The subcompact SUV market is flooded with 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 on sale, the Trax has aged with no replacement in sight, while rivals like the Ford EcoSport and Kia Soul have been updated and even replaced in recent years. The Trax might look good and doesn't do badly in any given segment, but it fails to blow us away. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces just 138 horsepower and lacks the 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 loses its top-spec Premier trim for 2021, which leaves new buyers with only two trim options, namely the LS and LT. Options that have been deleted include the Sun and Sound package, the Bose sound system, power sunroof, and certain interior color schemes. The rest of the features and options remain unchanged for 2021.
See trim levels and configurations:
Photos don't quite show the Chevrolet Trax for what it is; the Trax is a compact vehicle, which is perfect for suburban and city driving. The base model features 16-inch alloy wheels, halogen reflector headlights, and body-color outside mirrors. The LT introduces deep-tinted glass, halogen projector-beam headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, and roof-mounted side rails, amongst others. Both models can be equipped with black bowtie emblems at an additional cost, and front and rear splash guards are also available. The Midnight Edition package can be equipped to the LT, which specs Midnight Black Metallic paint, 18-inch gloss black wheels, front and rear skid plates and black beltline moldings, as well as the blacked-out Chevy branding.
The Chevrolet Trax is a subcompact crossover SUV that shares similar dimensions with the Ford EcoSport, although the Trax is quite a bit longer. The Trax rolls on a short 100.6-inch wheelbase, which is nearly an inch and a half longer than the EcoSport, and the overall length of this small SUV is 167.2 inches, which works out to nearly six inches more than the EcoSport. The width of this car, with the mirrors excluded, is 69.9 inches. The height varies depending on the trim and drivetrain, with the front-wheel-drive LS coming in at 64.9 inches tall, but the LT all-wheel-drive version being the tallest at 66.3 inches. The track in the front is 60.6 inches and is mirrored in the rear. Ground clearance is a respectable 6.2 inches, just enough to clear those pesky curbs. Its small size means that the Chevrolet Trax doesn't weigh all that much: the LS weighs in at 3,124 pounds while the LT tips the scales at 3,137 lbs. However, the heaviest model is the LT in AWD guise with a curb weight of 3,280 lbs.
As with its competitors, the Trax is a fun little city car that will appeal to younger buyers. This had led to Chevrolet offering Chevy Trax models with a wide range of vibrant exterior colors to match its youthful design. Images of the Trax show colors such as Midnight Blue Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Mosaic Black Metallic, and Crimson Metallic. Other options include Shadow Gray Metallic and Stone Gray Metallic, while Black Cherry Metallic will be a good choice for the more mature - and, all these options are at no additional cost. The top of the range LT model is offered with an Iridescent Pearl Tricoat paint job for an additional cost of $645. We would pay the extra money for this color, as it genuinely makes the Trax stand out a little better.
The new Chevy Trax was never meant to be a performance hero, and most new buyers won't expect explosive acceleration or high top speeds from this humble little subcompact SUV. Both the LS and LT are powered by the same 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, and sends its power to either the front or all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The Chevrolet Trax is not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but offers enough go to satisfy most city drivers. Put your foot flat to the floor, and the Trax will complete the 0 to 60 sprint in around ten seconds, according to independent tests, while other test drives have seen the FWD version shave a few tenths off that time. This isn't that impressive, but it is still faster than the Ford EcoSport fitted with the 1.0-liter turbocharged engine: that car will make the same sprint in an uninspiring 11.5 seconds. The Kia Soul equipped with the 1.6-liter turbo engine will decimate both with a sprint time of only 6.5 seconds. The Trax will be able to reach a top speed of around 115 mph, but it would be ill-advised to push this high-riding little box to that point or further, as things might get a bit choppy.
Because of its size and purpose in life, the 2021 Chevrolet Trax does away with V6 and V8 engine configurations and sticks with the tried and tested four-cylinder, which is aided by a small turbocharger to help out with low-end torque. The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine produces a mild 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, which is considerably more powerful than the 123 hp/125 lb-ft 1.0-liter turbocharged engine in the Ford EcoSport, and is comparable with the 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine found in the Kia Soul (147 hp and 132 lb-ft). Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via a six-speed automatic.
