Chevrolet Trax

There is only one engine and transmission choice available for the 2018 Trax, but Chevrolet has chosen the drivetrain wisely. The Trax utilizes an extremely fuel-efficient 1.4L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Despite its diminutive size, this engine makes 138 horsepower, plenty to pull the relatively light Trax along at a brisk pace when coupled to the standard 6-speed automatic transmission. With an EPA rating of 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, the Trax burns fuel more like a compact car than an SUV.

Buyers are offered a choice of three different trim levels as well as the option of front- or all-wheel drive, which costs $1,500 extra and is available across all trims. The LS trim is relatively basic, the LT trim occupies the mid-level, while the high-end Premier trim offers plenty of luxurious touches.

Buyers will likely be surprised by many of the features that come standard on the base LS, ensuring that even the most basic Trax to leave the showroom factory is a competent and feature-packed vehicle. Standard features include an infotainment system with a built-in 7-inch touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi hotspot technology, a rearview camera, power windows and door locks, Bluetooth audio streaming and a USB port with MP3 playback abilities. Drivers and passengers can also upload photos or videos via the USB port to be displayed on that big 7-inch screen.

The LT trim looks a little more aggressive, with several cosmetic enhancements, including 16-inch alloy wheels, some additional exterior chrome trim, tinted rear windows, roof rails and a painted lower skid plate applique. Other enhancements that come with the LT trim include heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, SiriusXM satellite radio and nicer cloth upholstery for the seats.

The Premier trim comes with front fog lamps, even more exterior chrome, including chrome door handles, a 6-way power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, leatherette seating surfaces, a leather wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Bose premium sound system and rear park assist.

Safety features across the lineup include 10 airbags, power-assisted anti-lock brakes, traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Rear park assist is standard on Premier trims and available on LT trims, but all trim levels have a rear-view camera.

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Chevrolet's subcompact Trax crossover is being refreshed after only about a year and a half in the US, as the company is quick to remind anyone who'll listen. But it's not like General Motors decided to accelerate the car's development. In reality, the Trax has been on sale in other parts of the world since 2013, so the interval isn't out of the ordinary.

As far as mid-cycle refreshes go, the 2017 Trax update is on the mild side. Its front and rear fascia are all new, evoking the same style as other recently tweaked models such as the Malibu and Cruze. The whole thing looks more contemporary, if only because the previous set of headlights looked very 2010.

The Trax's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts out just 138 horsepower, but it feels far peppier than the more powerful 1.4-liter in the Cruze. This ute is quick to spring to action, with its conventional six-speed automatic staying largely in the background, although its shifts can feel a little slow at times.

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