NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Chevrolet Trax Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 4/23/2014
Fast Facts:
  • 5-passenger compact crossover model
  • Architecture shared with Buick Encore
  • Turbocharged engine
  • Standard rear-side air bags
  • Available Wi-Fi hotspot and Sire Eyes Free technology
  • Goes on sale in the United States in early 2015

Introduction
Already offered in other markets such as Mexico and China, the 2015 Chevrolet Trax now makes its U.S. debut, where it will compete with the Nissan Juke and other compact crossover SUVs. The Trax is Chevy's version of the Buick Encore. Buyers will have their choice of front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability and three trim levels, each of which is equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

Exterior Features
Spanning 168.5 in. in length and covering a width of 69.9 in., the diminutive 2015 Chevrolet Trax is about 5 in. shorter than the Chevrolet Sonic sedan and nearly 3 in. narrower than the Chevrolet Equinox.

As this preview is written, details about the Trax are limited, although Chevrolet has confirmed that the crossover will be sold in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels. Sixteen-inch steel wheels are standard on the entry-level model, swapped out for 16- or 18-in. alloys as you climb higher through the lineup. A bit of customization will be afforded by a selection of 10 paint colors, including Orange Rock Metallic and Deep Espresso Metallic.

Interior Features
Despite its small footprint, the 2015 Trax features an 18.7 cu.-ft. cargo area, which can be expanded to 48.4 cu. ft. when the 60/40 split-folding rear seat is lowered. A fold-flat front passenger bucket should come in handy when long items need to be transported. Designers have also incorporated several cubbies and bins into the cabin, along with convenience features including USB and auxiliary input jacks, a remote start system, and a standard 7-in. touch-screen infotainment system with satellite radio service. LS and LT trim levels are fitted with cloth upholstery, whereas the top-of-the-line Trax LTZ has its chairs wrapped in a leatherette material.

Optional Features
In addition to its standard amenities, expect the 2015 Chevrolet Trax to be offered with upgrades including premium audio, a power tilt/slide moonroof, fog lights, and more.

Under the Hood
All Trax SUVs, regardless of trim level or drivetrain, will draw motivation from a turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode is standard. This is the same motor utilized by the Buick Encore and some versions of the Chevrolet Cruze. Complementing the boosted power plant are electric power steering and a torsion-beam rear suspension.

Fuel Economy
According to Chevy estimates, the FWD Trax should average 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Those figures represent a slight bump over the Buick Encore's EPA ratings, which are 25 and 33 mpg, respectively. When equipped with AWD, the Trax is expected to travel 23 mpg around town and 30 mpg on the highway. Unlike some other turbocharged engines, the 2015 Trax's 4-cylinder doesn't require premium fuel.

Safety
While crash-test data is not available for the 2015 Chevrolet Trax, results have been published for the structurally similar Encore. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the FWD Buick 4 (out of 5) stars, whereas the AWD model earned 5 stars. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2014 Encore received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--in all but the small overlap front impact-protection category, which scored a "Poor" grade--the Institute's lowest.

In terms of safety features, the 2015 Trax arrives with 10 air bags, a standard rearview camera, OnStar with emergency response services, and anti-lock brakes. Rear drum brakes are standard on FWD variants, though they're upgraded to discs when AWD is selected.

Technology
Chevrolet is promoting the 2015 Trax as a small crossover available with some rather impressive technology. Highlights include a fast 4G mobile connection for multiple devices via OnStar with built-in Wi-Fi; Siri Eyes Free, allowing iPhone users to operate their smartphones with voice commands; and BringGo app integration, which transforms the infotainment screen into a navigation system.

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