Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Review: 2018 Chevrolet Trax 1.4 LT


Pop quiz: name a sub-compact crossover. Chances are, the Chevrolet Trax won’t be part of that list. It was far too anonymous to stand out in a segment that values fun and individuality. It was clear that there was a lot of room for improvement. Two years on, here comes the 2018 Trax, a car that addresses some of Chevrolet’s small crossover flaws. Clearly, this is the vehicle that they should have introduced in the first place.

The jellybean styling may have been clean, but it didn’t stand out. It was far too anonymous; easy to lose in a multi-level parking lot. For 2018, Chevrolet’s worked hard to change that and boy, does the Trax make a strong impression now. The awkward-looking nose is gone and is replaced by a sharper frontend. The rear too has been tweaked with less unpainted surfaces and new LED taillights. Overall, it’s handsome even in the most generic color of Summit White.



As big as the exterior changes are, it’s inside that’s seen a dramatic improvement. The previous Trax’s cabin felt like it was built down to a price, a cheap one at that, whereas the 2018 model looks and feels more resolved with high-trim materials and decent build quality.

The motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster is gone, replaced by a more conventional looking one with a vertically-resting analog tach and speedometer, and a monochrome multi-information screen on the right. It may lose some style points, but it’s far easier on the eye and better at conveying trip information too.



Also purged this year are the Trax’s plethora of semi-useless slots and cubbies. Although some may lament a place to put small knick-knacks like coins and toll cards, in its place is a nice padded strip of leather (with orange stitching), metallic highlights that outline the vents, and piano black trim that surrounds the infotainment screen. Millennials may decry about the lack of storage to “put their life in”, but on a regular basis, the decent-sized glovebox and storage tray ahead of the shifter accommodates more than enough “life.”

There are still some hard plastics scattered around, but at least they’ve been largely relegated to areas untouched by the driver or occupants on a daily basis.



Equally appreciated is the Trax’s new Chevrolet MyLink system. Not only does it sport better graphics from its 7-inch display, but it feels more solid and responds more precisely too. And it features smartphone mirroring, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto to boot.

Ergonomically, the Trax is unchanged from before and for that, it remains pretty solid. The seats may sport new patterns, but they still don’t offer ribcage hugging lateral support. However, they’re comfy and cozy with the driver getting the added comfort of an armrest. In terms of seating position, it definitely feels raised compared to a typical passenger car or even small crossover. This reduces its sporty feel in return for better visibility and ease of entry/exit. Those in the back may not have as much room compared to those in front, but fitting two or three adults is easy thanks to the acceptable legroom. Plus, these passengers are treated to their own armrest (with cupholders) and even a novel 230-volt socket.



One of the best parts of the Trax though remains its well-thought-of load space. Not only is the cargo room squared-out and flat, but with the rear seats up, there’s already enough room for a week’s worth of groceries. Fold them down (even the front passenger seat folds forward) and it grows into something that rivals larger crossovers.

Mechanically, the Trax remains unchanged this year and for that, it remains a sensible, but unexciting commuter car.



The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine pulls hard with some good low-end torque, but sounds buzzy and coarse at the top end. It’s smooth and reasonably quick around town, tugging the Trax’s portly weight easily. The accompanying 6-speed automatic though tends to dull the performance somewhat. It typifies most commuter-focused transmissions, shifting quickly to keep the revs down. There’s a small thumb switch override, but it’s unnatural to use. Fuel mileage after 10 days of use is 7.14 km/L at an average speed of 13 km/h—not exactly exemplary.

The 2018 Trax also carries over the suspension tuning from the previous model, and that may be a bit of good or bad news. It’s not an exciting crossover and it doesn’t feel as sporty or entertaining as some of its rivals. With the soft steering and noticeable body roll, it’s like trying to steer a panda through bends. Still, it’s cushy. The softly-sprung suspension dampens out roughness from sharp inputs. Plus, it keeps tire and wind noise at bay. The only complaint (aside from its tepid manners) is that it tends to crash and bounce around smaller ruts such as gravel or cobblestones.



From a buyer’s perspective, the Trax also benefits from a longer list of standard equipment. Aside from the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-enabled MyLink infotainment system, the top-trim LT gets push-start for its engine, cruise control, heated power folding side mirrors, 6 airbags, stability control, hill descent control, rear parking sensors with camera, tire pressure monitoring, and part-leather seats.

For all these improvements though, there are still some tech pieces missing. There’s no HID or LED for the headlights (except for the DRLs). There’s no automatic climate control either. And sadly, the price doesn’t reflect the lack of these features. This Trax LT retails at P 1,358,888 which is pricier than the Mazda CX-3 and the Honda HR-V. Heck, even the all-wheel drive equipped Subaru XV is just P 60,000 more at its post-TRAIN prices.



Overall, the 2018 Chevrolet Trax builds on its virtues of being a practical urban crossover with a more macho-looking exterior, modern and better-built cabin, and improved equipment. It’s largely sensible and practical for those who are in the “drive-and-forget” mindset. However, it’s let down by its lack of features for its expensive price. As it stands though, it’s still left out in the cold by its rivals. It could have escaped small crossover mediocrity if only it were priced more aggressively.



2018 Chevrolet Trax LT
Ownership 2018 Chevrolet Trax 1.4 LT
Year Introduced 2015 (Refreshed: 2017)
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 EFI
Fuel Delivery Turbocharged
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 140 @ 4,900-6,000
Nm @ rpm 200 @ 1,850-4,900
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.14 km/L @ 13 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,254
Width (mm) 1,775
Height (mm) 1,678
Wheelbase (mm) 2,550
Curb Weight (kg) 1,272
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Falken Ziex ZE912 215/55 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear with Camera
Other Safety Features Tire Pressure Monitoring
Hill Descent Control
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric/Leather
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, with Fold
Climate Control Manual
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

8 comments:

  1. Millennials may decry about the lack of storage to “put their life in” - Never heard of this before... so this is what it feels like to be old x.x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who likes Chevrolet? Chevrolet has the habit of discontinuing models that doesn't sell well or for some other reason even if its relatively new. Remember the Spin? And Chevrolet is slow in updating their cars. Don't buy this brand. There's no good reason to buy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plus their aftersales service sucks.

      Delete
  3. 10 Stars lang ang binibigay ko sa after sales ng Chevy. kaya maasahan sila at ontime palagi sa services nila.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Even the fully loaded BRV would be a better choice than this. If only that, the HRV, Ecosport, XV, Xtrail, Expander, Tivoli... I could go on and on, never existed, maybe the Chevy Trax would be a good buy. But at 1.3m? Gimme my Strada please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strada? Ew. That fugly pick up.

      Delete

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