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.