The 2017 Chevrolet Trax is the perfect embodiment of what has made compact SUVs some of the most sought after vehicles. The Trax delivers robust styling, nimble performance, and a low starting price, placing it on par with what you would pay for midsize sedans like the Chevrolet Malibu.
Best of all is the value you gain. Not only does the Trax achieve great fuel efficiency with its combined 29 mpg output, it comes with a wealth of excellent safety features including 10 airbags and it’s tech-savvy, as it offers WiFi connectivity by way of OnStar.
If you are a prospective buyer looking for a compact SUV, the 2017 Chevrolet Trax seems to offer the total package on the surface. However, it is when you size it up with some of its competitors that you see if it’s the right model for you. Using automotive research site AxleGeeks for the data, here is a look at how the Trax performs in key areas you value.
A big selling point of the Trax concerns its low starting price. Its base model starts at $21,000. This is an excellent deal when you consider the average cost of a compact 2017 SUV is $27,645, meaning if you buy the Trax you can save $6,645 on average. That’s extraordinary savings that should shoot the Trax up on any buyer’s list. To illustrate how the Trax measures up on the cost spectrum, here is a look at similar models and what their prices are:
- 2017 Jeep Compass Sport–$19,940
- 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.0 ES–$19,795
- 2017 Kia Sportage–$23,200
- 2017 Ford Escape–$24,495
As you can see the Chevrolet Trax isn’t the most affordable option in its segment, but it’s close. Moreover, it does better savings when compared to similar models like the Kia Sportage and the Ford Escape.
If you are like many buyers, fuel costs are a growing concern. The USA Today reports OPEC’s plans of reducing oil output, resulting in higher fuel costs. Some analysts have predicted gas prices rising to $3 a gallon as early as this summer. With these developments in mind, finding a fuel efficient vehicle can save you a significant chunk of money over the life of owning the SUV.
The Chevrolet Trax does an excellent job achieving the balance between brisk performance and fuel efficiency. Equipped with the 1.4L turbocharged ECOTEC engine, the Trax earns up to 33 highway mpg and 25 city mpg. Its combined efficiency of 29 mpg is well above average for its class, where the standard is 25 combined mpg.
Using the average as the metric, let’s say gas prices do rise to $3.00 a gallon and you plan to drive 15,000 miles annually. Your total fuel costs per year for the Trax would be $1,551.72. However, if you choose a compact SUV closer to the average of 25 combined mpg, your fuel costs would rise to approximately $1,800 annually. This represents a savings of $248.28 a year for Trax owners. On the surface, this might not seem like much but say you keep the SUV six years. Using this scenario, you could save as much as $1,489.68. As this illustrates, the small amount of savings you earn now will grow exponentially with time, and all it takes is choosing an efficient model like the Trax to help you receive this.
Interior space is an important metric for the simple fact it conveys the SUV’s functionality. Chevrolet understood this–to a point–when it designed the Trax. This SUV offers excellent versatility by way of eight seating configurations. This means if you want to transport your family, your pets, or your bulkier gear, you can do so thanks to the foldable rear and front passenger seats.
With all the seats folded, the Trax has a maximum cargo capacity of 48.4 cubic feet, placing it well below the 60.1 cubic feet average set by its competitors. Another area where the Trax is deficient is its 18.7 cubic feet of trunk space. Considering the average for its class is 27.3 cubic feet, it illustrates the Trax is one of the tighter fits concerning interior space in its class. This is not a great selling point when you consider other models have more spacious offerings like:
- 2017 Jeep Cherokee Sport–24.60 cubic feet of trunk space
- 2017 Toyota RAV4–38.40 cubic feet of trunk space
- 2017 Honda CR-V LX–39.20 cubic feet of trunk space
Overall, it’s clear there are many roomier options in its segment. Therefore if space is an influencing factor, this might suede you away from the Trax, and for good reasons.
Each year, the IIHS conducts tests on compact SUVs to determine how well each model could protect you and your SUV’s occupants in the event of a collision. Testing crash performance and prevention by way of systems which brake automatically to avoid a collision, the IIHS assigns ratings for each model. The top performing models earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick or the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards.
The 2017 Chevrolet Trax didn’t earn top honors. This doesn’t mean the Trax isn’t safe, all it means is there are other models that perform better during crashes, which could be a decision changer if you were considering the Trax. The compact SUVs earning IIHS honors are:
- 2017 BMW X1–Top Safety Pick
- 2017 Fiat 500X–Top Safety Pick
- 2017 Hyundai Tucson–Top Safety Pick
- 2017 Kia Sportage–Top Safety Pick
- 2017 Mazda CX-3–Top Safety Pick+
- 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander–Top Safety Pick+
- 2017 Nissan Rogue–Top Safety Pick+
- 2017 Subaru Forester–Top Safety Pick+
- 2017 Toyota RAV4–Top Safety Pick+
What we like: The Trax is affordable, delivers exceptional fuel efficiency and comes equipped with great tech features like WiFi connectivity.
What we didn’t like: The Trax is far from the most spacious offering in its class and it isn’t among the top performers in crash tests.
Verdict: The Trax, while affordable, isn’t the best option for its segment.