The subcompact SUV market is flooded with some extremely well-rounded vehicles, which means that manufacturers are forced to bring their A-game; sadly, the Chevy Trax doesn't do this. Despite being early to the party, resulting in 63,000 units sold in its first full year of sale, the Trax has aged and still has no replacement, while rivals like the Ford EcoSport and Kia Soul have been updated and even replaced in recent years. The Trax might look good, but it fails to blow us away. It doesn't do badly in any given segment but won't blow you away either. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 155 horsepower for 2022, still not enough grunt needed to keep this car at the head of the pack. It's also a tad choppy on the road and the interior isn't the most refined, but it is relatively fuel-efficient, offers decent cargo space, and you can have it in AWD guise. The Trax starts at $21,400.
The Trax SUV offers new buyers only two trims - LS and LT - since the loss of the Premier spec in 2021. At least the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is substantially upgraded for 2022, now offering 155 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, up from the previous 138 hp and 148 lb-ft. But that's just about the only thing that's changed.
While it might not be one of the best buys in its class, the Chevrolet Trax has a price in line with some of the class leaders, which is unfortunate. The base model's cost is $21,400, which is stiff when compared to the $17,590 required to get behind the wheel of the cheapest Kia Soul. The base price of the AWD LS is $22,020. The FWD LT goes for an MSRP of $23,200, and opting for the AWD version will see that price climb to $23,820. These prices do not include tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,195.
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The city-focused subcompact SUV is meant to be the suburban vehicle of choice due to its slightly lifted ride height, good visibility, and, most importantly, its ability to maneuver in and out of tight spaces like parking lots and drive-throughs. Chevrolet had all of those elements in mind when it designed the Trax, and in the city, this clearly pays off. The Trax offers light and easily controllable steering in town, making it perfect for zipping in and out of tight spaces. The steering might not provide much feedback, but that is not what the Trax is all about. The ride, in general, is firm, which gives the Trax a feeling of stability. The Trax displays less lean in the corners than one would expect from such a stubby SUV, but it can't match the sharp turn-in or overall dynamic feel of cars such as the Kia Soul and Mazda CX-30. Unfortunately, the Trax's quick steering and stiff nature turn into a disadvantage on the highway, where it tends to feel darty and nervous. The good news is that the Trax's brakes are some of the best in its class, with a firm and confident pedal feel. We would suggest going with the AWD version for added stability.
The 2022 Chevrolet Trax does what it says on the box: it offers nimble and practical transportation for small families who require the extra space an SUV provides but with the fuel economy of a smaller sedan or hatchback. On paper, the Trax sounds like the perfect city commuter, but it is let down by many factors that place it at the back of the subcompact crossover SUV pack. The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine found under the hood of the Trax is not very impressive, as it feels unrefined when pushing on and runs out of steam when driving on the highway. The Trax feels agile and easy to point around town despite a stiff ride, but out on the highway, this causes the ride to get choppy, especially over rougher surfaces. The interior is basic and uses a lot of cheap-feeling plastics, which makes competitors such as the Kia Soul and Ford EcoBoost seem more upmarket. Interior and overall trunk space does not measure up to the competition, and the standard features list is middling. The Trax is also priced above some of its main rivals, which does not help its cause. There are better options out there.
Chevrolet offers its customers two options; go with the LS if you're on a budget or splurge on the LT if you're looking for something a bit more special. Making a comparison between the two reveals that the LT doesn't bring any significant advantages to the table. The same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers both cars, and both send power to either the front or all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The LS offers standard single-zone climate control, manually-adjustable cloth seats, 4G Wi-Fi, remote keyless entry, and a seven-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, amongst others. The LT adds cruise control, leatherette/deluxe cloth upholstered seats, remote start, a 120-volt charge point, and under-seat storage beneath the front passenger seat. The cost of the LT is much higher, with an increase of $1,800 in FWD guise over the base trim. We would stick with the budget-friendly LS.
The freshly facelifted Equinox sits one step above the Trax and is classified as a compact SUV. The Equinox does everything relatively well but fails to reach the top of its class for numerous reasons. Powering this SUV is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque. The 1.5-liter engine is comparable to the unit in the Trax, both of which fail to impress. The Equinox will manage 26/31/28 mpg over the city/high/combined cycles, getting close to the Trax's figures. On the road, the Equinox is a much more comfortable and capable car to live with. The interior is also more upmarket, and seating comfort is excellent. Being a larger car, the Equinox offers more interior space and cargo space. It might not be a class leader, but it is more impressive than the Trax.
Small SUVs are all the rage at the moment, and few do it better than Ford. The EcoSport is the brand's subcompact crossover offering, and it goes toe to toe with the Trax and other competitors such as the Kia Soul. The EcoSport is powered by either a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The 1.0-liter engine is more comparable to the engine found in the Trax, both of which offer underwhelming performance and similar gas mileage, with both managing a best of 28 mpg in a mix of city/highway driving. On the road, the Ford EcoSport is not much better at soaking up rough bumps and demonstrates some body lean in the corners, but is the more dynamically pleasing of the two. On the inside, the Ford also uses hard plastics and other cheap materials, but the design is more contemporary. Space in the front is adequate, but those in the rear will suffer more than in the Trax, but the Ford does offer more cargo space with the rear seats in the upright position. We'd opt for the Ford.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Chevrolet Trax: