The Chore of Driving

Living in a big city like San Antonio, TX,  means having to deal with morning and afternoon traffic each day. Getting stuck in traffic can give a person a chance to let their minds wander and think freely. During my week of daily traffic jams in the 2016 Chevrolet Trax LTZ, I looked out at the four lane sea of brake lights and thought, “Do all these people care about driving?”

There are people like my brother who see driving like doing laundry, or cleaning dishes, a necessary chore. People that are not interested in power to weight ratios, peak torque figures, or whether or not the traction control can be switched off. They are more interested in comfort, leg room, styling, and number of cup holders, and lucky for them the Chevy Trax LTZ was designed for people who want easy motoring.

Exterior Design

Categorized as a subcompact SUV, the Trax looks like a crossover of a crossover. On the GM pecking order the Trax was built to fit underneath the Chevy Equinox, which is a bit bigger than the Trax but they could pass for twins from far away. If you care about styling, black is not the color I would recommend for the Trax, because it will hide the car’s body lines and make it look like a dark egg on wheels. When in reality, the Trax’s design is endearing as its size and dimensions allowed to fall into the “cute” category while not taking itself too seriously like other small SUV’s.

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Interior Design

The interior sort of reminded me of the Chevy Sonic, only more grown up. Instead of the funky gauge cluster that you get in the Sonic, you get a more formal dashboard and touchscreen display in the center console. Three cup holders lined up in-between the two front seats to allow people riding in the front, or back, easy access to their drinks. My favorite thing about the interior, and I wish more vehicles would bring back, was the driver side armrest. The Trax’s height means that it is very easy to get in and out. No need to fold yourself in order to climb in and out, just open the door and slide in as if you were sitting on a  low bar stool. The electric seats give you an almost infinite variety of seating positions, and combined with the armrest the driver can feel like he or she is sitting on a lounge chair they can drive. Very comfortable.

It has room for 5 people, in theory, and you can fold the rear seats down to give you plenty of cargo room. Unless you plan on hosting thanksgiving for an entire high school football team, you’ll never have trouble fitting your groceries in the trunk of the Trax.

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Technology

The Trax I was driving came with the LTZ interior package, so it had more interior goodies than the base trim level. It came with a center touch screen to display all your media from satellite radio and Bluetooth to the monitor for the backup camera. The electric power steering makes the steering wheel feel as light as helium balloon. You feel like you can flick the wheel one way or another like a prize wheel at a raffle, which means that you can drive this car with one finger like dialing a rotatory telephone. The steering wheel has enough buttons to make you will feel like Speed Racer in the Mark 5 as you control the Bose sound system and Hands-Free Calling while keeping your hands at 10 and 2. Well equipped for a small packaged car.

The Trax also comes with a 5 star crash test rating. With dual front and rear side mounted airbags,and  front and rear head airbags. This little SUV is built to take a punch so you don’t have to.

Specs

A four cylinder engine putting out 138 hp is what pushes the Trax down the road. Don’t expect the Trax to win any street races, and it doesn’t like to be rushed. In order to get the best out of this little engine you rest your foot on the gas pedal and let the Trax do the rest. It will climb its way up to speed while turning at 2,000 rpm and making good use of its 26mpg in the city, 34 on highway. A 14 gallon tank means the Trax can give you a range of up to 470 miles if you drive without urgency. The engine produces low end torque so you don’t need to mash the gas pedal to set off from a dead stop. You’ll find that the Trax’s 6-speed automatic transmission is capable moving the car its own with ease after tabbing the throttle. All Wheel Drive is also available on the Trax for those that want the added security or enjoy outdoor activities.

Manual transmissions were a no-show in America, but are offered in other countries where the car is sold.

Final Thoughts 

These are the type of cars that car-people usually don’t like but always recommend when their non-car savvy friends and family ask for their opinion on what car they should buy. The same way tech gurus will tell people, “just buy a Mac”, when asked what laptop they should buy and find out they only want it for streaming movies and writing school essays. The Chevrolet Trax LTZ is a small, spacious, SUV that is very easy to drive and has enough features to fit budgets from parents looking for a graduation gift to young adults looking for a started car. The Trax is a great option for those who see driving as just something they need to do in order to get on with their life. People who want a vehicle to be comfortable and easy going.

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