2017 Chevrolet Trax Review


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2017 Chevrolet Trax Overview

Chevrolet has announced that its smallest and cheapest crossover is getting a makeover for 2017. The subcompact Trax won't grow any bigger, and it’ll still lack the power and performance of many of its rivals; but this pint-size ute is scheduled to boast some noticeable styling tweaks and much-needed cabin upgrades. These touted changes are a pleasant surprise, as the Trax (which shares a platform with the equally undersized Sonic) just came on the scene for the 2015 model year, and an upgrade this soon is somewhat unusual.

Among the noteworthy changes for the 2017 Trax is a new flagship Premier trim that will replace the LTZ at the top of the lineup. Boasting new 18-inch aluminum wheels, upgraded halogen projector headlights, dual taillights, added chrome trim pieces, and LED lighting, the new Trax Premier presides over the entry-level LS and mid-level LT.

All 2017 Trax editions are expected to sport a redesigned grille and front fascia, bringing them closer in appearance to their Cruz, Volt, and Malibu cousins, while a reworked dashboard replaces the old digital gauges with an analog gauge arrangement for a more traditional look. Complementing the upgraded instrument panel is a new 7-inch touchscreen display that will interface with GM's OnStar technology and Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system; 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability will come standard. For 2017, the MyLink feature will be further enhanced with upgraded Bluetooth connectivity and new Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone apps.

The pokey but reasonably fuel-efficient 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant is back for 2017, mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission to put out 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Look for an estimated 26 mpg city/34 highway/29 combined from the standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) Trax and 24/31/27 from those trims equipped with available full-time all-wheel drive (AWD).

Recent track tests had an AWD Trax trotting from 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, which will leave it trailing most rivals from a stoplight. A FWD version made the trip in a slightly quicker 8.9 seconds. With its unibody construction, MacPherson front struts, torsion-beam rear end, twin-tube gas shock absorbers, tubular V-shaped beam, and electric power steering, the Trax is better suited to the urban crawl than the open road.

Despite the interior upgrades it receives for 2017, the Trax will not be easily confused with vehicles like the swanky Buick Encore. Hard plastic accents still dominate the cabin, and the few soft-touch surfaces aren’t really that soft. The lack of a center console won't win the Trax any prizes for comfort or convenience, and cargo area is expected to remain a comparatively cramped 48.4 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded.

On the plus side, the Trax offers plenty of front-seat room, and the rear seats provide a pleasant cruising experience for 2 average-size adults or 3 small children. A rear-view camera returns standard on all trims, with higher trims also offering standard remote engine start, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and, in the Premier, a 7-speaker Bose premium audio system. A power sunroof is optional on the LT and Premier.

Another anticipated improvement for the 2017 Trax lineup will be the addition of 3 new safety features: a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning (which, unfortunately, does not include automatic braking). These debuting safety upgrades should fit well with other standard safety items, like upgraded traction and stability control, front side-mounted and front and rear head curtain airbags, and knee airbags for both the driver and front passenger. Daytime running lights, a post-collision safety system, and OnStar emergency telematics also come standard aboard all trims, while the LT and Premier versions add a remote antitheft alarm.

The current Trax has earned some of the best safety scores in its segment, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarding this subcompact crossover its best score of 5 stars overall, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) giving the 2016 Trax its highest overall score of Good.

Look for the 2017 Chevy Trax to again challenge Mazda’s CX-3--which traditionally tops the small-crossover segment--as well as the Kia Soul, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke (controversial styling and all), and the newly minted (2016) Honda HR-V.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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