In all honesty, the Trax's power plant is a disappointing one; it feels unrefined, and while it offers good low-end grunt in town, it quickly runs out of steam on the open road when attempting overtaking maneuvers. The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth enough in daily driving situations, but can tend to feel sluggish at lower speeds and will often deny you that downshift you're looking for.
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.
Fuel economy is a massive deciding factor for buyers looking at cars in the subcompact class. This gives manufacturers a daunting task: these cars need enough power to keep up with larger cars, but also have to sip on fuel. Chevrolet has managed to deliver a middling performance with the Trax. The EPA rating for the 2021 Trax is 26/31/28 mpg city/highway/combined for the FWD variant, dropping to 24/29/26 for the AWD vehicle. The Ford EcoSport in 1.0-liter form is on par with a gas mileage figure of 27/29/28 mpg, but the most impressive contender here is the Kia Soul, with a best figure of 29/35/31 mpg for the 2.0-liter engine. Even the powerful 1.6-liter turbo will return 27/32/29 mpg in auto guise. The Trax is fitted with a 14-gallon fuel tank, which translates into a maximum range of between 364 miles and 392 miles.
You won't be blown away by the quality of the materials or a massive array of features in the 2021 Chevy Trax, but you do get a well designed and ergonomic cabin that should serve small families well on a day-to-day basis. The interior features a simple layout with a neat center stack that has a very straightforward design. The seating position is high, which gives the driver a commanding view of the road ahead, and the basic fabric seats should prove to be as hard-wearing as they are comfortable. The infotainment display is well integrated into the dashboard and is, once again, a straightforward design focused on providing a user-friendly experience. Notable standard features include a two-way manually-adjustable front passenger seat and four-way driver's seat, a rear vision camera, remote keyless entry, and single-zone manual climate control.
Five adults will be able to fit inside the cabin of the 2021 Chevrolet Trax in relative comfort. The cloth seats - or deluxe cloth/leatherette seats in the LT - are comfortable and offer enough support for relaxed daily driving, with a high driving position that offers good forward and rear visibility, precisely what you want out of a city car. Getting in and out of the Trax is no issue whatsoever, and six-footers will have no trouble getting in the front or back. The good news here is that the Trax offers plenty of front legroom and headroom, enough for tall adults to sit comfortably, but with only 35.7 inches of rear legroom, things can get a bit tight for larger individuals at the back.
Far from being a premium luxury SUV, the Trax's interior material choices reflect its price range. Step inside the cabin and you'll be met with a sea of hard plastics, which don't exactly inspire confidence, but at least the build quality is on par, and there are no major panel gap issues. The base model features cloth seats, while the LT is fitted with deluxe cloth and leatherette seat trim. The base model is only available with two interior colors: Jet Black or Jet Black/Light Ash Gray. The more premium-feeling LT offers new owners the same color choices but the option to upgrade to leatherette-only upholstery. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is optionally available on the LT.
Even for SUVs in the subcompact class, the trunk and overall cargo room are extremely important, especially if the car is used as a daily commuter for ferrying around your family members. Unfortunately, the Chevrolet Trax does not offer class-leading trunk space, but occupants are still left with a usable space that will suffice. Behind the second row of seats, the Trax offers 18.7 cubic feet, which is enough room to fit an unassembled Ikea children's bed, but cars such as the Ford EcoSport offer a more impressive 20.9 cubic feet. Flip down the 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, and the Trax avails a more generous 48.4 cubic feet, which should be enough space for a mud-covered Golden Retriever and a bicycle with its front wheel removed.
Small items can be stored in the four front and two rear cupholders, the glovebox, center console storage tray, and driver seat-back pocket. The Trax also features underfloor storage space in the trunk, while the LT boasts a cargo shelf and front passenger under-seat storage bin.
