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2021 Chevrolet Trax Review: Expected Release Date, Changes, Performance, MPG, and Rivals

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

July 17, 2020 at 11:31 AM

While all the major car marques are busy in providing their cars with necessary styling and feature upgrades, Chevrolet will continue to serve the same boring Trax with a new color scheme. The 2021 Chevrolet Trax will not get any significant updates, however, the company has decided to let go of the top-of-the-line Premier Trim and add some more safety features as standard. With the trim gone, Trax's major attractions like the power sunroof and 7-speaker audio system from Bose will miss out from the 2021 model. The new Chevy Trax will face off against the usual suspect like the Mazda CX 3, Hyundai Kona, and the Honda HR-V.

The Chevrolet Trax is a subcompact crossover utility vehicle, which was primarily introduced for the Asian market in 2012. It came to the US market in 2015, greatly influenced by the success of the Buick Encore. The Trax also shares a lot with the Encore, including its Gamma II platform. And now that the 2021 model is about to be launched this year, Chevrolet has still been continuing with its First Generation and little updates. Replicating the previous models, the 2021 Trax will have the same 1.4L 4-Cylinder engine under its hood. 

The Trax this year will be coming in two trims, both having the same powertrain configurations. FWD will be standard, while AWD shall also be available. The vehicle is expected to be priced similarly as its previous model year, and it will compete with the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport, and Buick Encore. The vehicle offers a performance that is quite similar to the others in the segment, but it has a more agile handling and modest mileage than others. Its interior space and cargo capacity are also quite decent. Overall, the 2021 Chevy Trax is placed somewhere in the middle among the small CUVs in the market.

What’s new with the 2021 Chevrolet Trax?

  • No Premier trim
  • More exterior color options
  • New lifestyle package
  • Improvement in safety

What is under the hood of the 2021 Chevrolet Trax?

Under the hood, the 2021 Chevrolet Trax bears the same engine as its previous year model - the 1.4L Turbocharged 4-Cylinder engine. The Trax has been donning this same engine since its launch in the US in 2015, and it appears that Chevrolet is too satisfied with its performance to bring in any change. The 1.4L gives a decent performance indeed. Being paired with the 6-speed automatic transmission, it produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. 

The power offer by the vehicle is just perfect for taking you through the city streets for a daily commute. However, to expect anything more than that might disappoint you. The Trax will not be a trill to drive on highways, in fact, the engine there feels too weak. Moreover, at the price in which it comes, the performance of the vehicle is significantly less compared to its competitors. 

Models

2021 Chevrolet Trax (Expected)

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Honda HR-V

MSRP

$23,200

$20,640

$20,640

$20,820

Engine

1.4L Inline 4-Cylinder

2.0L Inline 4-Cylinder

2.0L Inline 4-Cylinder

1.8L Inline 4-Cylinder

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic 

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic 

CVT

Power (hp @ rpm)

138 @ 4900

148 @ 6000

147 @ 6200 

141 @ 6500

Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm)

148 @ 1850

146 @ 2800

132 @ 4500 

127 @ 4300

0-60 MPH (Sec)

9.3

8.6

10

9.3

Quarter mile (Sec)

16.8

16.3

17.3

16.8

The 2021 Trax will be quite sub-par with the industry standard in terms of performance. There is a very minor difference between the numbers recorded by its competitors. The Mazda CX-3 with its 2.0L Inline-4 engine churns out 148 horsepower which is the best in this comparison. In addition, the Hyundai Kona and the Honda H-RV also produce north of 140 horsepower. The Chevy has a lot of catching up to do in terms of performance. 

We cannot reasonably judge a small crossover SUV on the basis of its performance or acceleration. These vehicles are good for low-speed drives, and the situation is extremely true for 2021 Chevrolet Trax. With the 1.4L engine, the Trax takes around 9.3 seconds to complete a 0-60 MPH drag, which is on the higher side indeed. It has recorded a quarter-mile distance coverage time of around 16.8 seconds, again on the higher side. In effect, the Chevy Trax is not an outright fast car, and it does not claim itself to be one

How Well Does the 2021 Chevrolet Trax Handle?

Controlling the 2021 Chevy Trax should not be pretty difficult, thanks to the vehicle’s nimble handling and small size. The Steering of the Trax feels responsive and accurate enough to instill confidence. The vehicle handles swiftly in turns and corners, and maneuvering is easy. The Trax moreover is mostly suitable for city driving, and thus high-speed maneuvers are not to concern us much.

However, at highway speeds, the vehicle’s command over the road seems to fade in some way. The steering feels unstable and it may become difficult to control. You need to remain attentive for safely maneuvering the car during long rides. 

How many miles to the gallon will the 2021 Chevrolet Trax?

While this category of vehicles tends to return impressive fuel economies, the 2021 Chevrolet Trax seems to let down a bit. The vehicle goes around 26 miles in the City consuming one gallon of fuel, while in the Highways the number increases to 31 miles. It has a combined (city and highway) fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon. With a tank capacity of 14 gallons, the 2021 Trax gives you a total driving range of 364 miles on City roads and 434 miles on a highway. While the numbers are themselves not poor, when pitted against the rivals, they seem to be a bit low indeed. 

