The Cheapest New Chevy of 2024 Suffers From 3 Weaknesses
In a world of post-pandemic runaway inflation, the 2024 Chevy Trax has earned serious bragging rights. That’s because despite being the cheapest new Chevy in America, this subcompact SUV offers more space, more attractive styling, and more standard equipment than the previous model. Still, at the Trax’s ultra-low price point, certain compromises are to be expected. What are the 2024 Chevy Trax’s biggest weaknesses, and are they forgivable?
Overview of the 2024 Chevy Trax, an under-$25,000 wonder
At a starting price of $21,495, including destination fees, the 2024 Chevy Trax is nearly $1,500 cheaper than the outgoing 2022 model (it took a hiatus in 2023). Even if you splurge, the upper-tier 2RS and Activ trims still come in under $25,000.
Regardless of the trim level, the cheapest new Chevy packs a 137-hp turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Trax buyers also get a heaping helping of technology for their modest cash outlay. Lower trim levels have an 8.0-inch infotainment screen and active noise canceling that uses the vehicle’s audio system to counterbalance road and engine noise. Shoppers opting for the LT trim or higher get a larger 11-inch infotainment screen, digital gauge cluster, push-button start, and access to extras like heated seats and a sunroof for an upcharge.
In addition, Chevy put its Safety Assist suite in every Trax trim. Features include automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane-keep assist, and other advanced driver-assistance systems.
The 2024 Trax has 3 forgivable weaknesses
- Weak engine and transmission: Simply put, a vehicle with only 137 hp won’t set any speed records, especially when saddled with 3,000-plus pounds of weight. According to a recent Car and Driver test, 0 to 60 mph takes a leisurely 8.8 seconds on its way to a standing quarter-mile time of 16.5 seconds. The Trax’s six-speed transmission could also be criticized for being one or two gears shy of modern expectations, but take solace that at least it’s not a CVT.
- Lack of all-wheel drive: Another shortfall of the cheapest new Chevy is that it’s sold in front-wheel drive only. That’s right — no AWD option exists to placate drivers in snowy climates. Although one could argue it wouldn’t have hurt the Trax’s bargain-basement pricing to offer AWD as an extra-cost option, it could also be reasoned that the extra development and testing costs of a second driveline might have been spread across the entire vehicle range. We think it’s wholly reasonable to suggest some of that savings could be spent striking a happy medium: snow tires.
- Mediocre fuel economy: Finally, for such a small engine, gas mileage isn’t stellar. Though, certainly, part of that sacrifice in fuel economy falls on the relentless courting of chunkier crossover body styles rather than svelte sedans. Chevy says the Trax is capable of 28 mpg around town and 32 mpg on the highway.
The cheapest new Chevy has more strengths than weaknesses
Despite its single, underwhelming powertrain, there’s plenty to like about the most affordable new Chevy.
For one, it’s spacious. How spacious? It’s a full 11 inches longer and two inches wider than the outgoing model. That translates into front legroom measuring 41.9 inches and rear legroom of 38.7 inches. To put that into perspective, rear-seat passengers have an extra three inches compared to the 2022 Trax and 4.5 inches more than the rival Hyundai Venue.
A similar situation plays out in the cargo area. The 2024 Trax provides 25.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a voluminous 54.1 cubic feet with the second row folded. Overall, that’s a 12% bump in cargo capacity over the old Trax.
The 2024 Chevy Trax is also handsome inside and out. Automakers are constantly trying to one-up each other over who has the most angular, avant-garde exterior lighting, and the Trax doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It looks fresh-faced, as befits its complete redesign. The interior is similarly angular, with various shapes and textures that belie the hard plastics underneath.
Even considering its weaknesses, it’s hard to stay mad at this affordable SUV. Quite simply, the 2024 Trax is the roomy and stylish inflation fighter America needs right now.