The Chevrolet Trax offers the basics in base spec, while the LT configuration brings a few more luxuries to the table; the buyer's choice will depend on how much comfort they would like to experience. The base model features a 12-volt power outlet, a four-way cloth manual driver's seat and two-way manual front passenger seat, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, an eight-point digital compass, a rear vision camera, remote keyless entry, single-zone manual climate control, and dual USB ports. The LT adds a few notable features such as a 120-volt power outlet, cruise control, deluxe cloth/leatherette seat trim, front passenger under-seat storage, and remote start. On the LT, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat is optionally available, as are safety features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The infotainment system on offer in the 2021 Chevrolet Trax is easy to operate, and most should get the hang of it in a day or two. The seven-inch touchscreen display is neatly mounted in the dashboard center and is easily reachable by both the driver and front passenger. This system covers all of the basics and includes services such as SiriusXM radio with a trial subscription, OnStar & Chevrolet Connected Services, Bluetooth audio streaming for two active devices, voice control, and a six-speaker sound system. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are included, which is a saving grace as the Trax does not offer integrated navigation. In-car Wi-Fi is standard across the range but requires a monthly subscription fee.
Trax SUVs in the USA have not been recalled in recent years, with both 2020 and 2021 being trouble-free at the time of writing. However, according to the NHTSA, there have been a few complaints lodged regarding automatic transmission issues, but nothing so serious as to warrant a full recall.
J.D. Power's reviews of the Chevy Trax rate it's dependability as excellent, with a quality and reliability score of 85 out of 100, and an overall evaluation of 84 once other aspects like the driving experience, resale, and dealership experience are taken into account. Chevrolet offers a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain/drivetrain warranty, and a one-year/one-visit maintenance plan. Finally, roadside assistance is provided for five years or 60,000 miles.
US safety authorities seem to be impressed with the overall safety levels of the crossover, awarding generally decent ratings to the Chevy Trax. The NHTSA's reviews of the Chevrolet Trax resulted in a full five stars, and while it did not manage to secure a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, it still fared well, with the only crashworthiness score that missed out on a Good rating being the small overlap front test on the passenger side, which was rated as Acceptable. Its lack of standard driver assistance systems is disappointing, though.
The Trax offers new owners only the basics when it comes to safety systems. All Trax models are fitted with an impressive ten airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, along with side-impact airbags for all outboard seating positions. You also get a standard LATCH system for securing a child seat, OnStar and Chevrolet Connected Services, a rear vision camera, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. It's the lack of modern driver aids that really lets the Trax down. Blind-spot monitoring, rear park assist, and rear cross-traffic alert are all options and these technologies are limited to the LT.
The 2021 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 a disappointment, as it feels unrefined when pushing on and quickly 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 space 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.
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 $17,490 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 $995.
Chevrolet offers the 2021 Trax in two different trims after dropping the range-topping Premier trim for the new production year. Both the LS and LT Trax vehicles are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and produce 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels.
The LS is equipped with standard features such as a four-way manually adjustable driver's seat covered in cloth material, single-zone manual climate control, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, rear vision camera, and remote keyless entry. The standard infotainment system consists of a seven-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, as well as SiriusXM radio.
The LT gains features such as leatherette/deluxe cloth seating surfaces, a 120-volt power outlet, cruise control, front passenger under-seat storage, and remote start. The LT model is also available with rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and side blind-zone alert. A heated six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, keyless open, and a leather steering wheel are some more options available for the LT.
All new base model Chevy Trax cars are available with the Tint and Cruise package, which adds deep-tinted glass and cruise control for $495. Other packages include the Lifestyle Package that, for $350, adds a cargo tray and carrier mount for a bike. To get in on the real action, you'll have to go for the top-of-the-line LT, which is offered with the Redline Package, which adds black/red Trax badges to the exterior, a black grille, 18-inch alloy wheels, and more for a total price of $1,445. The Premium Seat package bags you heated front seats, leatherette upholstery and other odds and ends for a total of $1,100. The Driver Confidence package includes rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and side blind-zone alert and is bundled with other extras for a total outlay of $945. The LT Convenience package is another good bet: for $450, you get a six-way power driver's seat, keyless open, and keyless start.
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 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 2021 Chevrolet Trax: