Get great Fuel Economy and get you up to speed when it is supposed to. Will is win any stoplight races? Nada. But it will keep $3.25+ per gallon in your pocket a while longer than many of it's contemporaries such as the one from those lying ass Koreans.

    As for the actual Trax. I'm fine with Chevy not offering this here yet. Chevy needs a Cruze hatch, and or Wagon. It already has both. Please bring them here as I can only imagine the 6K more sales they would get from it per month. A coupe would do even more. Fact is Chevy's Cruze could be a consistent 30K monthly seller if it had the right product mix. It's funny since the majority of Cobalts I see to this day are two doors
    Last edited by tajmioso; 12-22-2012 at 05:15 PM.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by tajmioso View Post
    .......
    As for the actual Trax. I'm fine with Chevy not offering this here yet. Chevy needs a Cruze hatch, and or Wagon. It already has both. Please bring them here as I can only imagine the 6K more sales they would get from it per month. A coupe would do even more. Fact is Chevy's Cruze could be a consistent 30K monthly seller if it had the right product mix. It's funny since the majority of Cobalts I see to this day are two doors
    I don't agree. I wish Chevy did offer the Trax here. The difference between it and what a Cruze hatch/wagon would be is substantial, enough so to eliminate a lot of the potential "overlap" between them. The drivers driving position alone would be drastically different.
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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by Railfan View Post
    I don't agree. I wish Chevy did offer the Trax here. The difference between it and what a Cruze hatch/wagon would be is substantial, enough so to eliminate a lot of the potential "overlap" between them. The drivers driving position alone would be drastically different.
    The Cruze Hatch and Wagon are bigger than this car
    She’s got four a colour, four a clear
    She’s lookin’ better year by year
    And unlike you tonight she’s riding low

    So baby its goodbye
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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by VS Ute 5Litre View Post
    The Cruze Hatch and Wagon are bigger than this car
    Precisely. The Encore/Trax are for all intents Mini Club competiton.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by tajmioso View Post
    As for the actual Trax. I'm fine with Chevy not offering this here yet. Chevy needs a Cruze hatch, and or Wagon. It already has both. Please bring them here as I can only imagine the 6K more sales they would get from it per month. A coupe would do even more. Fact is Chevy's Cruze could be a consistent 30K monthly seller if it had the right product mix. It's funny since the majority of Cobalts I see to this day are two doors
    Except the US market has proven that is an SUV/CUV market over wagons, over mini vans over hatches. People want to ignore the reality that Americans by and large have flocked to high MPG smaller SUV/CUVs. How many Elantra hatches did Hyundai sell versus the Sante Fe and Tucson? The Equinox/Terrain is one of the top selling GM products that is not a truck.

    Chevy Trax would no doubt outsell the Sonic Hatch hands down if given a chance because the market for CUVs far exceeds hatches. That is not my speculation it is the reality of the market place. Hatches, mini-vans and wagons have disappeared because our market won't support those products. We can argue all day long about would Americans buy certain products such as diesels, manual transmissions, hatches and wagons but they are gone from the market place for a reason and just about every major automaker besides VW has moved away from those products.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    To those who will complain about this vehicle not being for sale here in the United States, you may wish to click this link: 2014 Buick Encore. To answer your next question, yes, Canada will indeed get both - however the market penetration for small vehicles is greater there than here in the United States.
    Because here in the United States, size matters, and we don't like penetration from small vehicles

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by G8tor View Post
    Except the US market has proven that is an SUV/CUV market over wagons, over mini vans over hatches. People want to ignore the reality that Americans by and large have flocked to high MPG smaller SUV/CUVs. How many Elantra hatches did Hyundai sell versus the Sante Fe and Tucson? The Equinox/Terrain is one of the top selling GM products that is not a truck.

    Chevy Trax would no doubt outsell the Sonic Hatch hands down if given a chance because the market for CUVs far exceeds hatches. That is not my speculation it is the reality of the market place. Hatches, mini-vans and wagons have disappeared because our market won't support those products. We can argue all day long about would Americans buy certain products such as diesels, manual transmissions, hatches and wagons but they are gone from the market place for a reason and just about every major automaker besides VW has moved away from those products.
    and because of VW's willingness to buck against market trends it is gaining more and more world market share.

    You people hate on GM for having "bean-counters" and then you speak of Market Trends. Its literally what they spend their day doing. GM has so many holes in this market it's like looking at a piece of Swiss Cheese.

    GM needs:

    A Cruze Coupe and Hatch. The wagon could wait, but it wouldn't hurt importing a few from Oz. If they can so it for Police cars (at a discount no doubt, but of course they are RWD, so they get a pass) then they can do it for consumer compact buyers.

    Verano Hatch (Astra)

    Voltech Buick

    Traverse Minivan OPTION. Just add a sliding door onto the existing vehicle if possible

    GMC Hummer H2, H3, and H3T. Why should the Raptor and Range Rovers have all that market

    Cadillac Mini-CUV (BRX)
    Cadillac Omega (NOW, I mean RIGHT NOW)
    ATS Coupe, convertible versions
    XLR in every form the Benz SL comes including SLS.
    XLS to kill the Aventador

    GM needs to fill holes with existing vehicles, but in variation. At one time the Cavalier came in Sedan, Wagon, Hatch, and a convertible.... A Convertible. Hell the Geo Metro had a convertible and it was the as low as you could go in the GM family.
    Last edited by tajmioso; 12-22-2012 at 06:55 PM.

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    Re: Review: 2014 Chevy Trax: "Think Pontiac Vibe On Steroids"

    Quote Originally Posted by tajmioso View Post
    and because of VW's willingness to buck against market trends it is gaining more and more world market share.
    And yet Toyota regains the #1 automaker w/o a single diesel, few if any featured manual transmission, phasing out the dedicated hatch the Matrix, no wagons.

    Nissan releases the universal hailed as ugly at worse controversial at best in terms of styling Juke and it is a success, they release the new Versa w/o a new hatch. There is not wagon or hatch in the revamped new Sentra and Altima either.

    Ditto for Honda who's only hatch the Crosstour is a giant fail.

    Hyundai/Kia group where are their hatches and wagons compared to their focus on CUV/SUVs?

    Are you prepared to argue that Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Chrysler, GM, Kia, Hyundai and even to a lesser extent Mazda and Ford show virtually no interest in several ares such as wagons, Mazda d/c'ed the hatch/wagon before it released the current Mazda6 which is soon to be replaced by the 2014 are also foolish for not following in VWs footsteps?

    You are arguing the GM should have one of everything everybody else's sells. Does anybody else follow that strategy? No they don't

    And there is a reason most are not pursuing wagons and to a lesser extent very limited in pursuing hatches instead putting big pushes on smaller CUVs/SUVs when it comes to the US market. Other than VW no other automaker agrees with your view....citing an exception doesn't offset the rule.

    Heck VW doesn't even full product lines with no trucks of shape or form in the US market, has nothing like the Volt pending and bailed on the Chrysler built minivan.

    GM needs to offer what makes sense for GM just like VW offers (and doesn't offer trucks/full size SUVs) what makes sense for them.
    Last edited by G8tor; 12-22-2012 at 07:18 PM.

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