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January 26, 2016

Review: 2016 Chevrolet Trax 1.4 Turbo LT

You’re not exactly sure how to classify the Trax. Chevrolet officially calls it a crossover, but from some angles, it can actually pass for a hatchback. Now, whether you’re in “camp lowered crossover” or “camp raised hatchback”, one thing is for certain: it’s a vehicle that’s worth more than just the sum of its parts.

Chevrolet has always appealed to the family-oriented set and its other SUVs, the Captiva and Trailblazer, both offer qualities that make it the de facto choice of moms bringing kids to soccer practice and poodles to the doggy parlor. But you can’t simply do that in the small crossover segment.

In a segment that still values individuality, Chevrolet has positioned the Trax to be the segment’s urban runabout vehicle. It’s imbued with characteristics that make the typical Millennial hipster happy: practical, thrifty, and techy. It’s both a good car for college kids or young couples alike. Now, if you’re not feeling the urge to grow facial hair or to excessively put on any hair product, you’re not alone. The biggest weakness to the Trax is that it lacks the unique looks to stand out.

The Trax is exactly how you’ll imagine a Chevrolet crossover to look and for that, it lacks visual drama. It’s well proportioned, clean, and elegant in some angles, but it just doesn’t call attention to itself. By itself, it’s nice to look at, but park it in a mall, it’ll easily get lost. You have a feeling that its designers were gunning for the “hipster chick wearing high-cut jeans” look only to get a grownup trying to hang out with the teenagers.

Inside, it’s every bit as excitement-free. Don’t get it wrong, the styling is clean and refreshingly free of any kind of faux ornamentation that can potentially turn it into a mess. But at the same time, there’s no part of the cabin that feels youthful or edgy.

Viewed practically though, the Trax is well-packaged. Getting in and out is easy because of the raised ride height. And then, the visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, especially the front and sides thanks to the large greenhouse. The seats themselves don’t offer ribcage hugging lateral support, but they’re cozy and comfortable with the driver actually getting the added comfort of an armrest. Those in the back may not have as much headroom as those in front, but fitting two or three adults is quite easy. Hands down though, the Trax’s best aspect is the numerous storage spaces: there are two gloveboxes, a pop-open bin at the top of the center console, and a large pocket in front of the shifter to name a few.

And perhaps the most important aspect for the practical minded is the big load space found under that hatchbacked rear. Even with the seats up, there’s enough room for a week’s worth of groceries and with them folded, it grows even larger, almost matching larger crossovers as a result.

With Chevy pushing the Trax as an urban crossover, the entire week (ten days to be exact) was almost entirely spent crawling in EDSA traffic. Besides the usual home to office commute, the week was also spent visiting various third-wave coffee shops. In this sort of environment, it passes with flying colors with its reasonably quick steering and nimble low-speed behavior. Getting into and out of tight parking spaces is second nature and the excellent sight lines is also useful for darting through downtown traffic.

The powertrain, 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (the segment’s first forced induction engine), is a willing performer, but mostly for practical everyday motoring. With 140 horsepower, it produces the same levels of power as the rivals’ 1.8-liter mill so it’s the 200 Nm of torque that makes the difference. Weighing in at a portly 1,272 kilograms, it takes some coaxing to get the Trax moving, but once it does, it’s reasonably quick. As the speeds pick up though, it starts to lose steam once again. You can make the Trax hold gears longer via a gearlever thumb switch shift override, but it doesn’t really up the excitement notch. Now, if you’re the type of buyer who couldn’t care less about engine response, then you’ll be happy to know that the Trax does return a relatively good 8.76 km/L (average speed 18 km/h).

The ride and handling story is near parallel to that of the powertrain. It isn’t a chuckable corner carver. Instead, it’s a relaxed cruiser with a quiet, controlled ride. The suspension tuning is on the soft side enabling it to be hushed on the highways and smooth over rough roads. This is one crossover that’ll cosset the kids or dogs to sleep.

Whenever a carmaker launches something exciting, they always hope a torrent of new, younger buyers will flow into the brand. It can also be the case with the Trax, but not for the reasons you’d expect. Chevrolet is targeting Millennials or hipsters or both, but instead it manages to score big as a family-oriented vehicle. For those keeping score, the Trax manages to tick all the marks when it comes to practicality, but scores a zero in the young-and-fun column. But that’s not so much of a bad thing. It may be hard to classify what the Chevrolet Trax is, but ultimately one thing is for certain: this is a family car.

2016 Chevrolet Trax 1.4 LT
Ownership 2016 Chevrolet Trax 1.4 LT LT
Year Introduced 2015
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.4
Aspiration Turbo, EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 140 @ 4,900-6,000
Nm @ rpm 200 @ 1,850-4,900
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,245
Width (mm) 1,775
Height (mm) 1,670
Wheelbase (mm) 2,555
Curb Weight (kg) 1,272
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension6 Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Solid Disc
Tires Continental ContiPremiumContact 3 215/55 R18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear w/ Camera
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Leatherette/Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control Manual
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. sorry to rain down on your parade, but the trax's 1.4li turbo engine is quite problematic and has the most complaints from users of both the trax and sonic..

  2. Wouldn't buy a Chevy here in the Philippines. Service is crap.

    1. +1. When my Sorento was released at Kia Alabang last year, there was a fleet of red Picantos outside. I asked the owner about them. He said it was for Lifeline and that they used to have Chevy Sparks as emergency response vehicles. But Chevy didn't service their vehicles properly. So they ended up getting Picantos instead. Chevy's reputation for terrible service lingers.

    2. Agree, we bought a colorado, its a good pickup, superb power and handling is on the heavy side but I like it anyway, makes it feel planted.
      But the service is really abominable, how can an engine change oil take them a whole day? I can even do it by myself in less than an hour if it weren't for their stupid warranty that will be voided. engine uses 6 litres of oil, 1 litre of 5w-30 synthetic oil is 278 pesos so that will be in the 1600 peso range for 6 litres. then they charge you almost 9k for a basic oil change. and they want you to service your vehicle every 5000kms lol.

  3. Kia Forte review please!

    The "sub-compact crossover SUV" segment's new releases (Juke, Trax and i20) cant seem to match compact sedan features at the same price. Only real world "advantage" is "flood wading" ability, but if you look at their ground clearances, not by much...

  4. For inquiries or need further assistance you may reach me at the below mentioned numbers and email.

    Rodel P. Garcia
    Sales Consultant
    Direct Line : +632 9753839
    Globe : +63917 8078131
    Smart : +63908 8112468
    Viber : +63908 8112468
    email :

  5. ^Well you have a sales consultant here... maybe he can shed light on your claims of crappy TCCC service?

  6. The Chevy badge alone is suspect in terms of reliability. No wonder it lags behind in sales.

  7. 1.2M for *that*? Add a a few hundred thousand and you can get a ladder-frame SUV with better water-fording ability and more seats. Practical, my @$$

    1. You mean a 3rd-world, truck based diesel AUV that is rollover-prone, can't use inner lanes of U-turn slots, and is a biatch to maneuver in city traffic and tinyl mall parking spaces???

    2. i previously own a chevy optra i can attest that chevy is not good brand from high fuel consumption to expensive spare to crappy service so on and so on better look for another brand.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Chevy trax consumes 6km per liter. Terrible! #chevytrax6kmperliter

  10. Chevy trax consumes 6km per liter. Terrible! #chevytrax6kmperliter

  11. There's no perfect ride in the world but a good and honest service are what customers deserve. Unfortunately, TCCCI is crapping big time. Brake pads, Change oil, Oil filters, etc. WTF did you get the prices, it's all made in China!


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