The Trax nameplate first appeared on Chevrolet car lots in 2014 attached to a 4-door and 5-passenger crossover utility vehicle for the eensy-weensy class packing a 4-in-line tiny turbo engine. Assembled at Chevy plants in Mexico and South Korea, the Trax baby CUV was entirely new to Chevrolet in concept, style, cabin size, mechanical components and fuel economy scores -- earning as much as 34 miles per gallon (mpg) for highway cruising.
For the 2017 editions of Trax, Chevrolet implements a mid-cycle update with fresh body styling, enhanced cabin content and more optional active safety features.
All versions of Trax use the integral body-frame structure of a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car with curvy skin dressing the external package and generous room for riders in the cabin in the manner of European city-savvy vans.
Origins stem from GM's small crossover architecture, comparing size-wise to Buick's Encore and the Opel Mokka vehicles marketed outside of North America, with mechanical equipment pulled from the Cruze and Sonic of Chevrolet.
Fresh body styling for Trax 2017 encompasses a new hood, fenders, front and rear fascias plus lamp clusters fore and aft. The look is slick with an edgy shell featuring Chevrolet's dual-port grille and thin sweeping headlamp bezels up front and top trim versions adding halogen projector headlamps with LED signature lighting.
The Trax platform has a 100.6-inch wheelbase and a wide tire track width of 60.6 inches. Pinning the wheels near the corners of the chassis brings stability to the stance to boost driver confidence, while a tight 36.7-foot turning circle improves maneuverability in crowded urban traffic but also helps make this squirt-sized CUV a snap to park.
Chevy constructs the 2017 Trax in three grades -- Trax LS the base model, Trax LT the upgrade version and Trax Premier the new top tier -- and all issues stock electronic traction control (ETC) and GM's electronic stability device, StabiliTrak, with options for FWD or electronically controlled all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction.
All Trax editions of 2017 employ GM's turbo-charged Ecotec 4-pack engine displacing 1.4 liters and carrying dual overhead cams (DOHC) plus double continuously variable cam phaser (DCVCP) controls. The turbo makes 138 hp at 4900 rpm plus 148 lb-ft of torque at 1850-4900 rpm and links to a 6-speed automatic transaxle with electronic controls.
Trax's estimated fuel consumption numbers reach 34 mpg when running at legal speed on a highway in a FWD edition, or 31 mpg with AWD.
The suspension uses front MacPherson struts with a direct-acting stabilizer bar. In the rear the car has a compound-crank torsion beam with twin-tube shocks for responsive rear suspension control.
Brake systems include electronic linkage to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic brake assist (EBA) and cornering brake control (CBC).
Climb aboard and you'll quickly observe that Trax's cabin dimensions seem generous, despite the vehicle's pint-size category. The CUV has 92.8 cubic feet of room for riders with headroom up to 39.6 inches and legroom to 40.8 inches front and 35.7 inches rear.
Layout of the Trax cabin amounts to a pair of bucket seats in front of a bench for three with the seatback split 60/40 and folding to add room for cargo. The cargo area runs to 18.7 cubic feet behind the rear seat or 48.4 cubic feet with rear seatback folded down.
A new gauge display with prominent analog speedometer and tachometer readouts highlight Trax's 2017 cabin revisions. The center instrument panel houses a new 7-inch MyLink color touchscreen with Galvano chrome trim.
Trax comes with a long list of safety equipment -- a standard rearview camera, front seatbelts with pretensioning apparatus, backseat restraints with anchors to mount a child's seat, smart multi-stage frontal air bags and side air bags for front seats along with curtain-style air bags tucked in the ceiling for outboard seats on two rows, even air bags aimed at the knees of front-seat riders and side thorax air bags for rear-seat riders.
For 2017, Chevrolet adds more electronic safety monitors as options on the top two trim levels: Side blind zone, rear cross-traffic, forward collision and lane departure warning.
Chevrolet's price structure for 2017 Trax models begins around $21,500.