The first thought that ran through my head upon seeing the all-new, 2024 Chevy Trax in person for the very first time was “wow, that looks good.” To my surprise, this new entry-level model drives as good as it looks. After two half days of driving, I would come to label it as “The Corvette of its segment.” Indeed, I’m well aware of the gravity these words carry.
Before I go on, a quick note: by popular demand, we have a video of our first drive review. So for those who prefer to watch rather than read, hit the red PLAY button on the video below and enjoy our first driving impressions video.
The 2024 Chevy Trax looks absolutely incredible. Great proportions, made possible by a sporty stance with a long wheelbase and a wide track, join forces with well executed details such attractive surface development, Chevy’s signature “high-eye” headlight treatment and a large front grille. No matter the trim, the new Trax has a sporty demeanor making it one of the most striking models in its segment, if not the most striking overall.
In a space occupied by such styling oddities as the Honda HR-V, Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue “hamster mobiles,” being – to use a a Zoolander reference – “really really good-looking” is not necessarily all that difficult. Luckily, Chevy designers went above and beyond when it comes to exterior styling, and it shows. The 2024 Chevy Trax is one of those affordable vehicles that make you look back at it, and that’s certainly not something that happens every day for a vehicle in this space or at this price point.
Climb inside, and the 2024 Chevy Trax presents with a driver-focused cockpit, with the center stack screen angled just enough toward the driver. The redesigned center console has a stubby gear selector, fore-aft cupholders with an integrated phone holder between them, and an optional wireless charging pad at the junction between the center stack and center console. Unlike the last-generation Trax, which ran from the 2015 thru the 2022 model years, the new one has an actual center armrest integrated in the floor console, instead of an adjustable handle attached only to the driver’s seat. The overall look and feel is a lot more cockpit-like, a substantial departure from the last-generation model.
Though the 2024 Chevy Trax doesn’t have many soft-touch materials in the cabin, designers put in the effort to make the hard plastics look upscale. The dash, for instance, wears a unique diamond pattern, while little bouts of colorful stitching on the steering wheel, shifter, and seats add tasteful contrast to the Jet Black colorway. The accent color also decorates the inlay of the outboard AC vents in a tasteful pattern.
Those intricately familiar with Chevy vehicles will know full well that the Bow Tie has had some of the most cheap, flimsy feeling air conditioning vents in the industry. Any adjustment, however, minor and careful, has not exuded much confidence. For the 2024 Chevy Trax, designers finally gave the AC vents, both outboard and below the center screen, a more sturdy and precise feel.
The seats not only look good, but are also comfortable, at least for the roughly hour-long bouts of driving I was able to do. The chairs are lined in cloth on LS and 1RS models, a combination of cloth and Evotex (leatherette) on LT, and Evotex on 2RS and Activ. Keyless entry is available on LT and standard on 2RS and Activ, while push-button start is standard on LS, 2RS and Activ.
The only demerit about the interior that I noticed are the outboard armrests, which are lined in a material that’s (almost) as hard as a rock, no matter the trim level. Should Chevy choose to address this, then it will eliminate the only negative about this overwhelmingly positive product.
City / Highway Driving
In the city, the new Trax feels nimble and agile, with the suspension and tires doing a great job of keeping road imperfections at bay without feeling overly soft or floaty. All trims get four-wheel disc brakes and performance brake lining as standard, so braking performance and brake pedal feel is confidence-inspiring.
As for acceleration, GM’s turbocharged 1.2L LIH three-cylinder, improved for the 2024 model year, and six-speed automatic transmission pair up to do a solid job at propelling this small crossover in traffic and onto highway onramps, and beyond. The Trax won’t win any races, nor is it intended to. What it will do is deliver comfortable, practical and stylish transportation. For those wondering, the six-speed feels better, delivering direct shifts compared to the rubbery feel of the CVT paired with the LIH engine in the front-drive versions of the Trax’s corporate cousin, the Chevy Trailblazer.
To that end, I’ve heard all kinds of negative comments – most from those who have never driven this vehicle to begin with – that the three-cylinder engine in the Trax (and Trailblazer) is underpowered, making it unsafe to drive, merge into traffic, etc. To those, I will say this: at no point did I feel that the vehicle was underpowered, and at no point did I feel that the power available was insufficient or “unsafe.” Given that my daily driver is a C7 Grand Sport, I know what power feels like. Chevy pegs the 2024 Trax of being capable of doing the 0-60 mph sprint in 8.6 seconds, and I have no reason to doubt that claim. So if you feel “unsafe” driving the Trax, then you’re doing something wrong, and probably should not be driving any motorized vehicle to begin with.
