SUV of the Year

Chevrolet Trax: 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Hoping to Gain Traction in the Compact CUV Segment

Hoping to Gain Traction in the Compact CUV Segment

We Like: The standard infotainment, folding seats, highway cruise manners, five-star safety.

We Don’t Like: Its dynamics, lack of advancement for the segment.

The urban-oriented compact crossover. Who knew it would become a thing? As evidenced by our recent Big Test of six such vehicles (four of which are also represented in this contest), Chevrolet needed to jump in, and the scrappy Trax, based on the Sonic hatch, is here to represent. We first caught a glimpse of it in the Buick Encore, GM’s other, more luxurious version of the same vehicle, but the Trax is an all-new Bow Tie model powered by a 138-hp, turbocharged inline-four that can be had in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions. All get the same six-speed automatic, but only the AWD versions have rear disc brakes.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and read about the evolution of our Of The Year awards HERE.

There’s plenty to like, from the low cost of entry (it starts just over $20,000 USD) to the impressive list of standard features that includes OnStar, MyLink infotainment with a 7-inch touchscreen and integrated smartphone apps, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Siri Eyes Free voice control for iPhones, and USB/auxiliary ports. Also, if surfing or installing rain gutters is a common activity for you, the rear seats fold flat and the front passenger seat folds forward to accommodate an 8-foot “stick” or ladder. You know, all the stuff millennial shoppers or workmen/workwomen want.

The Trax drew praise from Ed Loh, who complimented, “Freeway ride comfort is good; it’s very quiet in here for the class.” It also fared quite well in our Real MPG testing, earning 28.1 mpg (8.4 L/100km) combined. The biggest challenges the newcomer Chevy Trax faced were its competitors’ distinct, brand-oriented strengths. The Fiat‘s 500X’s personality, Honda HR-V‘s clever interior packaging, Jeep Renegade‘s heritage, and Mazda CX-3‘s dynamic superiority all staked a claim in at least one specialty. The Trax stands out in safety with its five-star NHTSA ratings and value with an armful of standard feature content at a low entry price, but will it be enough?

2015 Chevrolet Trax LT
Base Price $23,320
Price As Tested $25,215
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 1.4L/138-hp/148-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4*
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Length x Width x Height 168.5 x 69.9 x 65.9
Wheelbase 100.6 in
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 3,121 lb (61/39%)
Acceleration, 0-60 mph 9.3 sec
Quarter Mile 17.1 sec @ 79.0 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 119 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.78 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 28.7 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 26/34/29 mpg
Energy Consumption, City/Hwy 130/99 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions 0.67 lb/mile
Real MPG City/Hwy/Comb 25/32/28
*SAE Certified

2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders: