There has been an explosion in the SUV-crossover segment, and Chevrolet has responded quickly with the Trax, a subcompact crossover that combines the practicality and ride height of a traditional SUV with the maneuverability of a small car.
Measuring just 168.5 inches long, our 2015 Trax is dwarfed by Chevrolet’s two largest utility vehicles, the Traverse and mammoth Suburban, but the company wagers it’s the right size for many car buyers. It competes directly with the likes of the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Buick Encore (a close relative), and Jeep Renegade.
The first thing one notices about the Trax is its tall, uninspired styling (frankly, it looks like an egg), clearly indicating that the guys at Chevy were primarily concerned with function over anything else. The end result is a safe, highly versatile vehicle that can handle the everyday chores of a small family with relative ease.
Indeed, the Trax looks smaller from the outside than it really is, thanks to its tall roof and short length. Headroom is plenty for both front and rear passengers of just about any height, and with 35.7 inches of rear legroom, most adults won’t have to worry about their knees.
The tall roof of the Trax also makes accessing the cargo area easy, although the 18.7 cubic feet (530 litres) of space behind the rear seats is average for the segment. It’s nevertheless useful, and folding down the rear seats boosts total storage capacity to a capacious 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 litres).
What, 48.4 cubic feet is still not enough? Don’t worry. Unlike most of the competition, the Trax boasts a front passenger seat that can be folded flat, allowing you to carry longer items like a canoe, a surfboard or a bicycle. Some 15 compartments scattered throughout the cabin offer even more storage.
Some complaints are the plasticy, cheap-looking and feeling interior trim and adequately comfortable seats. Otherwise, the controls and all displays are simple, well-placed and very functional.
The long list of available features includes a Bose premium audio system with seven speakers and an amplifier; a slew of connectivity features such as wireless capabilities, USB ports, Chevrolet’s touchscreen MyLink infotainment system that’s compatible with Apple Siri and Stitcher SmartRadio; and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
The only engine available is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. As with the other GM vehicle equipped with this powerplant (the Buick Encore being one), these figures can be deceiving. With oodles of low-end torque, the 1.4 turbo feels far more powerful than it really is.
Climbing foothills is no problem for the little Chevy, but power does taper off a bit at highway speeds. The base Canadian-spec model comes standard with front-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual transmission, but most buyer will certainly go with the optional six-speed automatic (6T40 Hydra-Matic). An all-wheel drive setup is also available and can be especially useful in the winter.
U.S.-spec models are only offered with the automatic transmission, which, even though it liked holding onto higher gears, proved just as smooth as the engine.
Ride and handling is as expected of a vehicle built for the masses — composed with some understeer and body roll when cornering. Steering is relatively precise and lively, while the brakes delivered great results.
All said, the Chevrolet Trax delivers a relatively capable, versatile and refined package for an everyday car. It’s just too bad it looks bland inside and out.
New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Gets RS Treatment, Turbo Engine
The Chevrolet Traverse lineup has received a sportier touch in the form of the new Traverse RS.
Unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the Traverse RS is the first Traverse to get a turbocharged engine, one that makes 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that helps the three-row, seven-passenger crossover deliver an expected EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.
The RS treatment appears to be more of an appearance and comfort package than it is a performance-focused one, adding blacked-out exterior trim and such standard equipment as HID headlamps, active shutters, an eight-inch infotainment system, heated seats, Bose audio, and unique 20-inch dark wheels. It doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, nor does it have it as an option.
The Chevrolet Traverse RS is currently available in the United States with a $43,095 MSRP (including freight).
New, 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 Sets Lap Record At VIR, Crushes Ford GT
The all-new, 2019 Corvette ZR1 coupe, with its ridiculous performance figures, screams “record-beater,” so it comes as no surprise that it set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with a time of 2:37.25.
VIR is a technical and challenging circuit that’s often dubbed the Nürburgring of America. The previous record-holder, the Ford GT (2:40.02), unseated the Dodge Viper ACR (2:38.62) to become king of the track, a title it didn’t hold on to for long.
The only updates to the record-setting Corvette ZR1 were the addition of a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses. Everything else, including the eight-speed automatic transmission and the ZTK Performance Package that adds the adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning, either come standard or are part of the production car’s options list.
Of course, we would be remiss not to mention what powers the 2019 edition of this beast — a supercharged LT5 6.2L V8 that produces 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft. of torque. Paired with the aforementioned eight-speed, it allows the American supercar to teleport from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in approximately 2.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of over 210 mph (338 km/h)!
Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, stated:
“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status. On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar — at any price.”
The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 coupe starts at $119,995 in the United States, while the ZR1 convertible kicks off at $123,995.
New, 2019 Chevy Silverado Debuts With Diesel Engine, 450-lbs Lighter
It’s hard to believe Chevrolet has been making trucks for over 100 years. To celebrate the centennial of Chevy Trucks, General Motors made the public unveiling of the all-new, 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show.
This is a clean-sheet design for the new Silverado, and GM brought its A-game. Compared to its predecessor, the truck is notably lighter; roomier all around and more comfortable; more practical and versatile; more fuel-efficient; safer; and, to our eyes, more attractive inside and out.
When Ford went mostly all-aluminum for its latest F-150, many expected GM to do the same for its next half-tonne. It didn’t, choosing instead to stick with old-fashioned steel for its fixed panels and frame. Only “Swing” panels — anything on a hinge, such as the doors, hood and tailgate — are all-aluminum.
The new Silverado is slightly bigger than the old model, boasting a longer wheelbase and slightly increased overall length. Some of that extra room went to the bed, which is now a multi-piece configuration that opens up more than six inches of lateral bed space wall-to-wall, giving the Silverado’s short box more raw volume (63 cubic feet) than even the standard-length beds of the F-150 and Ram 1500 — up to 20 percent more, in fact.
Larger cutouts in the class-exclusive CornerStep bumpers provide better accommodation for steel-toed boots, while an available 120-volt power outlet and LED task lighting make the cargo bed even more useful. As a first, there is also an available a power up / down tailgate that can be operated from the key fob, interior button or by hand.
Despite the larger size, the 2019 Silverado manages to be 450 pounds (204 kg) lighter, an impressive weight reduction considering its still mostly made out of steel. Buyers will have the choice of six engine and transmission combinations, including a new 5.3L and 6.2L V8, as well as a new 3.0L six-cylinder turbo-diesel.
The 3.0L diesel and 6.2L V8 are mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission that GM co-developed with Ford, while the 5.3L V8 and base engine (likely a V6) will make due with the existing six-speed auto.
Inside the cab, the redesigned Silverado offers more interior volume thanks to the increased length, with crew-cab models now having 3 inches more rear-seat legroom than before. Chevrolet promises improved refinement, higher quality materials and, of course, the latest safety and convenience tech, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connections.
General Motors will release full specs, pricing and sales date at a later date. Until then, what do you think about the all-new, 2019 Chevrolet Silverado?