Crossover & Midsize

When Compared to Its Rivals the 2021 Chevy Trax Seems Stale

There are many small SUVs in today’s market, which makes it really hard for any of them to stand out. The upcoming 2021 Chevrolet Trax, with an abundance of space for passengers and their cargo along with a decent powertrain, is part of that class. While it’s not a terrible SUV, it’s hardly at the top of its segment. How does the 2021 Chevy Trax compare to its peers? What did the folks at Kelley Blue Book like and dislike about it?

The 2021 Chevrolet Trax

The new 2021 Chevrolet Trax is a compact crossover SUV that seats up to five. There aren’t many changes in 2021. The Premier trim level was dropped, leaving the LS and LT trims. There’s also a Midnight Edition appearance package available for the LT models.

The single powertrain for the upcoming Trax is effective with its 1.4-liter ECOTEC turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 138 hp. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and is available as either front- or all-wheel drive. While it’s an efficient powertrain, it’s not a match for most of the other SUVs in the segment.

When it comes to standard features, the Trax includes four-wheel anti-lock brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, 10 airbags, electronic traction and stability control, and power mirrors. Other options include heated front seats, keyless entry, remote start, and more. 

You get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability with Bluetooth, OnStar, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. There’s also a six-speaker stereo system onboard. 

When it comes to safety features, the Trax includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts and rear park assist. 

Why the new Trax falls short

2017 Chevrolet Trax Premier is on display at the 108th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place
The Chevy Trax | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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When the Chevy Trax first launched, it filled a need in Chevy’s lineup. Now, however, it’s facing some fierce competition that does it better according to Kelley Blue Book. When compared to the likes of the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, or the Mazda CX-30, the Trax definitely falls short.

Its biggest competition isn’t even with another automaker, it’s in-house. When compared to the 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Trax pales in comparison. For starters, the new Trailblazer is now the cheapest SUV in Chevy’s lineup, and it’s meant to be a rung below the Trax in the lineup. The Trailblazer shows up the aging Trax on almost every front including the price.

While the Trax offers plenty of interior space and cargo space, the Trailblazer is slightly bigger with even more space to stash your stuff. The Trailblazer has more safety features standard and is more visually appealing. There are features the Trailblazer offers you can’t even get with the Trax. The Trax doesn’t have adaptive cruise control; standard cruise control is available, but only on the LT trim.

And since the top-shelf Premier trim level was dropped, you can’t get certain safety features with the Trax at all. You can’t get forward-collision alert and auto emergency braking which many of its peers offer standard. 

Will Chevy keep both the Trailblazer and the Trax? For now. 

The Trax’s pros and cons

KBB.com pointed out things they liked about the new Chevy Trax. While the Trax has front-wheel drive as standard, all-wheel drive is available. You also get LED daytime running lights, cloth upholstery, tinted rear windows, and remote vehicle start.

There were also a few things that KBB.com didn’t find appealing. They cited the fact that the Trax has fewer safety features than its peers. The styling cues and features offered in Trax aren’t as current as the competition either making it feel stale and behind the times. It’s spacious but not as spacious as the Trailblazer and other rivals.

Finally, there’s the price. Starting at $21,400, it costs more than the Trailblazer at $19.995. The problem is the Trailblazer is arguably a better SUV. 

While KBB.com considers the 2021 Chevrolet Trax “acceptable basic transportation,” they feel that fresher peers like the Hyundai Kona or Kia Seltos may be better options.