We don’t give an award for Most Improved New Car, but the 2024 Chevrolet Trax has us thinking it over. Chevrolet’s least expensive new vehicle has gotten a severe makeover.
The Chevy Trax has been forgettable, until now
The Trax, in case you didn’t notice it when it wasn’t noticeable, has (until now) been Chevrolet’s smallest SUV. Since the automaker trimmed the Spark subcompact sedan from its lineup over the summer, it is also the most affordable new 2023 model-year vehicle on any General Motors Canada sales lot.
The current generation Trax is so basic that the most praise our test drivers could muster was to call it “a reasonably priced subcompact SUV with generally good outward vision.” Many small SUVs look odd—it’s challenging to design a vehicle with the length and width of a subcompact car but the height of an SUV without making it look ungainly and undergrown.
The small Chevy SUV has also faced the challenge of appearing alongside better-looking rivals wearing the same badge and a similar price tag. The 2023 Chevy Trailblazer looks less ridiculous and is only marginally more expensive.
So, for 2024, Chevy has redesigned the Trax completely.
The new Trax gets baby Blazer styling
The 2024 Trax is not truly a subcompact anymore. Longer and wider than the outgoing model, it encroaches on compact SUV territory. It’s based mainly on a Chinese-market vehicle, the Chevrolet Seeker. And yes, we’ve arrived at the point where North American automakers copy their best designs from China to sell at home.
It gets its looks from Chevrolet’s two-row midsize Blazer SUV. Almost precisely. With its thin slit daytime running lights, athletic stance, and upward-curving C-pillar, the Trax is a baby Blazer. That’s a very good thing. It’s gone from ungainly to attractive.
Inside, the 2024 Trax gets a thoroughly modern cabin with a driver’s instrument screen and central touchscreen paired with big circular vents and even contrast-colour stitching on some trim levels. That central touchscreen is just eight inches in the base trim but 11 inches on higher trims.
We still see the kind of hard, glossy plastics that tend to make up inexpensive car cabins and don’t wear well, but they’re put together well. It looks like a more expensive cabin than it is, which many buyers want in this price range.
Inside, the five-passenger 2024 Trax’s 279 millimetres of extra length and 51 mm greater width than the current model translates into more room and cargo capacity, including 76 mm more rear legroom, which increases comfort for rear-seat passengers. Maximum cargo capacity increases by nearly 12 percent, with up to 725 litres of space behind the rear seats and 1,532 when the seats are folded.
The 2024 Chevy’s mechanicals are nothing special
Under the hood sits a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine making 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It sends power through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.
Canadian buyers should note that, unlike the current 2022 model, the 2024 Trax is front-wheel drive-only.
That may be the most basic drivetrain you’ll find for sale on a 2024 car, but that’s the point of budget transportation. Shoppers looking for a subcompact SUV don’t expect it to thrill them. They want a reliable vehicle under warranty that doesn’t look embarrassing. The 2022 Trax struggled to get there. The 2024 Trax gets there in style.
We haven’t seen the other entry-level SUVs for the 2024 model year, so it’s too early to compare the usual class leaders like the Honda HR-V and Kia Seltos. But we can safely say that the last Trax wasn’t a threat to them. The new Trax looks like it could well be.
When does the new 2024 Chevrolet Trax go on sale, and for how much?
The 2024 Trax is set to be available in the spring of 2023 in five trim levels: LS, 1RS, LT, 2RS, and ACTIV, with a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $21,699 in Canadian dollars.
Taking destination fees out of the equation, that’s less than the current starting prices of the 2022 Trax at $22,098 and the $23,998 Trailblazer.