2018 Chevrolet Trax

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MSRP: $21,000 - 28,800

2018 Chevrolet Trax Review

The 2018 Chevrolet Trax's mundane cabin and ho-hum performance place it solidly in the bottom half of our subcompact SUV rankings. Most of its competition is better in one or both of these areas.

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: N/A
Performance: N/A
Interior: N/A
Safety: TBD
Reliability: TBD

Pros & Cons

  • Good maneuverability
  • Supportive seats
  • Weak engine
  • Low-rent interior
  • Limited small-item storage

Is the Chevrolet Trax a Good SUV?

The Chevy Trax is an OK SUV. Its excellent turning radius makes for easy maneuverability, and its seats are supportive, but many competitors do better in other areas including feature availability, interior quality, engine power, and fuel efficiency. 

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Trax?

There are better choices than the Trax in the subcompact SUV class. For instance, the Buick Encore is a more upscale version of the Trax, though it comes at steeper price point. A cheaper alternative is the Mazda CX-3, which delivers a higher-quality interior and superior performance for nearly $1,000 less than the Trax.

Compare the Trax, Encore, and CX-3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Trax?

Chevrolet made no major changes to the Trax for 2018. If you're open to driving a used car, you should consider shopping for a nearly identical 2017 model to save money. Though the Trax was only introduced for the 2015 model year, it saw some changes for 2017 that made it a more competitive vehicle. That refresh incorporated interior and exterior design updates, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a newly standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

To research some other used Chevy Trax models, read our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Chevrolet Trax. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Chevrolet Trax »

We Did the Research for You: 41 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we take the opinions of professional reviewers and combine them with quantifiable data (reliability ratings, crash test performance, fuel economy estimates, etc.) to form a complete picture of the vehicles we rank. This 2018 Chevrolet Trax review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2015 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years’ worth of combined experience in the automotive industry. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Trax Cost?

The Trax has a starting price of $21,000 for the base LS trim. That’s in the middle of the pack when it comes to subcompact SUV starting prices. There are two higher Trax trims. The LT starts at $22,900 and offers many features, while the Premier trim starts at $27,300 and comes standard with almost everything the Trax offers.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

Chevrolet Trax Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Trax or Buick Encore?

General Motors makes both the Buick Encore and the Chevy Trax. These two subcompact SUVs have some similarities, but the Encore is a better version of the Trax. The Encore is more expensive, which makes sense considering it has more available features, a nicer interior, and a top-notch predicted reliability rating. Both SUVs earn similar gas mileage estimates (the Encore’s is slightly better) and have the same base engine, but the Buick offers a 153-horsepower engine that you won't find in the Chevy. The Encore also provides a smoother ride. If you're willing to spend a little extra, the Encore is the superior choice.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Trax or Mazda CX-3?

The Mazda CX-3's athletic performance helps it stand out in the class. This Mazda doesn't have an overly powerful engine, but it moves the CX-3 well and provides better acceleration than the Trax. The CX-3 also offers agile handling on winding roads, while maintaining a composed ride. Inside, the CX-3’s front seats are comfortable, and its cabin is one of the nicest in the class. Even better, this Mazda has a lower starting price than the Trax. The Chevy’s only true advantages are that it offers some tech features the Mazda doesn’t – like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – and it has a slightly higher predicted reliability score. That's probably not enough to justify buying the Trax.  

Compare the Trax, Encore, and CX-3 »

Trax Interior

How Many People Does the Trax Seat?

The Trax seats five people. The seats are supportive, so you'll remain comfortable on long drives. The front seats are narrow but provide plenty of head- and legroom. The rear seats only have moderate headroom for taller passengers, but they can otherwise accommodate two adults with little difficulty.

Trax and Car Seats

The Trax has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The tether anchors are in a good location, but they can be confused with other hardware. The lower anchors are set a bit deep in the seat but are otherwise usable. Overall, the LATCH system is decent.

Trax Interior Quality

The Trax’s cabin has some quality materials, but lots of hard plastics lead to a cheap feel. Some rivals have more upscale interiors.

