2024 Chevrolet Trax Review and Test Drive
The subcompact SUV proves style and affordability can coexist.
Growing up, I was always a skinny kid. Part of it was due to being active, but I attribute the bulk of my lanky build to a metabolism that consistently ran at redline. I was always self-conscious about being so thin, so when I went off to college, I doubled my efforts in the cafeteria and the gym. After a single semester, I returned home transformed.
I see a similar scenario with the 2024 Chevrolet Trax. The automaker sold an earlier iteration of this five-passenger subcompact SUV through the 2022 model year. Unfortunately, the previous Trax was a wallflower of a vehicle, thanks to uninspired styling offering little to distinguish the SUV from its competitors.
That all changes with the arrival of the 2024 version, highlighted by a host of new features and, most apparent, bold styling not seen from rivals such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks. The new Trax looks like a downsized Chevrolet Blazer, and that's good.
With vehicle prices skyrocketing over the past few years, you might assume that the new and improved 2024 Trax is considerably more expensive than its predecessor. Thankfully, you'd be wrong. Chevy actually dropped base prices just a smidge, but the new Trax delivers less power and, most puzzling to me, is only available with front-wheel drive (FWD). An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is not available.
The 2024 Chevrolet Trax comes in LS, 1RS, LT, 2RS, and Activ trim levels. Base prices range from the low to mid-$20,000s, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from the Changwon, South Korea, factory that builds it to your local dealership.
For this Trax review, I test-drove the 2RS in southern Maine. It came with Sunroof and Driver Confidence packages, bringing the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $26,540, including the $1,095 destination charge. Chevrolet provided the vehicle for this Trax review.
2024 Chevrolet Trax: The Design
Compared with the 2022 model it replaced, the all-new 2024 Trax is about 2 inches wider and nearly a foot longer, providing an extra 6 cubic-feet of cargo space and roughly 3 inches of added rear legroom.
Along with that comes an exterior that delivers character lacking from the previous iteration, yet I'd argue the 7.3 inches of ground clearance coupled with substantial use of black cladding along the wheel wells and rocker panels suggest this little rig is ready for some AWD adventure. To my eyes, the Trax's FWD-only configuration doesn't match its appearance. It's worth noting that the similar Chevrolet Trailblazer does offer AWD.
Shifting to the interior, all of the primary controls are well placed and easy to decipher, and in the 2RS you can adjust the automatic climate control using dials and buttons on the dash or tapping an icon on the center touchscreen. Unfortunately, those dials were flimsy and one of the few areas where I could touch Chevrolet's cost-cutting measures.
Additionally, the doors sounded tinny when shut, the interior panels were all hard plastic, the vanity mirrors lacked illumination, and the power windows featured auto-down but not auto-up functionality.
None of that seems out of place in a vehicle priced in the low $20,000s. It is more than compensated for with fake perforated leather upholstery that could pass for genuine cowhide; similar material on the steering wheel; turn signal and wiper stalks that felt more substantial than some I've found in luxury-branded vehicles; and a premium headliner with matching fabric on the windshield pillars.
At 5 feet, 8 inches tall, I felt right at home in the 2024 Trax. Up front, my 2RS had manually adjustable bucket seats that comfortably supported me for nearly 400 miles, though I wondered if larger individuals might find them too narrow. Nevertheless, with a height-adjustable driver's seat and a sporty, flat-bottom, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the Trax accommodates people of various sizes.
Given its price, I was pleasantly surprised to find my 2RS equipped with standard triple-setting heated front seats and even a heated steering wheel. Granted, they weren't much use during late summer in Maine, but they'd be my favorite features once the cool air arrives. Rounding things off is a well-positioned center armrest providing a soft spot to lay your forearm.
My expectations were low when moving to the three-passenger rear bench seat, assuming Chevrolet would scrimp in that area to keep costs down. To say I was wrong is an understatement. With the front buckets adjusted for my height, the second row provided a surprising amount of leg and foot room.
Even without the extra 3 inches courtesy of the redesign, I would've had plenty of space. The back seat, which lacks a center fold-down armrest, has a slightly reclined backrest and a lower cushion tilted to offer good leg support. In addition, the padding was generous enough to be supportive without being too firm. Sitting there, I wondered how a $26,000 Chevy could provide a more inviting rear seat than countless cars and crossovers.
Within the cabin, storage provisions include a cubby below the instrument panel, a compartment under the center armrest, and a seatback pocket on the passenger seat. There are a couple cupholders in the center console, but rear-seat riders must use beverage holders on the lower door panels.
When all seats are in use, the cargo area provides 25.6 cubic-feet of space, easily accessed by manually raising the liftgate — no sensor-activated power liftgates here. Lower the split-folding rear seatback and you'll increase capacity to 54.1 cu-ft. Either way, you'll find a flat floor that makes loading easier, a light to see at night, handy tie-down points, and a cover that keeps your items out of public view.
2024 Chevrolet Trax: The Technology
As with its styling, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax's interior technology impresses by delivering more than you might expect from what is, essentially, an economy car. Unlike some lower trim levels, the 2RS gets an 11.0-inch center touchscreen for the infotainment system, complemented by an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster.
