Buoyed by the success seen with the Buick Encore, General Motors (NYSE:GM) will be bringing a similar model into its U.S. small-vehicle family, only under the Chevrolet bow tie. The Chevrolet Trax, which has been sold in Canada and Mexico since 2012, should be arriving in U.S. showrooms by early next year as a 2015 model.
“Trax offers customers another option in the Chevrolet family and will be a strong competitor in the emerging small-SUV market, which is expected to grow more than 80 percent by 2016,” Alan Batey, General Motors senior vice president of Global Chevrolet, said in a statement. “Trax also leverages our global resources and builds on Chevrolet’s strong SUV heritage.”
The Trax will be available with OnStar 4G LTE, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and all the other tech accoutrements that are becoming increasing common in new cars. Its small footprint makes it ideal for city environments, while it can still manage to house 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. It uses GM’s Ecotec 1.4 liter turbocharged engine, good for 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, and even comes available with all-wheel drive if the buyer so chooses.
The Buick Encore has done exceptionally well, even surpassing GM’s own internal expectations, so it’s expected that a more affordable yet equally utilitarian model will find success here in the States, where it will compete with Subaru’s XV Crosstrek, the Mazda CX-5, the Nissan Juke, and the Toyota RAV4 — all of which have sold quite well.
It will also be facing off with Jeep’s new forthcoming Renegade subcompact crossover, so competition will be fierce in the growing segment. The move might also signal Ford, which sells the small EcoSport in international markets, to bring it Stateside, as it’s proving to be a fertile market for the segment.
The interior shares identical dimensions with the Encore, though it’s naturally a bit more utilitarian inside — geared more for the active lifestyle, so it has less emphasis on leather and fancy trims. The dash is purpose-built and isn’t any more complex than it needs to be, which is definitely a plus for this model and its target segment. Like the car itself, it’s simple and understated, but not necessarily bland.
As for price, you can likely expect the Trax to run in the high teens to low $20Ks when it’s released next year. In Canada, it starts at 18,695 Canadian dollars, or about $16,950 going by today’s exchange rates.