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2019 Chevrolet Trax

$21,300 - $29,100
Price Range (MSRP)
Chevrolet Trax

2019 Chevrolet Trax Review

by Adam Lynton

The 2019 Chevrolet Trax is one of many offerings available in the subcompact-crossover segment, and it goes up against competent rivals like the Mazda CX-3, Ford Escape, and the Kia Soul. It wades into battle with only one engine option – a 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo making 138 horsepower. In this segment, competition is fierce, and many of the little Chevy's rivals have been putting out quality offerings for some time now, refining them for what the consumer wants. However, the Trax goes all in, armed with an impressive arsenal of standard features - a point which is always a big positive for buyers. With plenty of standard infotainment features, including a touchscreen system with Wi-Fi, potential buyers won't be forking out anything extra here; but, most won't be overly impressed either, as the cabin is rather plasticky and bland. Much needed driver-assistance options are also few and far between. Prices range from $21,300 - $29,100 - but does the Trax leave enough of a trail to stand out in this segment?

2019 Chevrolet Trax Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Trax?

Changes for the new model are notable only in their absence. All that separates the new model from the outgoing one are some new color options – Satin Steel Metallic, Pacific Blue Metallic, and Dark Copper Metallic.

Pros and Cons

  • Great infotainment system
  • Commanding seating position
  • Impressive legroom and headroom
  • Competitive pricing
  • Easily customizable in the mid-range LT
  • Reasonable cargo space for its size
  • Strong brakes and decent handling
  • Rough, inefficient engine
  • Dated, cheap climate control switches
  • Poor performance
  • Choppy ride on freeways

Trax Exterior

Sharing most of its underpinnings and many of its styling cues with the Buick Encore, the Trax is positioned as a slightly cheaper alternative in the market. The base LS model comes with cheap 16-inch steel wheels paired with hubcaps which don't look particularly exciting, as well as basic non-xenon headlights. At least the LT trim has painted alloys and LED daytime running lights paired with halogen projector headlights. The Premier gets the same forward lighting as the LT, as well as larger 18-inch wheels. Additional exterior styling characteristics are available with other special packages, like the Midnight, and Redline Edition add-ons.

2019 Chevrolet Trax Front View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Trax Rear View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Trax Front Angle View
See All 2019 Chevrolet Trax Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Trax measures 167.6 inches from nose to tail, making it easy enough to maneuver and park in the city; and, with a wheelbase of 100.6 inches and a height of 66.5 inches with roof rails included, and 65 inches without, it's not overly bulky in size. Still, it doesn't look particularly out of place on a country road. The maximum width without mirrors is 69.9 inches, and ground clearance is average for this segment at 6.2 inches. The Trax tips the scales with a base curb weight of 2,805 pounds, rising to 3,344 lbs for the fully loaded, all-wheel-drive Premier variant. These dimensions mean the Trax is almost identical in proportion to the Kia Soul and Mazda CX-3, albeit slightly taller.

Exterior Colors

Color options for 2019 have been increased with three new offerings: Satin Steel Metallic (which is only available to the LT), Dark Copper Metallic, and Pacific Blue Metallic, the latter being exclusive to the upper two trims. None of these new options will cost you anything more, but if you opt for Cajun Red Tintcoat, your dealer will add $395 to your bill. Ordering the LT with Redline Edition will limit you to a selection of three body colors – Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, or Mosaic Black Metallic, which is the most menacing looking color option available – while the Trax Premier can be had in the Midnight Edition, which automatically means black paint from tip to toe. The base LS model can only be optioned in Nightfall Gray, Silver Ice, Summit White, and Mosaic Black.

Trax Performance

Vehicles in this segment are not expected to be face-warping rocket ships, but the Trax is particularly uninspiring in this arena. Although nippy enough in town, the performance is lethargic when trying to overtake, and achieving freeway speeds requires a bit of abuse to the rough-sounding motor. Independent testing saw the front-wheel-drive Trax Premier take a lazy 9.3 second-stroll to get from 0 to 60 mph.

With 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft on offer, its torque output is on par with many in the segment but is outdone in the power stakes, making the Trax noticeably slower than its rivals – whether in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration. That said, its handling is decent and its brakes reassuring – both excellent qualities for a family crossover that will spend most of its time being used to ferry people about.

2019 Chevrolet Trax Front View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Trax Rear View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Trax Wheel

Engine and Transmission

With only one engine option and universal power output across the range, buyers are limited to only one choice mechanically – front-wheel, or all-wheel-drive. The 1.4-liter turbocharged ECOTEC engine's measly 138 hp and 148 lb-ft appear adequate for most city commutes but, over time (or after test-driving other options from the likes of Mazda and Hyundai), its lack of power becomes tiresome. The gearbox offerings are similarly limited – a six-speed automatic is the only choice. Although smooth enough, the anemic engine forces the box to hang on to gears a little longer than is ideal, resulting in a noisy commute.

