The 2024 Chevy Trax turns into an economical crossover with real value
The 2024 Chevy Trax is one of the few new cars in recent memory that is significantly cheaper than the model it replaces. Starting at $21,495, the new Trax costs $1,400 less than the outgoing 2022 model and now serves as Chevy’s entry-level car. In fact, it’s the cheapest car GM sells in the United States. Even fully loaded, the new Trax costs less than $27,000. We hate to say it, but that’s cheap by today’s new car standards.
Reimagining the Trax from a midsize crossover into a value-focused price leader is similar to what Nissan did a few years ago when it replaced the Juke with the Kicks. This class of affordable cars, which also includes the Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue, prioritizes interior space and features content over typical SUV traits like optional all-wheel drive and rugged styling (if you want those things, Chevy will gladly sell you a Pioneer). They all start in the low $20,000 range and come standard with front-wheel drive and Apple CarPlay. This is the new face of basic transportation.
Better inside and out
By this measure, the new Trax appears to be a success. Noticeably longer, lower and wider than the old Trax of odd length, the well-proportioned new model has an almost wagon appearance. The base LS trim looks pedestrian with its hubcaps and lack of flashy trim, but the LT, RS and Activ trim levels are relatively stylish thanks to nicer wheels, interestingly shaped headlights and taillights, and a distinctive front grille. Many bright paint colors are also available.
The Trax’s stretched shape also pays off inside, where rear legroom and cargo space are greatly increased thanks to a significantly longer wheelbase and wider track. Chevrolet also managed to equip a flat floor in the back, making the middle seat suitable for short trips. This may be a popular option for Uber drivers. Analog gauges and an 8.0-inch touchscreen are standard, but the optional digital gauge cluster and 11.0-inch center display give the Trax a good amount of display real estate for a car in this class.
We’re not too disappointed with the Trax’s cheap-feeling interior materials given its lower price point. The plastics are hard and scratchy, but the important areas — the roof of the car, the door panels, and the upholstery — at least have some interesting textures to keep it from looking too vaulted. The driving position is low and car-like, a welcome change from the chair-like seating arrangements in many of the Trax’s taller competitors, including Chevrolet’s own Trailblazer.
The driving experience fits the bill
The 2024 Trax drives like an economy car, too, which isn’t a bad thing. The ride and handling balance are tuned appropriately – deploying softly enough to be comfortable off-road while still providing enough damping to keep body roll when pushed. The steering’s lack of on-center feel is a letdown, and we would have preferred a quicker ratio for a relatively small and lightweight vehicle (3,000 pounds, according to Chevy). If you think the RS model offers any kind of dynamic upgrade, think again, because it’s mechanically identical to the others except for the 18-inch (1RS) or 19-inch (2RS) wheels.
The only powertrain is a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with a six-speed automatic transmission. Its 137 horsepower is meager, but the 162 pound-feet of torque comes on low in the rev range, and the Trax has enough power to get out of its own way. The three cylinders have a distinct rumble, and turbo lag is minimal. The only real problem is the sluggish transmission, which doesn’t downshift as quickly as we’d like. However, we’d still take a CVT any day. Fuel economy is rated at 30 mpg combined, which isn’t as good as compact cars like the Honda Civic but is on par for a crossover of this size.
It feels like we’re getting less and less for our hard-earned cash lately, which makes a legitimately inexpensive new car an increasingly attractive proposition. The Trax isn’t particularly attractive or refined, but its attractive pricing lowers expectations to the point where we can appreciate what it offers: a generously sized interior, impressive premium content, and good looks. Chevy expects the Trax to become its third best-selling model after the Silverado and Equinox, and we see no reason to doubt that. With better-equipped models going for less than $25,000, the Trax’s low price is clearly its highest selling point — and almost everyone can agree that the value has universal appeal.
Chevrolet Trax 2024
Vehicle type: Front engine, front wheel drive, 5 passengers, 4 doors
Syrian Pound: US$21,495; 1RS, $23,195; LT, $23,395; 2RS, $24,995; Active, $24,995
Turbocharged and intercooled, DOHC, 12-valve, 3-valve, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 73 inches31193 cm3
Power: 137 hp at 5000 rpm
Torque: 162 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm
6 speed automatic
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Height: 178.6 inches
Width: 71.7 inches
Height: 61.4 inches
Passenger Size, F/R: 53/45 ft3
Load size behind F/R: 54/26 feet3
Curb weight (grandfather Estimates: 3000-3100 lbs
performance (grandfather east)
60 mph: 8.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.5 seconds
Top speed: 115 mph
EPA fuel economy.
Combined/city/highway: 30/28/32 mpg
Despite growing up on a steady diet of base-model Hondas and Toyotas—or perhaps because of it—Joey Caparella developed an obsession with the automobile industry throughout his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He found a way to write about cars for the school newspaper during his college years at Rice University, which eventually led him to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to start his first professional auto writing gig at Rice University. Car magazine. It was part of Car and driver Team since 2016 and now lives in New York City.