2018 Chevrolet Trax

2018 Chevrolet Trax Review

A roomy interior and lots of standard tech can't overcome the Trax's shortcomings.
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The Chevrolet Trax originally debuted in the United States for the 2015 model year. At the time, we noted that it was "an affordable suburban runabout that's easy to drive, easy to park and has up-to-date technology features" but followed that with "it's not quick, though, and its interior materials are far from best in class." Three years on, the 2018 Chevrolet Trax is still easy to drive, but Chevy has addressed only part of our concerns.

Last year, Chevy gave the Trax a face-lift both outside and in and added more technology, but the underlying mechanicals weren't changed. So in spite of the improvements, the 2018 Trax's ride quality, performance and fuel efficiency all lag behind the rest of the class. After all, the Trax's biggest competitors have all either been completely redesigned or introduced fresh in the intervening years.

Still, there's no denying the Trax is priced competitively and offers appealing features such as Chevy's MyLink infotainment system as standard equipment. The interior is smartly designed to take advantage of the available space, and the seats are comfortable. Visibility is also quite good. The Trax certainly has its strengths, but its weaknesses make it hard for us to recommend.

As such, more recent competitors bring a lot to the table and are worth a look. The sporty Mazda CX-3 provides an engaging driving experience, while the Honda HR-V is surprisingly roomy and versatile. Buyers looking for a little more ruggedness might try the Jeep Renegade or the go-anywhere Subaru Crosstrek, which also offers a comprehensive suite of driver aids and active safety features.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Chevrolet Trax receives only small trim-level equipment updates. All trim levels receive the latest version of Chevy's MyLink infotainment system.

We recommend

We think the LT trim is the best deal. Among other things, it features LED daytime running lights, cruise control and rails for roof-mounted luggage racks. Consider adding the Driver Confidence package (which requires the LT Convenience package); for a reasonable price, you get extra safety technology and some interior trim upgrades. Also consider sticking with front-wheel drive unless you frequently drive in wet or snowy conditions. Otherwise, the added weight of all-wheel drive further slows the Trax's already pokey acceleration.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chevy Trax is available in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. The base LS trim has enough standard equipment not to feel stripped down, but the LT adds more practical features and has access to several options packages. The Premier trim not only gets interior upgrades, it also has added active safety features.

All three trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine (138 hp, 148 ft-lb of torque). Also standard is a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. Front-wheel-drive models have front disc brakes and drum brakes in the rear, and all-wheel-drive models get disc brakes at all four corners.

The base Trax LS comes with 16-inch steel wheels (alloys if you upgrade to all-wheel drive), power-adjustable manual-folding side mirrors, keyless entry and a rearview camera. Inside you'll find a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, OnStar communications (with a 4G LTE connection and a Wi-Fi hotpsot), Chevy's MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, two USB ports and a six-speaker sound system.

Moving up to the LT gets you roof rails, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, heated mirrors, remote vehicle start, cruise control and a storage drawer under the passenger seat. The infotainment system receives satellite radio, and a 110-volt outlet is added for the backseat area.

There are four major packages for the Trax LT. The LT Convenience package adds premium cloth upholstery (with simulated leather inserts), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless ignition and entry, and a six-way power-adjustable driver seat. The Driver Confidence package includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. Opting for the Sun and Sound package gets you a six-speaker Bose stereo system and a sunroof.

New for the 2018 Trax LT is the Redline Edition, an appearance package that adds black body accents and 18-inch alloy wheels painted black with, surprise surprise, a red line around the circumference.

The top-tier Premier trim comes with all of the LT's packages (aside from the Redline Edition), as well as foglights, 18-inch wheels, full simulated leather upholstery and heated front seats. It also gets extra active safety features: forward collision alert and lane departure warning. The only options package for the Premier is the Midnight Edition, which, more surprises, comes with black paint and black interior and exterior trim pieces.



Driving

Braking performance is average for the class, and steering is precise if numb. Otherwise, the Trax falls behind the segment in terms of performance and handling. The small engine struggles to accelerate, and the tires protest in even moderate turns.

Comfort

Comfortable seats are the high point. Beyond that, the Trax's ride quality exhibits quite a bit of choppiness, and there's a fair amount of road noise. Some competitors offer better ride quality and a more pleasant driving experience.

Interior

A smart interior layout makes the most of the Trax's relatively small — but still competitive for the segment — interior space. Visibility is good, the controls are straightforward, and getting in and out is pretty easy.

Utility

Cargo volume is less than what some competitors offer, but the rear seats are easy to fold. The fold-flat front seat provides extra space for longer items. Maximum cargo space is 48.4 cubic feet.

Technology

Chevy's MyLink system is easy to learn, and combined with OnStar, provides a robust set of features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity. Only the Premier trim gets a full suite of active safety features, but some are available on the LT.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.