Those looking for a more engaging drive will undoubtedly be more intrigued by the likes of the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, or Honda HR-V, and unless you live in an area regularly plagued by slippery road surfaces, the all-wheel-drive option is a waste of money (even if it does upgrade the steel wheels on the base LS to prettier alloys).

  • Engine
    1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The brakes and chassis on the Chevrolet Trax are among its strong points – the rotors are larger than those of most of its competitors and allow you to make the most of your momentum when you finally get up to speed, inspiring confidence and allowing you to brake later. Due in part to its independent front suspension, the Trax starts to come alive in the corners. Its steering is quick, albeit a little dead in terms of feel, and the ride is stable, but some bumps may feel a little choppy; despite its height, the Trax never feels like it is top-heavy. Although some others in its class can be more fun to drive, the agile Chev competently holds its own here.

While it's not the most uncomfortable drive, the road noise coupled with the rough harmonics from under the hood make it a less than enjoyable road-trip companion over longer distances. That being said, combined with its stopping power and its relative agility in the bends, the Trax is not entirely unenjoyable. However, if you're shopping in this segment, handling dynamics are likely to play less of a role as a deciding factor than things like daily usability and ergonomics.

Trax Gas Mileage

A factor that will be high up on the checklist for many perusing this segment will be gas mileage. Since the 1.4-liter turbo is named ECOTEC and is paired with an automatic gearbox, one would assume that this is the area in which the Trax excels. Spoiler alert: it's not. In the front-wheel-drive model, official EPA figures are 26/31/28 mpg city/highway/combined. Its 14-gallon gas tank, although bigger than that of some competitors, doesn't lend itself to hypermiling particularly well. A range of 392 miles can be expected off a full tank, but some competitors with less power and weight easily surpass that. Once again, the Trax is, for lack of a better term, "very average."

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/31 mpg
* 2019 Chevrolet Trax LS FWD

Trax Interior

The comfortable-yet-bland seats are firm enough to support the average Joe, while the infotainment system is arguably better than most in its class, with a responsive, easy-to-use seven-inch touchscreen display. Navigating the controls is child's play, and the limited space inside the vehicle is well-utilized. However, the cabin is a boring place to be, with cheap plastics aplenty and, on the LS model, dull fabrics adorning the seats. Also, if you'd like the front seats to be heated, you're going to have to shell out for the top-of-the-range Premier model. Everything about the interior seems to be a little dated, but for those who'd like to fit three kids in the back, at least there are fewer gizmos to damage and scuff.

2019 Chevrolet Trax Dashboard
2019 Chevrolet Trax Dashboard
2019 Chevrolet Trax Dashboard
See All 2019 Chevrolet Trax Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

A commanding and comfortable seating position and good outward visibility make the Trax good at being the city runabout it's designed to be, with reasonable space for five. Speaking of the seats, taller people may fight over who gets to sit shotgun, as rear legroom is poor – although the headroom is adequate. Chevrolet's product information touts the Trax as an all-purpose vehicle that can accommodate anyone from musicians to cyclists, but although the available space is well-packaged, fitting adults in the back seat is less than fun if they're over six-foot. Folding those rear seats seems a little complicated, but at least getting in and out of said seating isn't too difficult - and there is enough space in the back for most day-to-day items to be comfortably stored.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The base Trax has the aforementioned cloth upholstery in fairly regular black, grey, or "brandy" (read: brown) although there is some copper stitching on the seats and dash which breaks up the monochromatism neatly. Moving up to the LT will get you some smarter fabric and a lot more interior seat trim colors, as well as the option to spec the Convenience package, which includes faux-leather inserts, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and power-adjustable driver's seat. If you splash out on the Premier model at the top of the range, you get all the LT's options along with full "pleather" upholstery, and the option to spec the Midnight Edition, which - unsurprisingly - decorates the interior with gloss black accents on the trim panels.

Trax Trunk and Cargo Space

Maximum cargo space in the Trax maxes out at a slightly disappointing 48.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Yes, that is decent for its size, but compared to the vehicles it competes with, it's less than impressive. With the seats in their upright position, that figure falls to 18.7 cubic feet. However, the Trax is equipped with a neat party trick for when you're traveling alone: the front passenger seat can also fold flat, making it possible to stow bigger items like surfboards without the need for roof straps. The rear hatch is cavernous enough to load luggage easily, while the trunk floor is sufficiently low that you don't have to be a powerlifter to get your shopping in the back.

Three cupholders up front and little compartments for odds and ends in the doors add a little more utility, while the glovebox is supplemented by small storage bins around the center binnacle. All in all, the Trax has 11 different storage compartments dotted around the cabin, which is a plus point in this segment.

