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.
2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE Is Faster With New 10-Speed Auto
Because excellence is not always good enough…
The 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE is now faster than ever thanks the application of a new 10 speed automatic transmission.
According to Chevy, the new automatic transmission makes the critically-acclaimed sports car faster than the manual equipped version, allowing it to lap General Motors’ 2.9-mile Milford Road Course more than one half second faster.
Engineers were also able to shave off several seconds from their previous Nurburgring lap times set with the six-speed manual ZL1 1LE.
“This transmission is optimized for speed,” said Camaro Chief Engineer Mark Dickens. “With unique Track Mode calibrations and 10 gears, you are always in the perfect gear when rolling on or off the throttle. You may not be a professional race car driver, but now you can shift like one.”
The calibrations for the transmission, electronic limited-slip differential and traction control system were tweaked to achieve the best performance, while the front and rear Multimatic DSSV dampers have been tuned to accommodate the quicker shifts in weight transfer.
As a reminder, the Camaro ZL1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 that produces 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. Pricing for the 2019 Camaro ZL1 1LE starts at $64,695 in the United States,. Opting for the new 10-speed auto adds $1,595 to the price.
12 Second-Tier Classic Muscle Cars To Consider For Your Collection, Part 2
These American classics made a name for themselves in a field dominated by Mustangs and Corvettes.
In Part One of our article on second-tier muscle cars, we looked at six of 12 models that are certainly considered genuine muscle cars but failed to make the waves that some of their bigger-engined brothers did. Here are the remaining six lesser known gems of the muscle car era.
1967 Dodge Coronet R/T
The R/T was a special model produced to make a statement. While a more domestic version with a 440 CID engine was available, buyers had the option of a monster.
Yes, according to , the Dodge Coronet could be optioned with the 426-cid Hemi. Drivetrain options were Mopar’s excellent heavy-duty three-speed TorqueFlite automatic or a four-speed manual.
1964 Mercury Marauder
The debuted in the middle of 1963 to take part in the horsepower wars. It was available with the 390, 406, and 427 cubic-inch engines, which could be paired with a 3-speed or 4-speed manual, or a 3-speed automatic.
1968 Chevrolet Biscayne 427
The all-new 1965 Biscayne was available with just one engine, a 250 cu in inline-six. That all changed in 1966 when the in-line six became the entry level engine, replaced by the Big-Block 427 cu in V-8 as the top engine.
The high-powered, high-revving 425 hp V8 version with solid lifters proved to be what the doctor ordered.
1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 Sport Coupe
Introduced in 1964, the Pontiac Catalina was 2+2, a full size coupe based on General Motors’ iconic B-body chassis. It sourced its power from a 421 cu in powertrain with dual exhaust, heavy duty front springs, a 3-speed synchromesh manual transmission (a 4-speed with a Hurst shifter came as an option), and a 3.42:1 performance axle ratio.
1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400
Built by Pontiac from 1967 to 2002 — yes, it was around for that long — the Firebird was a very capable machine. Two Ram Air 400 cu in engines were available for the 1970 model year: The first was the L74 Ram Air III model (335 HP) and the second was a 345 hp LS1 Ram Air IV (370 HP) that were carried over from 1969.
The was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.4 seconds.
1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
The Fairlane Thunderbolt introduced in 1964 as a limited production, factory experimental model. A total of 100 units were produced — forty-nine featuring a 4-speed and fifty-one making due with an automatic — which was enough to secure Ford the 1964 NHRA Super Stock title.
The Thunderbolt’s combination of Ford’s light weight, intermediate-sized body with a “high rise” 427 cu in V8 powertrain and dual Holley four-barrel carburetors proved to be a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR.
Chevy Corvette Gets Big Price Increase For 2019
The C7 Corvette remains a popular sports car even though sales are declining. If you’re hoping to get one, you better act fast.
Kerbeck Corvette in Atlantic City, has revealed that some versions of the 2019 Corvette are getting a for the 2019 model year. The starting price of the base Corvette Stingray has increased by $405 to $55,900, a small differential that gets much bigger as you move up the Corvette range.
For example, the 2019 Z06 coupe now starts at $80,900, representing a $1,405 price hike, while the range-topping ZR1 shoots up by $2,500 to $125,400. Have a look at the price differential for each model…
Chevy has also raised the price for the 8-speed automatic transmission, which now costs $1,995 compared to $1,725 previously.
It’s not clear why the prices were raised across the board, especially since Corvette sales continue to decline.
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