On the highway, the Trax feels composed and refined. Road, wind and engine noise are kept to a minimum. There’s not much vibration or harshness. The vehicle drives in a way that’s more substantial than its price or segment positioning would suggest.
It’s in the twisties that the 2024 Chevy Trax surprised me the most. In two words, the handling prowess of the 2RS model I
drove carved through the windy back country roads of Asheville, North Carolina is mind-boggling. With body roll somehow kept to a minimum, the Trax has stability and grip for days. Surprisingly, it also delivers some feedback coming through the steering. If nothing else, watch the part of our video (above), starting at the 8:20 mark for just how big a smile this thing put on my face in the canyons.
A few things help the 2024 Trax perform so well in this driving environment. The first is a solid foundation – the GM VSS-F / 9B unibody vehicle architecture. The second is a wider track, with engineers pushing the wheels apart – lengthwise and widthwise – as much as possible; this has benefits at the exterior, too. Third, the suspension: the 2024 Trax uses MacPherson struts at the front and Compound Crank at the rear, and the setup has been tuned to perfection here. Fourth, the decreased height: the new Trax is nearly 3.5 inches less tall than the last-gen model, resulting in a lower center gravity and better handling. And fifth, the tires: the 2RS model is equipped with a set of (very attractive) 19-inch Black-painted machined aluminum wheels wrapped in a set of Continental ProContact TX all-season rubber, which has very little sidewall. The Contis are also TPC-spec, meaning that the compound used in these tires is not a typical one found in off-the-shelf ProContacts. Instead, the compound was modified by GM/Chevy engineers specifically for the Trax. Put together, all of these things enable the 2024 Chevy Trax to zip around twisty asphalt in a way that I never expected a subcompact entry-level Chevy, all without sacrificing comfort during normal driving.
It was this that spurred me to call the new Trax the Corvette of its segment. No, it’s not because the Trax will win any races, but because it handles so amazingly well. In the twisties, catching up to vehicles with a lot more “performance chops” was a breeze, and no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get the Trax to really break its grip or lose its composure – qualities I enjoy daily in my C7 Corvette Grand Sport. I challenge anyone to find a more agile and dynamic $25K vehicle in this segment.
With the introduction of the 2024 Trax, GM will continue to field two entries in the mainstream subcompact crossover space (B-segment crossover segment). The first is the Trax, while the second is the Chevy Trailblazer.
Despite being in the same general space and sharing a vehicle architecture, the Trailblazer looks much more rugged and has an upright aesthetic compared to the sleeker Trax. To that end, the Trax is also available exclusively with the turbo 1.2L engine and front-wheel-drive, while the Trailblazer can be had with a more powerful turbo 1.3L L3T engine and all-wheel drive. The powertrain and various content/feature-level differences between Trax and Trailblazer will result in the two models attracting different customers, thereby transacting roughly $5,000 apart. For its part, the Trailblazer received a midcycle refresh for the 2024 model year, making it even more competitive than it was before.
Success Story, Loading
All in, the 2024 Chevy Trax represents a Herculean improvement over the last-gen model in every single area. Compared to its predecessor, it’s bigger, looks better, has a more comfortable and modern interior, can be loaded with technology (depending on the trim level), and drives and handles like a dream. In fact, something about this car reminded me of the now-discontinued Chevy Cruze hatchback after the first day of driving. The following day, product planners explained that the new Trax was envisioned as a spiritual successor to the Cruze from the very beginning of its development. Makes sense.
Barring any unforeseen events, the new Trax will be a massive success story for General Motors and Chevrolet. It’s the right vehicle at the right price point and at the right time. I just wish GM would fix those hard door armrests.
Trim level walk / starting MSRP
- LS / $21,495
- 1RS / $23,195
- LT / $23,395
- 2RS / $24,995
- Activ / $24,995
- Turbocharged 1.2L I-3 LIH gasoline engine
- 137 horsepower
- 162 pound-feet of torque
- Six-speed automatic transmission
- Front-wheel drive
- GM Changwon plant, South Korea
- GM VSS-F / 9B