By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
Although considerably smaller than the Chevy Equinox, the Chevrolet Trax compact SUV for 2016 still has a lot to offer. The Trax may be small on the outside, but its interior is surprisingly accommodating. The Trax also appeals to those who want maximum fuel economy in a city-friendly design that is easy to park and maneuver. Like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, the Trax can be equipped with all-wheel drive, although the system is not as off-road capable as the one offered on the Jeep Renegade. Cool features, like the standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, make the Trax attractive to younger buyers. And, because many Americans still have reservations about small cars, Chevy equips every Trax with 10 airbags and a NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating.
Budget-minded shoppers will love the 2016 Chevrolet Trax for its affordable price, excellent fuel economy, roomy interior and feature-rich cabin.
While the Trax is roomy for its size, families with more than one child safety seat might find the Trax’s rear seat too small. The Mazda CX-3 is a better driver’s car, the Honda HR-V offers a manual transmission while the Kia Soul offers more features and a better warranty.
KBB Expert Ratings
There are no major changes to the 2016 Chevrolet Trax.
For a car of its size, Chevrolet’s 2016 Trax compact-crossover SUV returns a comfortable and controlled ride. The Trax feels fairly stable at high speeds and nimble on winding roads,...
... although when equipped with the larger 18-inch wheels the ride becomes jarring. Power from the 1.4-liter turbo is there when you need it at lower speeds, but any demands made above 70 mph have the little engine feeling as though it’s running out of steam. Wide-open throttle also brings an abundance of engine noise from under the hood. Thankfully, Chevrolet employs ample sound-deadening techniques that keep the most obnoxious noises from invading the passenger compartment. If performance holds considerable weight in your purchasing decisions, you’ll find better handling and acceleration from a Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X or Nissan Juke.
15 STORAGE COMPARTMENTS
With its 15 separate storage compartments, Chevy’s 2016 Trax compact-crossover SUV has a place for everything from snacks to valuables. LT and LTZ models include a hidden storage drawer under the front-passenger seat.
For those who live where snow is a regular ritual, the Trax’s on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD) is an invaluable option that will set you back a mere $1,500.
Since the 2016 Chevrolet Trax compact SUV is aimed at young, first-time buyers, its interior is designed for a hyper-social lifestyle. The 7-inch color touch screen houses an array of apps and has the ability to sync a smartphone in seconds. Everything in the front of the cabin is easily within arm’s reach thanks to the Trax’s overall size. An analog tachometer and a digital speedometer display necessary vitals in a fun way that’s similar to one seen on a sports bike. There are also 15 storage compartments and a few USB ports spread throughout the cabin.
Life as a compact SUV means a short wheelbase and smaller proportions. Chevy’s Trax compact- crossover SUV for 2016 is just that, with a stout profile capped off by a front grille responsible for ushering air to cool everything off under the hood. From behind, the Trax looks smaller than it really is, thanks in part to the character lines that bookend the tailgate. These same lines run the length of the Trax and slink over the wheel wells to give it some definition and shape. A maximum width (without mirrors) of 69.9 inches helps squeeze the Trax through tight spots.
Like the rest of Chevrolet’s lineup starting in 2016, the Trax includes 4G LTE Wi-Fi onboard as a standard feature. A rearview camera is standard as well. Cloth seats and an infotainment system start you off in the base LS, but if you want navigation and Leatherette-clad seats, you have to climb the trim ladder. If you want every bell and whistle, you’re best off going with the Trax LTZ trim, which features everything mentioned plus highlights including an auto-dimming rearview mirror and heated sideview mirrors.
All-wheel drive is an available option for an additional $1,500, and if you live in an area where wet/winter weather is common, we recommend it. Also available on the mid-level LT version of the 2016 Trax (standard on the top-tiered LTZ model) is a 7-speaker Bose premium sound system.
A 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, rated at 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, is the only available engine for Chevy’s 2016 compact Trax SUV. A 6-speed automatic transmission is paired with this engine and handles gear changes without a hunt. Chevrolet paid extra attention to keeping engine and road noise at a minimum with some help from some very effective sound-deadening materials, but as mentioned in our driving impressions above, don't expect a library inside. With front-wheel drive (FWD), this engine/transmission pairing is good for an EPA-rated mpg of 26 city/34 highway. Being that the Trax is a compact-crossover SUV, filling its 14-gallon fuel tank is easier on the wallet than other, larger SUVs.
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 mpg (FWD), 24/31 mpg (AWD)
The 2016 Chevrolet Trax has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $22,000 including destination. There are three trim levels – LS, LT (around $23,600) and LTZ (just over $26,000) – and AWD is available for another $1,500. We tested a loaded Trax LTZ, and its price tag landed just north of $28,000. The Trax faces stiff competition from the new Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Jeep Renegade. The Honda and Jeep undercut the Trax's starting price for base models with a manual transmission. The sporty, automatic-only Mazda CX-3 starts about $1,200 less than the Trax, but can top $30,000. For a real-world look at what the 2016 Trax is selling for in your neighborhood, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. As for resale, the Trax holds slightly above-average values, below those of the Honda and Mazda, but on par with the Jeep and Nissan Juke and better than the Kia Soul.