GM’s least expensive vehicle in the U.S. market is its best value.
In July 2023, the average price paid for a Chevrolet was $47,294 according to the Kelley Blue Book. Given the average salary in the U.S. is $59,428, that makes GM’s most affordable nameplate beyond the reasonable financial reach of too many Chevy customers. That’s what makes the 2024 Chevrolet Trax such a revelation. It starts at less than half the price of your average Chevy, coming in at $21,495.
What do you get for that money? A far better vehicle than you’d expect.
Bigger and better
It starts with the LS grade, before climbing through 1RS, LT, 2RS and Activ trim levels.
At 173.5 inches long and 71.2 inches wide, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax is 11 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the vehicle it replaces. That’s why it no longer resembles an emasculating automotive wart. In fact, its sense of style and speed is far better than the pricier Chevrolet Trailblazer introduced last year. But the Trax has a lower ride height, even if it shares the Trailblazer’s wheelbase and overall length.
That makes it more the tall wagon than a true SUV, something especially true of its powertrain.
Pop the hood and you’ll find the same engine used in the Chevrolet Trailblazer: a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine rated at 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is not offered. It is on the Trailblazer, however, making for a key distinction between the two. Nevertheless, the latter comes saddled with a continuously variable transmission rather than the six-speed. So unless you absolutely must have all-wheel drive – and most drivers don’t – the Trailblazer is a better deal, offering a superior driving experience.
Standard driver assistance technology includes Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, automatic high-beams, Following Distance Indicator and a Rear Vision Camera. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist are optional.
How it drives
Chevrolet engineers have maximized the available power, especially in light of the vehicle’s low power output. Although turbo lag is present, this compact SUV has enough low-end torque to stay in the middle of things. However, it never feels frantic, though; it’s a leisurely cruiser. The six-speed automatic transmission turns out to be a competent dancing partner, with shifts occurring as anticipated. Throttle responsiveness can be soggy, as is common with cheap vehicles. Furthermore, there’s a lot of road and tire noise when traveling at highway speeds, although it’s minimal around town. And as you might expect from such a small engine, there’s a lot of vibration at idle. While light, the steering is precise and there’s minimal body lean while cornering. Ride comfort proves adequate for the class.
Given the price, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax offers surprisingly good space. Both the front and rear seats have astonishing amounts of legroom. The driver enjoys a car-like driving position. Short journeys prove comfortable, but as the miles pass, the seats become flat and squishy with weak side bolstering. However, this should make it comfortable for those with wider beams. Cargo space is generous.
The inside story
Our test vehicle had a number of subtle design elements on the instrument panel that brought some color to counteract what otherwise would be a drab interior. The bright interior details matched the Trax’s attractive highlighter yellow exterior color. Still, the cabin’s material quality is about what you’d expect from an entry-level automobile.
Strangely, the trip computer of the vehicle is located in the infotainment screen rather than the instrument cluster. And the screen only shows one display at a time; it can’t be split with, say, trip computer on one side and the audio system on the other. That means you can’t see the trip computer when you are listening to a radio station. Who at General Motors, with all their intellectual prowess, thought this was a smart idea? Thankfully, Android Auto and Apple Car Play are supported.
Built in South Korea by General Motors, our nicely-loaded Chevrolet Trax Activ stickered at $26,935 including 1,095 destination charge. That’s a great deal in today’s overpriced car market. That’s especially true given that its power is sufficient and its handling is pleasing, if not always engaging. Space seems abundant for the price. And its appearance won’t embarrass you, as it looks modern and dynamic, not cheap. It proves to be extraordinarily competitive with the many vehicles in this segment. And with a price this low, you’ll feel as if you beat the system.