2024 Chevrolet Trax Activ
A Solid Automobile For The People
The 2024 Chevrolet Trax is a solid, all-around good, everyday car - within budget for most even at the highest trim ACTIV.
By J-F Wright
Mon, Oct 2, 2023 03:49 PM PST
Images edited by Erica Wright.
For someone who reviews a lot of different cars - many of them quite exclusive (and expensive) - the thought of driving around in a Chevrolet Trax might not seem so appealing - at first. However, if you take a look at what the average motorist is driving, the Trax seems to check a lot of boxes for a lot of folks. It’s not that you’ll see a Chevy Trax everywhere you look, but the fact is that most of us drive “normal” cars within a modest budget - even those of us who love reading about (and writing about) the newest, fastest, or most luxurious car on the market.
It’s not that we wouldn’t want whatever the top-of-the-line auto is for that particular model year, it’s just quite simply not within reach of our wallets. Instead, most of us look for dependability and usability, leaving the horsepower and exclusive features for our dreams. This is a smart way to look at car purchasing, and the great news is that you’ll still get an awesome car with lots of features. Like the Trax.
What Is The Chevrolet Trax?
The Trax is a crossover with a turbocharged 1.2L engine and space for five. It’s not really an SUV, nor is it a sedan - it’s a cross between the two. So you get some of the benefits of an SUV - a bit larger, a bit more rugged-looking, etc - together with some of the benefits of a sedan - easy to park, not a gas-guzzler, relatively smooth ride, etc.
With a fuel economy rating of 30 MPG the Monroney (that sticker on the window with the car’s price and other information) says that a buyer of this car will save $750 in fuel costs over five years, comported to the average new vehicle. Not a huge chunk of money, but not insignificant either.
Starting at $20,400, the Chevrolet Trax should be within the budget of anyone who is considering buying a factory-new car. Our review vehicle is the top-of-the-line trim level “ACTIV”, which in our opinion is well worth the upgrade since it only ups the total price to $23,900 - a steal based on what you’re getting. To splurge further, ours is fitted with the Sunroof Package and the Driver Confidence Package. The former might be a “nice to have”, but the latter is what takes this entry-level car up a notch (or three). The Driver Confidence Package includes the adaptive cruise control - something I wouldn’t want to be without - as well as a rear cross traffic alert and a lane change and blind spot alert.
Our total for the review vehicle is $26,540 - again, well within reach for most buyers - which is a great deal! What I’m basing that opinion on is that fact that I felt perfectly happy driving around in the Chevrolet Trax even knowing what it would feel like to drive around in something way “nicer” and more expensive (remember, I’m fairly used to driving around in vehicles that are three to four times that expensive). So, in essence, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax is a lot of bang for your buck.
The interior is definitely spacious enough for a family of four and it works fine for a family of five - as long as the kids are younger (but not too young) and can sit three abreast in the back seat without those large bulky child seats used by babies and toddlers.
Seats are comfortable throughout, and all the necessary buttons are within easy reach of the driver. This is, as it should be, a “regular Joe’s” car - focus is on functions and usability, with less time spent on stuff that’ll look good on Instagram. A really good sign of this is the gear selector which takes up way more space than necessary and reminds me of pretty much any standard rate rental car I’ve ever driven. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means that details like this follow the “form follows function”-rule - the engineers stuck what’s needed in the car and the designers didn’t get to inject much of their “touch”.
Features & Technology
Just because you’re only spending 25-ish thousand dollars doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get some fun tech and cool features. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are no-brainers, as are the heated front seats. Included is also the adaptive cruise control (which I wouldn’t by a car without) as well as the lane changing alert system (another highly ranked feature in my household). To round off the list is the backup camera, which not all cars in this price class have, but should definitely be one of the top features for any car-buyer.
Comfort & Handling
Will the Chevrolet Trax win any races? No. Were you even wondering that? No. Will the Trax fit my family in standard comfort and get us to our daily outings safely? Yes. Were you wondering that? Kinda. Is the Chevrolet Trax within my budget? For most of us, yes. And that means that we can buy a new car - with all that that implies - which is great news!
However, if we are longing for corner-hugging suspension and a power-indicator for our turbo, then we should look the other way. Really, talking about the handling of a standard all-around good everyday car is hard. There isn’t much going on. The Chevrolet Trax will not allow you to drive in an exciting way, nor is it meant to.
It does feel stable and controlled in all everyday driving conditions that we encountered. The ride is comfortable without being too gushy - too gushy means that the car rolls in every which way, which is really not safe. For our review we were never surprised by how the Trax handled - it’s very predictable - which is also a great thing.
There’s really no such thing as a “bad” new car - pretty much all of them are made well… If you have problems you’ve probably gotten unlucky. Throughout the Chevrolet Trax I’m met with exactly what I’d expect from a car selling for roughly 25 thousand. Solid and well thought through, the design doesn’t disappoint. In all fairness it doesn’t excite either, but I’m not expecting to get excited either. The thin - horizontal - headlights does make the Trax look more “fun” and/or sporty/aggressive. Is it? No, not really, but the design is a nice touch. The rear lights nicely round it all out, without being round at all. Viewed from the side the rear lights are actually nicely placed to catch and end the aesthetic line created by the front headlights swooping backwards.
Will the Trax turn heads in the Costco parking lot - no. But most of us don’t care. Will this Chevy make the other parents at the soccer game drool - no. But then again focus should be on the kids and the black-and-white ball, not your car. Will you be able to get to where you want to go safely and in comfort - all the while staying within your budget? Yes, and that is the point.
About The Author
John-Fredrik Wright was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer-job as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among other things the renowned "elk-avoidance maneuver") and advanced driving techniques.