Chevrolet’s bargain bucket baby SUV is roomy but surprisingly rough and ready

Our Verdict

Chevrolet Trax

Chevrolet enters the compact crossover segment with the boldly styled and well equipped Trax

What is it?

The new Chevrolet Trax supermini 4x4, just landed in the UK. And, without beating about the bush too much, it’s coarse and loud and, albeit functional, decidedly ordinary to drive. 

That’s partly because Chevrolet thinks you don’t care. We’ve previously been led to believe that UK tuning of the Trax was on the cards, having found the car dynamically flawed during test drives in both Europe and the USA.

But while the car has been through a tuning program in the UK, Europe and Korea, UK roads and tastes won't be specifically catered for. Selling a model with a UK-specific suspension tune may increase the cost of the car to a point that would be unfavourable for buyers on a budget.

What's it like?

For one, a lot of car for not a lot of cash. This Skoda Yeti rival has large doors, a convenient driving position and a good-sized cabin and boot. The interior’s finish is workmanlike but isn’t without a bit of style, the seats are comfortable, and broadly speaking, the engines produce adequate power and economy.

But ‘adequate’ wouldn’t be the word you’d use to describe the mechanical refinement of our 1.7-litre diesel test car. Vocal at low revs, the motor rose to a harsh thrash at higher speed, where the six-speed auto ‘box, with its short intermediate ratios, took that engine all too often.

And the car doesn’t show very much dynamic quality elsewhere. It rides bad roads in slightly wooden, thumping fashion, and while the Trax handles manageably enough, it only does so via a light and spongey steering system that’s seldom a pleasure to use.

Should I buy one?

Not if you can avoid it. And we can only assume the army of Chevrolet buyers referred to earlier don’t know they could get a near-identical car for only £1500 more in the shape of an equivalent Vauxhall Mokka. Or a much cheaper and more likeable austerity SUV in the Dacia Duster.

Whatever the alternative, the Trax seems a like a good car spoiled by something of a lacklustre execution, which is a shame from a brand that’s been showing progress and growing credibility of late. 

Chevrolet Trax 1.7 VCD LT auto

Price £19,955; 0-62mph 9.4sec; Top speed 113mph; Economy 53.2mpg; CO2 139g/km; Kerb weight 1387kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1686cc, turbodiesel; Power 128bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed automatic

Join the debate


22 August 2013

Interesting to read another review where a Dacia is noted as being a better alternative ... Renault must be praising the day it decided to launch its budget brand in the UK ...

It is a pity about the Trax as it has the looks ... But obviously it's only skin deep ...

22 August 2013

It all seems pretty fair. Spend £1500 less and get a Chevrolet/Holden-type car. Spend £1500 more and get a Vauxhall/Opel/Buick-type car. You get what you pay for, which makes sense.

You don't expect a Skoda or a Seat to be a Volkswagen or an Audi or for a Dacia to be a Renault.

Sensible market segmetation.

22 August 2013

"That’s partly because Chevrolet thinks you don’t care. We’ve previously been lead to believe that UK"

It's spelt 'led' not 'lead' - lead is a metal or the verb to lead.

22 August 2013

The Mokka is no better, My wife had one for weekend test drive, possibly one of the worst cars I've driven, felt like a pickup truck from 10 years ago, I believe their currently one of Vauxhalls best selling cars too. 

22 August 2013

Its a supermini 4x4, and Its £20,000!!

It must be nice to live in Autocars world. 

It sounds a crap car, but it doesnt sound remotely cheap to me. Do they actually sell any of them?

22 August 2013

I laughed when I read the comment, under "What is it like ?", "For one, a lot of car for not a lot of cash." Get real guys, £20,000 !!  I don't think there are too many readers who would agree with you. "Not a lot of cash" in terms of a car must be about £10,000 or less.

After reading that comment I picked up this week's copy of the magazine and happened to see the article about Mr Cropley collecting his nice new Range Rover Autobiography TDV6 which cost a mere £94,660 (yes, really !) as delivered, and across the top of that page was a list of the long-term cars that Autocar are running currently. Suffice it to say that it includes a BMW M135i, a Jaguar XKR-S, McLaren 12C, M-B CLS Shooting Brake, a Morgan Plus 8, Range Rover Evoque and a VW CC GT. Autocar staffers obviously live in a slightly different world to the rest of us. No wonder the price of the magazine is now £3.30.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance


22 August 2013

... and still gets 2.5 stars in the Autocar rating system? Looks like GCSEs and A levels are not the only things suffering grade inflation...

23 August 2013

I agree with those who don't see this as a bargain. If it is such a weak contender it should start at £12995. Give me a Captur over this.

23 August 2013

GM are almost at the point of being laughable. Why offer a Trax and a Mokka? Hardly surprising Saab went the wall with this mentality. They appear to have no idea about the European market.

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