Extra-small SUVs typically offer great fuel economy, easy maneuverability, and a decent amount of cargo capacity. The 2021 Chevrolet Trax checks these boxes and it’s easy to get in and out of, too. But the Trax is hampered by some pretty uncomfortable seats, a loud and hard ride, and a rear seat that could lead to claustrophobia.
Since then, newer and cooler competitors have arrived, including the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and Subaru Crosstrek. In addition, Chevrolet just introduced the Trailblazer, which is also an extra small SUV but considerably more modern. We recommend going with any of these selections before deciding on the Trax.
What Trax does Edmunds recommend?
In the LS trim, the Chevrolet Trax offers a decent amount of features for the money. And while the top-tier LT model doesn’t stand out for the added standard features, it’s our pick as it promises options that include Driver Confidence and LT Convenience packages.
Chevrolet Trax models
The Chevrolet Trax is an extra small SUV available in an LS or LT trim level. Both come with a 138-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for any trim level. Featured features include:
7-inch infotainment touchscreen
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
Wi-Fi access point capability
Six speaker sound system
60/40 split folding rear seat
Includes standard LS features and adds:
Improved seating surfaces
LED running lights
Heated exterior mirrors
Optional LT features include:
Blind spot monitoring
Ignition and keyless entry
Power adjustable driver’s seat
Faux leather upholstery with heated front seats.
Engine, transmission, and performance
Only one engine is offered in the Trax, and it’s not great. In the city, the engine’s turbocharger provides a decent amount of low-end power. However, as soon as you need to pass or merge onto the road, the engine runs out of steam and generates more noise than actual acceleration when you step on it. The six-speed automatic is smooth enough, but it often shifts slowly and is reluctant to downshift at times. Firm ride and stable handling give the Trax a solid feel, and fast steering makes it agile in parking lots and urban areas. There’s less steepness in the corners than you’d expect given the Trax’s tall stature, though the handling isn’t as responsive and avid as in competitors like the Mazda CX-30 and Kia Soul. The Trax’s brakes are among the strongest in their class, and the pedal feels firm and inspires confidence.
The front-wheel drive Trax underperformed in our highway fuel economy test, below its EPA number with a 29 mpg result. Not only did the Soul achieve better fuel economy, it also provided a whopping 63 hp advantage over the Trax and accelerated to 60 mph nearly three seconds faster.