2019 Chevrolet Trax Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Chevrolet Trax Trunk Space
2019 Chevrolet Trax Top View

Trax Infotainment and Features

Features

The Trax has a number of options available, designed to help you tailor a model to your specific needs; but very few of these options, like the tilt and telescopic steering wheel, are standard across the board. In the LT, you can spec keyless entry and start, but this is standard on the Premier. Fortunately, all the models have steering controls. However, cruise control and a sunroof are available only if you spec them on the LT, but they do come free on the Premier. On the Premier, the seats can be heated and are power-adjustable. In terms of parking assistance, you're fairly well catered for; connected to the seven-inch screen is a reverse camera as standard on all models, although rear park assist is not available on the base model at all. The Premier is also equipped with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment

A seven-inch touchscreen is standard on the Trax and comes connected to a six-speaker system unless you order the Premier model, which has a seven-speaker Bose audio system and a woofer. You can also spec the Bose system on the LT for a little extra cash. You can play just about anything through those speakers, as AM/FM stereo, Bluetooth streaming for two active devices, SiriusXM Radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard along with two USB ports and an auxiliary jack. However, the satellite radio, Apple, and Android subscriptions are trial-based and will require renewal along with the in-car Wi-Fi – which you will want to renew as no navigation options are available. Although the navigation omission can be a bit off-putting for some, the sheer number of standard infotainment features is commendable, as is the fact that the touchscreen is very user-friendly.

Trax Problems and Reliability

Due to its relative age, there are very few reliability reports at this time. However, the 2017 model, which differs only slightly, scores an average 74 on the JD Power Index, and received a similarly average score for reliability. The 2019 Trax has had one recall issued for a problem that affected a front wheel, causing it to toe outward. This affected 112,958 vehicles.

In terms of the warranty, Chevrolet has a very vanilla offering – a limited warranty that covers your Trax for three years or 36,000 miles and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, your first maintenance visit, which includes an oil change and tire rotation, is on the house.

Trax Safety

In a vehicle that will most probably be used for school runs, safety is of paramount importance, and the Trax does not disappoint here: the NHTSA awarded both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models with five stars overall, while the IIHS gave the best possible rating of Good in most of their tests.

Key Safety Features

Knowing that seeing what's happening around the car at all corners at all times can be challenging, Chevrolet's rear cross-traffic alert is a helpful feature, particularly when backing out of a mall parking space. In addition, blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning are useful options in navigating busy commuter traffic. Sadly, the base Ls model does not have access to these features, and while standard on the Premier, it needs to be optioned on for the LT. Forward collision alert is another helpful safety feature that can quickly bring your attention back to the road and its potential dangers should you become distracted, but is reserved yet again for only the top trim. It's reassuring to know that the Trax is fitted with ten standard airbags, including side-curtain, knee and rear seat-mounted thorax airbags - more than any of its direct competitors, and a rearview camera at the very least.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Chevrolet Trax a good SUV?

So, is the 2019 Chevrolet Trax worth a test drive? Is it worth spending around 25 grand on? Well, yes and no. In isolation, the Trax represents very good value as a competent all-rounder. However, when considering its asthmatic engine, relatively poor fuel economy, and slightly hefty price for certain options that are crucial safety features, its positive characteristics - such as a user-friendly infotainment system and decent handling - are outweighed heavily.

If you want space and outstanding all-weather capability, the Subaru Crosstrek is better equipped. If you prefer a more engaging drive, the Kia Niro is more fun. If you want a more competent freeway cruiser with good gas mileage, the CX-3 from Mazda is likely more up your alley. Essentially, while the Trax is decent in a few ways, it's not brilliant in any, and unless a user-friendly infotainment system is your only criterion, there are certainly better options out there.

What's the Price of the 2019 Chevrolet Trax?

The 2019 Trax LS starts at $21,300 before tax, licensing, registration, incentives, and the destination charge of $995. The mid-range LT comes in at $23,200, while top-tier Premier starts at $27,600. A fully loaded Premier package with all the bells and whistles comes in just below the $30,000 mark. All-wheel-drive on any of the trims in the Trax's range will set you back an extra $1,500.

2019 Chevrolet Trax Models

For the 2019 model year, the Chevrolet Trax is available in just three trim variants: LS, LT, and Premier. No difference in power output or transmission is to be seen here as all three are only available with the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas motor paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The cheapest of the lot, the LS, comes with 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers if you spec it in front-wheel-drive guise, but you automatically get upgraded to 18-inch alloys if you decide on the all-wheel-drive version. However, either drivetrain option is still bedecked with bland cloth upholstery. The six-speaker sound system is adequately paired to the connective infotainment system, and all models get single-zone climate control systems.

