2014 Chevrolet Trax 1.8 Review

Here’s an American badged car, built in South Korea, coming to the Middle East – it’s a little 4×4

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Chevrolet Trax

[We find a new road in the Trax – click here to read]

It all seems to be kicking off in the small Crossover/SUV segment. Only a few weeks back I tested, and really rather liked, the little Indian-made Ford Ecosport – a sort of pseudo SUV. And now I’ve just come back from Seoul where I tested the Korean-made Chevrolet Trax, which is set to go on sale here at the end of March in the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

They’re almost identical in terms of dimensions, but whilst the Ecosport comes with a 109bhp 1.5-litre engine, the Trax will offer a 140bhp 1.8. And whilst the Ecosport looks like a four-wheel drive (and in some other markets it is) the Trax will in fact come here with both front and all-wheel drive offered. The Ford is priced between AED60k-80k and the baby Chevy will start from AED67k for the LT FWD and go up to AED83k for the LTZ (the higher of the two trims) with AWD.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

I’d love to get these two together at the same time in the same place for a slug fest, but for now, we are driving the Trax in the not-so-exotic freezing cold surrounds of the crammed-in capital city of South Korea.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

Chevy Trax – it’s chunky-funky!

And once we’re free of the city limits we’re cruising around and snapping shots near the border with the rather hostile North, mere metres away from No-Mans-Land and watched by full-camouflaged troops on exercise. Tanks and personnel carriers rumble along the motorways all mean and menacing. Erm… was this a good idea GM Korea?

2014 Chevrolet Trax

Trepidation and personal reservations aside, it’s actually not a bad idea at all. We car journos may be ill-prepared for political tensions, but the compact crossover is a butch little thing that easily holds its own. Its stance puts you in mind of a angrily pitbull terrier – it may be small but don’t let that fool you. The bluff front, bulging wheel arches and squared-off haunches all make it appear bigger than it is.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

This chunky-funky machine has the potency to pull off the appearance of lethal intent too. With 129lb ft of torque through the six-speed automatic transmission you get an acceleration time of 11.3 seconds. We’re in the AWD LT and whilst it feels at least as quick as that, I later discover that the better grip gives a quicker off-the-line time of 10.6 seconds to 100kph.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

What’s it like to drive?

Of course the performance is not going to startle, but it’s good enough to keep up with and ahead of traffic, as well as cruising easily on the long hauls – 130kph is no problem and it should keep going up to 180kph as its top speed. And whilst we’re gliding along, there’s a chance to take in our surroundings.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

For such a small car, there’s a remarkable amount of room inside, and it doesn’t feel quite like the tiddler it is. There’s space enough for four adults, even five at a push, with good cargo space to spare. Plus there’s underfloor storage and the back seats do the split-folding thing should you need mini-van capacity.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

Up front the trim and quality is up to par, and the instrumentation is simple, bold and clear. Same goes for the buttons and switchgear, and even though we didn’t get a chance to try the swisher LTZ as the other journos were being greedy, we didn’t really want for much. With our phones being charged and the sound-system fully jacked into the Bluetooth a bellowing classical orchestra proved the measure of the thundering tanks outside.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

The ride is firm, which is fine on the motorway, but it would be interesting to see how it copes with our roads. On the other hand, this does mean that there’s good body control when cornering and the handling is pretty accurate too. The electric power steering system could do with more feel and feedback, but the grip from the part-time all-wheel drive is reassuring.

2014 Chevrolet Trax

Verdict

So if you’re look for a looking for a compact modern crossover with style, space and street cred you’re rather spoilt for choice at the moment. There are still more cost-effective options in the market like the Renault Duster and thingamabobs from Suzuki, but this Chevy and the Ford are the new boys in the town, and they mean business. Yours for AED80k or less (yeah alright – haggle a bit!)

2014 Chevrolet Trax – The Specs

Price: AED67,000-83,000 ($18k-23k)
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder, 140bhp @ 6300rpm, 129lb ft @3800rpm
Performance: 11.3secs (FWD), 10.6 (AWD) 0-100kph, Top speed: 180kph, 7.6L/100 (est, FWD) 8.2L (est. AWD)
Transmission: Six-speed auto, front-wheel drive or part-time All-Wheel drive
Weight: 1300kg

Which Crossover or SUV would you got for if you were to spend AED80k or less? Let us know below.

One response to “2014 Chevrolet Trax 1.8 Review”

  1. Attali says:

    I Want buy and wOuld like to know what about thé 1,8 l engine with the chevrolet traxx models

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *