What Does the Chevrolet Trax Compete With?

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

If there’s a “Most Improved” award for this year’s crop of cars, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax clinches it.

The littlest Bow Tie crossover went from a frumpy lump to a stylish long-roof this year. With a simplified, front-drive-only powertrain lineup, the Trax has become spacious and comfortable, all while being something of a deal. Even the top trim barely crests $27,000 ($31,000 CAD) including destination.

We called the Chevrolet Trax one of the best vehicles for the price in our recent review. It’s so good, in fact, that the Trax can—and should—be compared to vehicles outside of its own sub-compact SUV segment. Here’s a short list of the vehicles you should be cross-shopping against the Chevrolet Trax.

Direct Competitors: Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Venue, Kia Soul

Trax Advantages: Space, content, refinement

Trax Disadvantages: Fuel economy, price (just barely)

The smallest SUVs out there all have something in common: sticking to front-drive for the cost and efficiency benefits it provides. The Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Venue, and Kia Soul are all boxier than the Trax, which gives all of them slight second-row headroom advantages. Only the Soul can compete with the Trax’ next-size up rear legroom though: both offer at least 38.7 inches (983 millimeters) of the stuff, or over four inches (102 mm) more than the Kicks and Venue.

The Trax’ other advantage? Refinement. The only model equipped with a turbo engine and actual gearbox, the Chevy exudes big-car vibes in this quartet. Pair that with a nicely styled cabin and the best infotainment of the lot and it’s easy to see why the Trax is the pick here. This is the only comparison where the Trax can come off as pricey, and only just: in all four respective top trims, the most-expensive Soul ends up a couple hundred above the Chevy.

Hatchbacks: Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic

Trax Advantages: Space, price, infotainment

Trax Disadvantages: Power, fuel economy, driving dynamics (against Civic)

One could certainly make the argument that the Trax is basically a car—a hatchback, even. So then how does it compare to the two best-selling compact hatchbacks on the market?

It’s down on power, to start. Both the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic use heartier 2.0-liter four-cylinders, hooked up to either CVTs or, in the case of the Civic, an optional six-speed manual. An optional turbo engine in the Honda gives it even more oomph, but that’s on the EX-L and Sport Touring trims, which pushes its price tag up to $30,000 in the US. Both Japanese cars offer substantially better fuel economy, as well—the Corolla can hit 41 mpg (5.7 L/100 km) on the highway.

A five-door Corolla XSE is roughly $1,000 more than an optioned-up Trax, roughly matching it hit-for-hit in terms of features—with more standard safety kit—and even including a few added niceties like dual-zone climate control. There’s a big sacrifice on space, though: with just 29.9 inches (759 mm) of rear legroom, the Corolla hatchback is very tight.

The Civic Sport is a similar price, and certainly the driver’s choice. This mid-level trim sacrifices a few features however: no blind-spot monitoring nor cross-traffic alert, and the 7.0-inch infotainment screen is basic at best. You won’t find a wireless charger in here either (it’s locked to the top trim only), something both the Trax and Corolla offer.

Family Squabble: Chevrolet Trailblazer

Trax Advantages: Price, space

Trax Disadvantages: No AWD

With its major glow-up, the Trax is now stepping on the toes of its big brother Trailblazer. It’s true, there’s a lot of overlap: both offer roughly the same amounts of space for both people and their things. With the Trailblazer getting its own facelift this year, you can even get both of these Baby Bow Ties in many of the same colors! On the tech front, these two are also at parity.

Why move up to the Trailblazer? The available AWD, for starters. While the stock engine is the same in both models, the Trailblazer also offers a slightly more powerful 1.3-liter engine, producing 155 hp and 174 pound-feet. Stick with front-drive and you’re saddled with a CVT, however; the AWD model gets a nine-speed auto. The options list is structured differently as well, separating out adaptive cruise control with the upgraded sound system. The Convenience package adds in automatic climate control—something standard on Trax—but does introduce a useful power liftgate.

Boiled down to a single dollar value, a front-drive, 1.3-liter Trailblazer Activ with feature-matching options is $4,270 than the equivalent Trax Activ, and that’s before the pano roof.

Cheapest New Car With AWD: Subaru Impreza

Trax Advantages: Price, space, refinement

Trax Disadvantages: No AWD

Alright, the Trailblazer has put you on the right trail now—you know AWD matters for your next buy. Staying thrifty, the most affordable new car with AWD is over at the Subaru dealership, in the shape of the new Impreza.

The mid-level Sport trim is the pick here, priced from $26,115 including destination. The Subaru’s important interior measurements are all around the same, the one big sacrifice being two inches of rear legroom. Cargo space is also down about 20-percent with the seats up, but equal with them down. The Sport makes do with Subaru’s anemic 2.0-liter flat-four however, and only comes shacked up with—yep, you guessed it—a CVT.

While the Impreza’s infotainment and standard safety kit align well with that of the Trax, you’ll have to pay extra for heated seats, RCTA and lane-change assists, and a power moonroof, all part of one bundle. Same for the wireless charger, and you won’t find rear USB ports on this trim. All together, this loaded Impreza Sport would require $28,414.

The Nicest Used Camry You Can Buy

Trax Advantages: Warranty, creature comforts

Trax Disadvantages: Unknown half-life

How about skipping new cars entirely? The options become almost endless in the used market, which is finally, kinda, sorta looking like normal again. We could spend all day hunting for unique deals, but for completely rational transport, it’s hard to beat a Camry. A $27,000 ceiling can net you a barely-used gas model, or a three-year-old hybrid. It’s neither exciting nor filled with cutting-edge tech, but a Camry is about as indestructible as modern transport gets.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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  • AladdinSane AladdinSane on Jan 03, 2024

    The only things lacking with the new Trax is a Complimentary Maintenance feature. That would really make it stand out even further from the rest of the crowd, speaking for myself! Plus I wish Chevy would offer an advanced audio system, maybe Bose or whatever, with a subwoofer.