Can you honestly believe that this is the new Chevrolet Trax? I’m a bit shocked seeing what Chevrolet’s done with the nameplate. Sure, another entry-level crossover was most certainly in the cards, but I never expected it to look anything like this. The headline Chevrolet chose to run on its press site is “2024 Chevrolet Trax Delivers Beyond Expectations,” which is reasonably accurate because the current Trax is about a ton and a half of sick contained in a sad plastic bag of misery. It’s a vehicle you just dread getting at the rental car counter as you don’t even need a full hand to count its positive aspects, but you need an abacus to add up its deficiencies.
In contrast, the 2024 Trax looks quite pleasant. Not just pleasant compared to the last one, pleasant overall. In fact, it looks a lot like the current Chevrolet Blazer. The headlamps feature a split design with thin daytime running lights, yet their design works reasonably well. Along the side, strong haunches offer interesting surfacing, although the rear end is a bit strange. The hatch finishing seems a bit basic and I’m not a fan of the faux vents on RS models, but nothing out back is truly offensive.
On the inside, things are obviously built to a budget, but Chevrolet’s done a fairly good job for the price. There are proper knobs to control things, the available 11-inch touchscreen infotainment system is massive, and the air vents really do look quite nice. Some of the interior plastics look like they could be a bit hard, but do you know what? I’m okay with cheaper plastics on a cheap car, so long as the vehicle seems comfortable and cheerful. Chevrolet seems to have the cheerful bit down here, offering exactly the sort of stuff entry-level buyers really want. Job well done, I reckon.
Power for the new Trax comes exclusively from a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. There’s not a lot of it on tap, just 127 horsepower, but torque seems very alright at a stout 162 lb.-ft. All-wheel-drive isn’t an option, so this little crossover will exclusively spin the front tires. Let’s face it, unless you live in Alaska, you don’t really need all-wheel-drive so long as you have a good set of winter tires. Best of all, there’s no CVT monotony here, just a conventional six-speed automatic.
The 2024 Chevrolet Trax starts at $21,495 for the base LS model, while the range-topping 2RS and Activ trims both sticker for $24,995. That’s not even silly money, it’s about where something this size should cost. The LT trim at $23,395 is likely the best value in the range as it comes with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, rear seat USB ports, wireless phone charging, and push-button ignition. That’s a lot of kit for that sort of money. Best of all, every price I’ve mentioned includes an unspecified freight charge, so just add tax, title, and go.
Expect the new Trax to go on sale in the spring of 2023, not a particularly long wait at all. While fast, expensive cars are quite exciting, cheap stuff like this gets me equally excited. It’s incredibly difficult to build a cheap car these days, so to design one that looks pretty good, offers tons of options, and doesn’t cost a small fortune is wickedly impressive stuff. Dare I say it, I’m more excited to see these on the road than I am for the Corvette Z06. [Ed note: Wait, really? I am more excited to see the Z06. – MH]