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Chevrolet's new compact crossover: the 2015 Trax LS (pictures)

Chevrolet's new compact Trax packs big interior space and smart tech into a small, city friendly footprint.

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Antuan Goodwin
2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
1 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The 2015 Chevrolet Trax has undergone a dramatic transformation from concept to production car reality.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
2 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The concept was an ultra compact crossover with rugged plastic trim in cute, round headlamps.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
3 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The 2015 production model has a more grown up look that is somewhere between the Sonic hatchback and Equinox SUV.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
4 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Personally, I think the look is a bit safe and generic, but at least it's not an unattractive little crossover.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
5 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

One thing that I like about the design is that the Trax appears more compact than it actually is.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
6 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Available with all-wheel drive, our base model Trax arrived in a still city-friendly front-wheel drive configuration.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
7 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Under the little Trax's hood is an even more compact 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that spins to the tune of 138 horsepower.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
8 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The Trax's 148 available pound-feet of torque isn't going to overwhelm, but the engine feels surprisingly supple and powerful.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
9 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The only gearbox that you'll find in the options list is a six-speed automatic.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
10 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

A rear camera is standard equipment for the 2015 Trax. The rear video feed features static guide lines.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
11 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The Trax comes standard with GM's OnStar telematics service with available 4G LTE connectivity and in-car Wi-Fi hotspotting.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
12 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Like another mobile blue box, our Brilliant Blue Metallic Chevy Trax proved to be bigger on the inside than its compact exterior implied.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
13 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The rear hatch pops open to reveal 18.7 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row of seats.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
14 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The second row is fairly spacious with reasonable knee room and plenty of headroom.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
15 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The seat bottoms flip forward, making room for the seatbacks to fold flat.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
16 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

All in, the Trax boasts a claimed 48.4 cubic feet of space with its rear seats folded flat.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
17 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

That's plenty of room for moving a few kegs, a mini fridge, or flat-packed Swedish furniture.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
18 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The Trax's cabin and amenities feel like a good value for this price.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
19 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The materials, fit, and finish of the cabin seems high quality... for an approximately $20,000 car. The Trax doesn't surpass our expectations for this class, but that's okay.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
20 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

One area where Chevrolet's offerings stand out is the unique approach to dashboard tech.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
21 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Chevy's MyLink infotainment system is standard and boasts a full loadout of digital audio including Bluetooth, USB, and a selection of smartphone app integrations.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
22 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

However, this version of MyLink isn't available with onboard navigation. For turn-by-turn directions, drivers must install the BringGo app on their smartphone and mirror its interface on the dashboard.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
23 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The Trax is also among the first generation of vehicles to totally ditch physical media. There's no CD slot to be found.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
24 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

I'm generally a fan of Chevrolet's decentralized, smartphone centric approach to tech, but I'd like to see some Android Auto or Apple CarPlay love for the next generation of its infotainment.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
25 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The six-speed automatic transmission features a manual shift mode that is activated with a thumb rocker switch. However, performance isn't really the point of this vehicle.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
26 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Steering wheel controls are well sorted and intuitively accessed. Voice command for hands-free calling and media selection are standard parts of the MyLink system.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
27 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Don't expect much in the way of active driver aid tech for the 2015 Trax. The rear camera, stability control, and about 10 airbags work together to keep the passengers safe, but there is no blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, or the like.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
28 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Around town, the 1.4-liter engine's good low end torque makes the Trax feel lively and responsive. 0-60 times, however, will likely suffer due to low peak horsepower.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
29 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The relatively compact footprint helps the Trax fit in on cramped urban streets.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
30 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The Trax borrows its 'motorcycle-inspired' instrument cluster from the Sonic and Spark compact hatchbacks.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
31 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The cluster features a large tachometer — which is fairly useless in a crossover that is only available with an automatic — and a digital speedometer and information display.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
32 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The digital instruments are clearly visible at night.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
33 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The liquid crystal display also retains a high level of readability in harsh, direct sunlight.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
34 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Chevrolet and General Motors' OnStar services are standard on the 2015 Trax and available as long as the driver maintains a subscription.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
35 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

The 2015 Chevrolet Trax presents itself as a good value for the dollar at its $20,120 starting price in the US.

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS
36 of 36 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Chevrolet Trax LS

Driving dynamics and head turning good looks aren't its strong points, but the 2015 Chevrolet Trax offers forward-thinking tech, reasonable efficiency and excellent space in a compact, city friendly crossover.

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