General Motors has unveiled a slightly larger, redesigned version of its entry-level SUV, Trax, to the public. It is much sleeker than the old Trax and has many new features. It does not drop one option, but it retains what could be the most important feature of the SUV: its low price.
The starting price for the subcompact Trax SUV is just $21,500. This is a few hundred dollars less than its current price. It’s firmly established as one of the most affordable SUVs on the market. It will be competing against the newly redesigned Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona, as well as the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the Nissan Kicks, and the Hyundai Kona. GM executives stated that all versions of the Trax will start at less than $25,000, even the flashy Trax RS models. Edmunds.com reports that the average sticker price of vehicles in America today is nearly $47,000. This means that SUVs such as the Trax are relatively inexpensive.
Brad Franz, director of Chevrolet crossover SUVs and Chevrolet cars, stated that the fact that some automakers are adding cheaper SUVs to their lineups shows there’s potential here.
Edmunds.com reports that there has been an increase in SUV models with low base prices (i.e., less than $25,000) over the past five years.
Edmunds.com editor Will Kaufman said, “I would also say that this segment has seen a dramatic quality improvement.” “Automakers are now taking it seriously.”
In the US, the market for SUVs has been shifting heavily in recent years. However, SUVs are generally more expensive than cars. The Trax is a product that allows those who desire the tall seating position and storage space of an SUV to have the option of purchasing smaller, more expensive models. Chevrolet’s $13,600 Spark is currently the most affordable of all the cars available in America. Honda and other automakers have dropped the super-cheap market for cars, believing that these customers would rather buy a quality used car.
The unveiling of the gas-powered Trax comes only weeks after GM revealed the Chevrolet Equinox EV, a $30,000 e-SUV that will be one of the most affordable on the market. The new SUVs are proof that GM’s main Chevrolet brand is determined to keep its position at the bottom of the market for cars, even though it offers models such as the Tahoe SUV and Corvette Z06, which have base prices close to $80,000, executives claim.
The new Trax will feature a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine that produces about 137 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Trax will not come in an all-wheel drive version like the current model. Only front-wheel drive will be offered on the new Trax. Franz stated that customers who desire all-wheel drive could opt for the more expensive Chevrolet Trailblazer. This vehicle has a more truck-like appearance and offers a more traditional SUV-like experience.
GM’s strategy to have two SUVs in the value-priced segment mirrors that of other companies like Hyundai. The cheapest Hyundai SUV, the Venue, has front-wheel drive only, while the more expensive Kona comes with all-wheel drive.
Both the Trailblazer and Trax share much of their engineering. The little 3-cylinder engine will also be used in the Trax. They will both be made at the same GM plant in South Korea. The Trax is slightly shorter and wider than the Trailblazer. The Trax is also slightly longer than the current Trax model and approximately two inches wider. It will be available in the Trax LT base model, but also in RS models with more sporty design features such as special wheels and a flat-bottomed wheel. Trax Activ models will sport a rugged off-road appearance with black wheels. These Trax SUVs will not have any performance differences beyond the added design features and heated front seats.
GM claims that the Trax will feature active cruise control. This can automatically maintain a safe distance ahead of cars on the highways. This is a feature normally found in higher-end vehicles. All Trax models will include active noise cancellation. This feature makes inaudible sound waves from the car’s stereo speakers, to cancel out certain noises like those coming from the engine and tires.
The Trax will be available for purchase in the spring.