Trax delivers versatility, long list of standard technologies

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Small crossover utility vehicles like the Chevrolet Trax are great for those who need a versatile vehicle that is easy to park and maneuver in urban areas. Trax is small, but it offers suitable cargo space for a variety of gear, a cabin with seating for up to four adults, many standard and available amenities, and it is reasonably priced.

With a starting price of around $22,000, the 2018 Chevrolet Trax includes full power accessories, remote keyless entry, backup camera, air conditioning with cabin air filter, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Chevrolet MyLink 7-inch color touch screen interface, built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, rear 60/40 split-folding bench seat, front passenger flat-folding seat, ten airbags and a theft-deterrent system.

Benefitting from a facelift last year, Trax is mostly unchanged for 2018, but it receives some new color choices, a new Redline Edition and the top-of-the-line Premier trim level now comes standard with a power sunroof, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

Trax is available in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. Each trim can be had with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

AWD requires an additional $1,500 but it not only adds more sure-footed traction, it swaps out the standard front disc/rear drum brakes found on FWD models with a better 4-wheel disc brake setup.

The base LS trim includes a nice list of standard features, but it does not offer much in the way of upgrades or options.

Because of that, I believe most Trax buyers will choose the mid-level LT trim. The LT starts at about $24,000 and adds 16-inch alloy wheels, projector-type headlamps, LED park and tail lamps, heated power side mirrors, roof-mounted side rails, remote start, satellite radio, cruise control, front passenger underseat storage and the LT opens the door for a number of available upgrades.

One of those upgrades is the new for 2018 Redline Edition (LT trim only). It features 18-inch black wheels with a red accent stripe, black mirror caps, black grille with black surround, front and rear black bowtie emblems, black beltline trim, black Trax badge with red outline and Jet Black deluxe cloth/leatherette seating.

Those who step up to the top-of-the-line Premier trim (starts at $28,295) will enjoy a power sunroof, body-color door handles, keyless operation and push-button starting, Bose premium 7-speaker audio system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, lighted visor vanity mirrors, 6-way power driver seat, heated driver and front passenger seats, leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear park assist, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

Unfortunately, forward collision alert and lane departure warning are not available in LS or LT trims.

All Trax models are powered by a 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. FWD models are rated for 25/33 mpg city/highway and AWD models are rated at 24/30 mpg.

In stop-and-go traffic, the turbo-four is adequate. However, it feels anemic and exhibits a fair amount of noise when it is pushed hard, which is what you have to do when merging or passing.

Unfortunately, more ponies, or a more powerful engine are not available. Other issues I have with Trax is that there is no center console and the steering wheel blocks airflow from the driver’s side A/C vents.

It was hot out when I tested the Trax and I was uncomfortable even with the fan on its highest setting.

Some may find Trax to be attractive and competent, but it is not my top choice in this segment.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication