While compact crossovers are the first choice for many new customers, their smaller and cheaper versions haven’t enjoyed the same success. Subcompact SUVs are the ideal choice for one or two people since they do not have the passenger or cargo space that shoppers look for when upgrading from a hatchback or sedan. Some subcompact SUVs have other strengths – expressive style or fun-to-drive, for example – to cover the lack of space. But that is not for the 2020 Chevrolet Trax. Despite an acceptable choice overall, the 2020 Trax does not offer anything unique compared to similarly priced crossovers or cars.
There are some qualities in the 2020 Chevrolet Trax, though. It’s easy to get in, generally affordable, and the tall ride height and large windows give the drivers extensive outward view preferred by SUV owners. Unfortunately, its abilities are overshadowed by its drawbacks. Passenger comfort is hampered by harsh ride quality and narrow seats. The rear seats are a bit tight, and its cargo space is less than the Volkswagen Golf hatchback. And while most rivals in the class have modestly engines, the Trax turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder fails to live up to expectations. There are several appealing small crossovers, and we recommend driving one of them before settling on the 2020 Chevrolet Trax.
TRIM LEVELS & FEATURES
The 2020 Chevrolet Trax is a subcompact SUV available in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. The base trim comes with enough standard equipment, but the LT adds more features and eligible for several optional packages. The Premier trim not only gets interior upgrades, but it also has added active safety features. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. Front-wheel-drive models have front disc brakes and drum brakes in the rear, and all-wheel-drive models get disc brakes at all four corners.
Standard equipment for the base LS trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, manual-folding side mirrors, a rearview camera, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, driver’s seat power lumbar adjustment, OnStar communications with a 4G LTE connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a six-speaker sound system with two USB ports. The optional Tint and Cruise package adds tinted windows and cruise control.
The LT trim include that package along with roof rails, upgraded headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated mirrors, remote vehicle start, upgraded cloth upholstery, satellite radio, a household-style 110-volt outlet, a cargo cover, and a storage drawer under the passenger seat.
Four optional packages are offered for the Trax LT. The Convenience package adds premium cloth upholstery with faux leather inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless ignition and entry, and a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. The Driver Confidence package includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. The Sun and Sound package adds a seven-speaker Bose stereo system and a sunroof. The appearance package Redline Edition adds black body accents and 18-inch alloy wheels painted black with red accent stripes.
The 2020 Chevrolet Trax Premier comes with all of the LT packages (except for the Redline Edition), plus 18-inch wheels, foglights, faux leather upholstery, an auto-dimming mirror, heated front seats, forward collision and lane departure warning systems.
The 2020 Chevrolet Trax pricing:
- LS: $22,295
- LT: $24,195
- Premier: $28,595
The 2020 Chevrolet Trax comfortable yet bland seats are firm enough to support the average driver, while the infotainment system is arguably better than most in its class, with easy-to-use and responsive seven-inch touchscreen display. Navigating the controls is easy, and the limited space inside the vehicle is well-utilized. However, the cabin feels boring, with cheap plastics aplenty and, on the LS model, dull fabrics adorning the seats. And if you’d want a heated front seat, you have to go for the top-of-the-range Premier model. Everything about the interior seems to be a little dated, but for those who’d like to fit three kids in the back, at least there are fewer gizmos to damage and scuff.
A commanding and comfortable seating position and good outward visibility make the 2020 Chevrolet Trax good at being the city runabout it’s designed to be, with reasonable space for five. Speaking of the seats, taller people may feel cramped, as rear legroom is poor – although the headroom is adequate. Folding the rear seats seems a little complicated, but at least getting in and out of said seating isn’t too difficult – and there is enough space in the back for everyday items to be comfortably stored.
The base Trax has the aforementioned cloth upholstery in fairly regular black, grey, or brown. Moving up to the LT will get you some smarter fabric and a lot more interior seat trim colors, as well as the option to spec the Convenience package, which includes faux-leather inserts, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and power-adjustable driver’s seat. If you splash out on the Premier trim, you get all the LT’s options along with full “pleather” upholstery, and the option to spec the Midnight Edition, which unsurprisingly decorates the interior with gloss black accents on the trim panels.
The 2020 Chevrolet Trax 48.4 cubic feet of cargo space is slightly disappointing. Yes, that is decent for its size, but compared to the vehicles it competes with, it’s less than impressive. With the seats in their upright position, that figure falls to 18.7 cubic feet. However, the Trax is equipped with a neat party trick: the front passenger seat can also fold flat, making it possible to stow bigger items like surfboards without the need for roof straps. The rear hatch is cavernous enough to load luggage easily, while the trunk floor is sufficiently low that you don’t have to be a powerlifter to get your shopping in the back.
Three cupholders up front and little compartments for odds and ends in the doors add a little more utility, while the glovebox is supplemented by small storage bins around the center binnacle. All in all, the 2020 Chevrolet Trax has 11 different storage compartments dotted around the cabin, which is a plus point in this segment.
Every 2020 Chevrolet Trax comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It’s a well-balanced combination that brings decent power, satisfying responses and useful fuel economy. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive (AWD) available as optional.
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/31 mpg (FWD), 24/29 mpg (AWD)
Test results (Trax FWD)
Zero to 60 mph: 9.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 33.6 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 9.8 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 5.0 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 17.1 sec @ 81 mph
Top speed: 115 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 164 ft
Ecotec 1.4L turbo DOHC VVT I-4
Bore and Stroke (in. / mm):
2.85 x 3.25 / 72.5 x 82.6
Cylinder Head Material:
Dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing
Sequential multi-port fuel injection with electronic throttle control
Horsepower (hp/kW @ rpm)
138 / 103 @ 4900
Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm)
148 / 200 @ 1850
Fuel Tank Capacity
14 gal. / 53 liters
Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
MacPherson strut with coil-over spring; direct-acting stabilizer bar; steel six-point rigid attachment front cross member
Compound crank (torsion beam); coil springs with twin-tube shock absorbers
Column-mounted electric power steering; rack-and-pinion gear (straight ratio)
Turning Circle (ft. / m)
35.4 / 10.8 (16-in. wheels)
36.7 / 11.2 (18-in. wheels)
Front discs/rear drums (FWD) or four-wheel discs (AWD); standard ABS
16-in. steel (std. LS FWD)
16-in. aluminum (std. LS AWD, LT FWD & AWD)
18-in. aluminum (std. Premier, LT with Redline)
P205/70R16 AL3; P215/55R18 AL3
Wheelbase (in. / mm):
100.6 / 2555
Overall Length (in. / mm):
167.6 / 4257
Overall Width (in. / mm):
69.9 / 1776
Overall Height (in. / mm):
64.8 / 1646 (without roof rails); 65.9 / 1674 (with roof rails)
Track (in. mm):
60.6 / 1540 (front); 60.6 / 1540 (rear)
Headroom (in / mm)
39.6 / 1006 (front); 38.8 / 986 (rear)
Legroom (in. / mm)
40.8 / 1037 (front); 35.7 / 907 (rear)
Shoulder Room (in. / mm)
54.1 / 1374 (front); 52.5 / 1333 (rear)
Hip Room (in. / mm)
51.7 / 1313 (front); 50.1 / 1274 (rear)
WEIGHTS & CAPACITIES
Curb Weight (lb. / kg)
3124 / 1417 (LS – FWD)
3267 / 1482 (LS – AWD)
3146 / 1427 (LT – FWD)
3292 / 1493 (LT – AWD)
3201 / 1452 (Premier – FWD)
3344 / 1517 (Premier – AWD)
EPA passenger volume (cu. ft)