The gauge cluster is angled toward the driver, simple to navigate, quick to respond to input, and offers a crisp and clear display. My one complaint: In any type of daylight, reflections become difficult to ignore.
As for the gauge cluster, it deserves equal praise, though the fuel-economy graphic occupies too much of the screen. I opted to turn that off since the infotainment system provides the same information.
Pairing my iPhone with the Trax's Bluetooth and wireless Apple CarPlay features was a cinch. Chevy doesn't include a native voice-recognition system, so I used my connected phone's Siri function. From requests for directions to the local weather forecast, Siri quickly responded with detailed information.
I was also pleased to find a pair of USB ports below the instrument panel, my 2RS's optional wireless charging pad, and radio controls mounted on the back of the steering-wheel spokes.
Regarding safety technology, the 2024 Trax has various systems such as forward-collision warning and automatic high-beam headlights. With well over 200 miles of highway driving during my evaluation, I took advantage of the opportunity to test a few other features. One was adaptive cruise control, part of my test car's optional Driver Confidence Package.
This feature worked as intended but wasn't as smooth as systems I've experienced in other vehicles. I could feel it constantly adjusting to maintain the desired distance from a slower vehicle ahead. When I subsequently pulled into the passing lane, the acceleration was sometimes abrupt as the Trax raced to match my prescribed speed.
None of this was jarring or overly bothersome, but it suggested there may be room for some fine-tuning.
Thanks to the optional Driver Confidence Package, my 2RS included blind-spot monitoring with a lane-change alert and a rear cross-traffic alert system. The blind-spot monitor proved particularly helpful when traveling amidst heavy late-summer traffic on southern Maine's Interstate 95.
Assistance also came from the Trax's standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist features. I intentionally drifted to the left and right to test these and discovered I would nearly reach the inner or outer lane marker before the Trax gently applied corrective steering to nudge me back toward the center. The action was subtle, whereas some other vehicles feel more abrupt and heavy-handed.
I'd like to share crash-test scores for the 2024 Chevrolet Trax, but as of publication, they're unavailable. Please check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety websites for updates.
2024 Chevrolet Trax: The Drive
Take a peek under the 2024 Chevrolet Trax's hood, and you'll find something unique. Instead of the usual four-cylinder engine or a hybrid system, this small SUV comes with a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission delivers the power to the front wheels.
Admittedly, that caused me to raise an eyebrow for two reasons. First, the previous Trax featured a 155-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Second, I've never been a fan of odd-cylinder engines. To me, they lack the smoothness and refinement of, for example, an inline-four or a V6. Nevertheless, I hopped behind the wheel with an open mind and hit the road.
When cruising around town at slower speeds without urgent demands for acceleration, the tiny three-cylinder operated without fuss, so I soon forgot about its possible shortcomings. Power was sufficient, though hardly abundant, and the transmission went about its business behind the scenes. All in all, it was a perfectly acceptable driving experience.
That changed on the highway, as the engine felt and sounded comparatively rough under hard acceleration, and the relative lack of power required stepping on the gas pedal with a heavier foot. Getting up to and maintaining speed demanded more effort, yet the Trax was perfectly content to lumber along flat stretches of highway at 80 mph at about 2,500 rpm.
Put another way, the engine wasn't working particularly hard while I was blasting along in the passing lane. That said, when tackling an incline, those three cylinders started breathing a little heavier as the Trax climbed upward. Still, I averaged 31.2 mpg, a smidge better than the EPA's estimate of 30 mpg.
Except for moments when taxing the engine, the 2024 Trax's interior remained reasonably quiet, aside from noticeable tire noise on the highway. That provided a comfortable environment to complement an equally pleasant ride.
With its off-roadish appearance, the Trax seems as though its suspension would be firm, but in reality, it is well-tuned for daily driving duty. During the summer, Maine's roads see a lot of construction, resulting in many uneven surfaces. The Trax handled them well without disrupting the steering or bumping me off my comfy seat.
Is the 2024 Chevrolet Trax a Good SUV?
Since no crash test or reliability data is available for the all-new 2024 Trax, I can't confidently recommend rushing to your local Chevrolet dealer to get your very own. That said, assuming the Trax scores favorably on those two critical fronts, I will say that this Chevrolet is a compelling choice for buyers searching for an affordable new car.
That opinion is based not only on my positive impressions gleaned from a weeklong, 400-mile test drive but also on consideration of the Trax's competition. That list includes other General Motors models (Buick Envista and Chevrolet Trailblazer) and the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, Kia Soul, and Nissan Kicks.
Among those, the FWD-only Kicks, Soul, and Venue are the most direct rivals. Each has strengths, including the Venue's excellent warranty, the Soul's extra power and cargo space, and the Kicks' added safety features. The Trax trails in fuel efficiency, but all have a similar base price.
Choosing between these entry-level small SUVs comes down to your personal preference, and if styling is among your shopping criteria, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax gets the nod.