The next model in the lineup, the LT, comes standard with 16-inch alloys, as well as roof-rails, cruise control and remote start, LED taillights and LED daytime running lights in upgraded headlights. It also allows you to specify a number of options that are not available on the base LT. Among these is the seven-speaker Bose sound system. The LT also boasts upgraded seating in the form of faux leather upholstery inserts.

The top of the range Premier comes with all the above optional extras as standard, as well as fog lights, full faux leather trimming, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming mirror. As an added bonus, this model is also fitted with a forward collision alert and a lane departure warning system.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LS
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$21,300
LT
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$23,200
Premier
1.4-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$27,600
See All 2019 Chevrolet Trax Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

You're not short of customization if you decide on the LT, as this gives you access to options like the $450 Convenience package which offers a leather steering wheel, six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and keyless ignition and entry.

You can also spec the Sun and Sound package which includes a sunroof and the seven-speaker Bose audio system for around $1,400 (with discounted rates available). Ticking the box for the Driver Confidence package will get you rear park distance sensors with rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring for only $495 extra.

In the LT, you can also choose the Redline Edition ($1,350), which scatters black and red accents around and inside the car, while the Premier gives you access to the Midnight Edition ($500), which employs a similar philosophy to styling additions on the car, albeit with only black accented trims and badges.

What Chevrolet Trax Model Should I Buy?

If you have your heart set on a Chevrolet Trax, the LT is the one to go for. The LS is too cheap and basic and does not allow for any additional extras - which leaves it devoid of any advanced driver aids. And, the Premier costs too much for what you get, to be honest. The LT is the most well-rounded variant, has the necessary items available as add-ons, and is comfortable enough without costing too much, too.

We'd recommend the LT paired with the Convenience Package and the Driver Confidence package, keeping costs around $25,000. This gives you access to all the safety equipment available on the Trax, as well as amenities like heated seats and power adjustment for the driver, without compromising on the purpose of a vehicle like this – to be usable every day, in every way. Skip on the all-wheel-drive system though, unless you live in an area fraught with challenging and slippery roadways.

2019 Chevrolet Trax Comparisons

2019 Chevrolet Trax
2019 Chevrolet Trax

2019 Chevrolet Trax vs Ford EcoSport

Looking at the evolution of styling, the Chevrolet Trax certainly has come a long way in terms of looking more like the "hip" city vehicle it aims to be. Although the Ford EcoSport has been around for a while now, its styling is still relatively fresh and holds its own. In terms of interior space, the margins are very narrow here, with the EcoSport winning on legroom but losing on headroom. The EcoSport also comes out on top when comparing cargo space, with 20.9 cubic feet available before folding down any seats, in comparison to the 18.7 available on the Trax. The EcoSport and Trax are both quite on par in terms of convenience features and infotainment, with both offering excellent standard elements like satellite radio, heated seats, and a leather steering wheel, although the Trax offers this up only in the Premier edition. Despite a much smaller 1.0-liter turbo three-cylinder, the EcoSport manages to outdo the Trax with vastly better mpg scores, although it does suffer from about 15 horsepower less at entry point to the range. The EcoSport has the benefit of offering a 2.0-liter powertrain on its SES trim, for those who want a little more oomph. Where the EcoSport truly shines is when tallying up how much it affects your wallet. Starting at $19,995, it's $1,305 cheaper than the base Trax, yet offers just that much more. Overall, the EcoSport is the more economical option, the better-equipped vehicle, and has more potential to avoid causing buyer's remorse.

See Ford EcoSport Review

2019 Chevrolet Trax vs Ford Escape

Although a considerably smaller vehicle, the Trax is generally bought by people who want similar things to buyers of the Ford Escape. Naturally, due to its greater size and heft, the Ford Escape is much more cavernous, allowing bigger loads to be carried about; but, it is also less economical on gas due to its size and 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter engine options. With a starting price of $24,105, the Ford Escape is also less thrifty a purchase than the Trax, but that extra money spent on a bulkier car gets you approximately three inches more legroom in the front and nearly two inches in the back. Space is also much greater when it comes to the cargo area, as the Trax only has 18.7 cubic feet of volume in the back, while the Escape is almost double that at 34 cubic feet. With the seats folded, those numbers increase to 48.4 cubic feet in the Trax and 68 in the Escape.

With at least 400 pounds of body weights more than the Trax to get moving, despite having more powerful engine options, the Ford Escape offers almost identical performance to that of the Trax. The infotainment system here is also less impressive, with the screen measuring under five-inches in base form while it also has one less USB port than the Chevy. If you need much more space, the Escape is worth considering, but with better gas mileage, tech options, and a much lower price, the Trax is certainly a smarter financial buy.

See Ford Escape Review

Chevrolet Trax Popular Comparisons