Models

2021 Chevrolet Trax (Expected)

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Honda HR-V

MPG (City)

26

29

27

28

MPG (Highway)

31

34

33

34

MPG (Combined)

28

31

30

30

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

14

12.7

13.2

13.2

Range (City/Highway, in Miles)

364/ 434

368.30/ 431.80

356.40/ 435.60

369.60/ 448.80

In the segment, the Mazda CX-3 has some impressive mileage of 31 MPG combined (city and highway), while the Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona also does quite well with 30 MPG combined. The Trax has the lowest among these four. However, its fuel tank capacity is maximum, allowing it to travel quite a long distance on a full tank.

What to expect from the 2021 Chevrolet Trax interior?

The cabin of the 2021 Chevrolet Trax does not have many upsides indeed. Yes, there is enough space for the passengers during the daily commute, but not adequate for a comfortable long ride. The interior quality is okay, as far as the vehicle’s MSRP is concerned, and so is the feature list. The cabin layout looks good at places, but the materials portray the cost-cutting spree for the vehicle. The seats are firm and provide decent support.

The front passenger seat has a flat-fold seat back, and the driver seat gets a 4-way manual adjuster with adjustable lumbar and an armrest. In the rear, the seats are not too cramped but it is difficult to fit three adults for longer rides. The interior controls are well organized and easily accessible from the Driver’s position. The interior features include:

Models

2021 Chevrolet Trax (Expected)

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Honda HR-V

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

39.6/ 54.1/ 40.8

38.4/ 53.5/ 41.7

39.6/ 55.5/ 41.5

39.5/ 56.8/ 41.2

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.8/ 52.8/ 35.7

37.2/ 50.4/ 35.0

37.8/ 54.5/ 34.6

38.3/ 54.5/ 39.3

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

18.7

17.8

19.2

24.3

Going by the interior space, the Chevrolet Trax takes a decent position among its rivals, above the Mazda CX-3 and at par with the Hyundai Kona. However, the Honda HR-V has more space both in front and rear, for an even more comfortable ride. One of the strongest points for the Chevrolet Trax is its cargo capacity. The vehicle holds as much as 18.7 cubic feet of cargo in the trunk, with all the seats in their places. When the rear 60/40 split-fold seats are folded down, the capacity increases further to 48.4 cubic feet, which is one of the highest in the segment.

What About the Infotainment system of the 2021 Chevrolet Trax?

The infotainment section of the 2021 Chevrolet Trax is quite impressive. It gets the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with a 7-inch color touchscreen. The infotainment is quite easy to use and gets some hi-tech features. The 7-inch screen is quite responsive and has good graphics. The audio part of the vehicle now gets only the standard 6-speaker audio system, apart from the AM/FM Stereo, Bluetooth audio streaming, and available SiriusXM. 

The optional Bose premium 7-speaker sound system has been discontinued for this model year. The Infotainment 3 system of the Chevrolet gets both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth, as well as Voice Command. There are 2 USB Ports and an Auxiliary input jack, as well as a 12V power outlet. The Steering wheel has mounted audio and phone controls. 

Will there be any changes in the exterior of the 2021 Chevrolet Trax?

The 2021 Chevrolet Trax has not received any design upgrade this model year and will be having the same looks and style as the 2020 model. However, there has been a reshuffle in exterior colors, with five previous color schemes being discontinued making way for four new hues. With these minor changes, the Chevy Trax still looks like the small city CUV, perfect for city driving and tight parking. 

It looks good, with all the Daytime Running Lights, body-colored door handles, and solar-absorbing tinted glass. The Chrome beltline moldings in the LT look even more attractive, and so do the silver-painted skid plates in front and rear. Adding the LT Convenience Package, Midnight Edition, or Redline Edition, the Trax becomes as gorgeous as ever. 

Models

2021 Chevrolet Trax (Expected)

2020 Mazda CX-3

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Honda HR-V

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3146

2851

2890

2906

Length (inches)

167.2

168.3

164.0

170.4

Width (inches)

69.9

69.6

70.9

69.8

Height (inches)

66.0

60.7

61.0

63.2

Ground Clearance (inches)

6.2

6.1

6.7

7.3

Wheelbase (inches)

100.6

101.2

102.4

102.8

The 2021 Trax is dimensionally a bit shorter in length than its rivals, though the Hyundai Kona is the shortest. However, the Trax gets the maximum ride height, although its wheelbase is the shortest. In terms of weight, the Chevy is on Heaviest vehicles in this segment with 3146 pounds. The 2021 model is also dimensionally similar to the outgoing model. 

Will the 2021 Chevrolet Trax be worth it?

The 2021 Chevrolet Trax will be coming in the market soon, and it is time to answer whether it is worth considering. From a positive point of view, the Trax has all that is needed to be a good city CUV. Its 1.4L turbo engine is weak but adequate for city commutes. It has impressive handling, and the interior is also quite spacious. The list of standard features is on par with most others. However, the vehicle lacks some good mileage, ride quality, and acceleration. Moreover, it has some strong contenders in the market like the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V. To conclude, the Trax can surely be looked at for entering this segment but choosing to buy it is a personal decision entirely.

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