Trax Cargo Space

The Trax has almost 19 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in use, which is enough room for vacation luggage or a cooler and chairs for when you head to a cookout. Fold the rear seats down, and you have more than 48 cubic feet, which lets you transport larger items such as a bike, a snowboard, or even some furniture. Unfortunately, there are limited areas in the cabin for storing smaller items like wallets and cell phones.

Trax Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include a Wi-Fi hot spot and the MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – connectivity features that are increasingly common but still not standard in most vehicles. Available features include satellite radio, a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system, and a sunroof.

The MyLink infotainment system is easy to use and has sharp graphics, though it doesn’t always respond well to inputs.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Trax Performance

Trax Engine: Moving Not With a Bang but a Whimper

The Chevy Trax features a 138-horsepower turbo-four engine that has an approximately zero percent chance of blowing your socks off. Acceleration is paltry, particularly with a full carload. It's generally fine for city driving, but this Chevrolet will keep you in the right lane on the highway.

Trax Gas Mileage: Average MPG Ratings

The Trax’s fuel economy is about average for the class. It earns 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Despite the average ratings, class rivals like the Buick Encore and Mazda CX-3 will save you money (not a ton, but some) each year on gas.

Trax Ride and Handling: Turns on a Dime

Maneuverability is an unquestioned strength of the Trax, and you’ll have no trouble getting in and out of tight parking spaces. The responsive steering is useful on winding roads, and there’s little body roll when taking turns. The ride quality depends on the size of the wheels; the larger the wheels, the more jarring the ride.

Read more about performance »

Trax Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Trax Reliable?

The 2018 Chevrolet Trax has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That mark is considered average for all new cars.

Chevrolet Trax Warranty

Chevrolet backs the Trax with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Many other subcompact SUVs have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Trax Safety

Trax Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Chevrolet Trax the highest rating of Good in all five crash test categories. The Trax receives a perfect five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Trax Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard. Available driver assistance features include cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Trax Model Is Right for Me?

The Trax comes in three trims: LS, LT, and Premier. All three trims feature a 138-horsepower turbo-four engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available in any trim for $1,500.

The base LS trim offers no notable features beyond the standard fare and isn’t the best choice unless you’re on a tight budget. The Premier trim comes with the most features, but it’s also the most expensive. The best value in the lineup is the LT. It’s much less expensive than the Premier, but it still offers most of the features you can get in the top trim.

Chevrolet Trax LS

The Trax LS has a base price of $21,000. It doesn’t offer much beyond the standard features, but you can upgrade to all-wheel drive for an additional $1,500.

Chevrolet Trax LT

The Trax LT starts at $22,900. In addition to the LS’ features, the LT comes with premium cloth upholstery, cruise control, remote start, and satellite radio. It also offers a few option packages. The LT Convenience package ($450) adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat and leatherette upholstery. The Driver Confidence package ($495) adds rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring. The Sun and Sound package ($1,400) adds a sunroof and a Bose audio system.

Chevrolet Trax Premier

The Trax Premier starts at $27,300. This is the top trim, and it comes with all of the features in lower trims as well as the Driver Confidence package, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and a Bose audio system. The Premier trim offers the Driver Confidence II package ($295), which includes forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

See 2018 Chevrolet Trax specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Chevrolet Trax is an OK SUV, but it lags behind the competition in many respects. It also has a middle-of-the-pack starting price, so you won't save much money by purchasing this Chevy. Many class rivals are better values, making the Trax hard to recommend.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Trax certainly has its strengths, but its weaknesses make it hard for us to recommend. As such, more recent competitors bring a lot to the table and are worth a look. The sporty Mazda CX-3 provides an engaging driving experience, while the Honda HR-V is surprisingly roomy and versatile. Buyers looking for a little more ruggedness might try the Jeep Renegade or the go-anywhere Subaru Crosstrek." -- Edmunds
  • No doubt, the 2017 Chevrolet Trax is a marked improvement over last year's model, as its refreshed styling and dashboard, as well as additional safety features, put a nice coat of polish on some of the vehicle's duller aspects. Still, the Trax labors against its remaining lackluster elements, chiefly its strained powertrain." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "A higher-quality interior and new multimedia technologies, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, boost the Trax's appeal in the explosively growing class alongside the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Subaru Crosstrek, among others." -- Cars.com (2017)
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