Readers of Jalopnik, I would like you to affix me for a quick thought experiment. I would like you to ask your self: how a lot automotive do I really want? I would like you to emphasise the “want” and ignore all of the issues you may want however might do with out. Strip away the surplus horsepower, the surplus house, and the surplus choices. I can assure that almost all of us, if we’re being sincere with ourselves, will find yourself with a automobile fairly rattling just like the 2024 Chevrolet Trax — an economic system SUV I had the pleasure of driving final month.
Let me run you thru the specs rapidly: I had the 2024 Chevy Trax Activ, which is the top-of-the-line trim. A base mannequin Trax begins at round $21,500, however the Activ trim kicks off at just below $25,000. With $1,940 in choices (within the type of the sunroof package deal, ‘driver confidence package deal,’ and zesty paint job) and a $1,095 vacation spot charge, my take a look at automobile clocked in at $26,935.
Perhaps it’s the “grew up poor in Michigan” in me, however I usually discover myself supremely out of my depth in luxurious automobiles. I swapped out an Alfa Romeo Stelvio for my Chevy Trax, and getting within the cockpit of the home crossover was like a breath of contemporary air. It was easy. It was relaxed. I didn’t must navigate by way of numerous infotainment menus hoping to seek out the setting I wanted to direct airflow; it was a fast flip of a knob and a press of a button. I turned heads largely due to the Cayenne Orange paint job, however nobody was assuming issues about me due to the the badge on the trunk.
Our intrepid reporter José Rodriguez Jr. examined the Trax earlier than I had my press automotive, and I’ll go away it to him to offer you extra particulars concerning the crossover’s massive refresh and share his impressions. However I do have some extra so as to add, since I had my mortgage automobile for about six extra days than he had his first-drive machine.
I put the 2024 Trax by way of the Elizabeth Blackstock paces, which is to say I took it for a cruise on a few of rural Texas’ most poorly maintained roads, loaded it up with groceries, squeezed it right into a parking zone in downtown San Antonio, left it on the airport, and requested everybody in my whole life to journey with me so I might get their ideas. And I used to be impressed.
I really like the auto trade’s wholehearted dedication to innovation on all fronts, however I’ve to be sincere: it’s so good to get behind the wheel of one thing that feels acquainted and intuitive. The primary 90 minutes I spend with any press automotive is spent getting a way of it earlier than I even press the throttle. Can I join Android Auto with ease? Can I discover the local weather controls, or do I must seek out a menu for that? Is the infotainment system jam-packed with menus and submenus and layers and screens? Can I navigate by way of my choices and return again house in a pinch? Do I even know what a few of these automaker-specific function names even imply?
Relying on the automobile, the entire above is usually a little tedious, and I nearly at all times discuss my husband by way of it out loud to get a really feel for the automotive and its controls. I’ve discovered that really talking these cues to myself (i.e. “the temperature is managed by a knob, however the fan is managed by these buttons beneath it; I’m nonetheless undecided how you can change over from heating to cooling”) helps me make a psychological map. And typically, even that isn’t sufficient.
The Trax, although, isn’t fussy. Inside 5 minutes of getting behind the wheel, I felt assured that muscle reminiscence alone would allow me to handle any enterprise I’d must handle whereas driving. A part of that’s, in fact, as a result of I’ve reviewed my fair proportion of Normal Motors merchandise, so I’ve seen how the controls and display menus have advanced — however that’s why I wish to ask my household or my neighbors to return for a cruise. If they will work out the controls with out a lot wrestle, I can really feel assured saying others can do the identical.
And that was the case right here. My neighbors rapidly got here to grips with the know-how regardless of being a Ford-only household. My dad and mom had been capable of do the identical regardless of studying the nuance of infotainment methods in Toyotas. The inside felt just a little low cost to everybody, however after I instructed them the value, my take a look at topics modified their opinion and felt that it was extra consistent with their expectations.
Once I was driving it, too, I used to be fairly content material. Was it the best journey of my life? No. But it surely was fairly rattling good. The seating place was low sufficient that it felt like I used to be driving a automotive (which is a welcome change for somebody as brief as me merely attempting to exist on this period of huge SUVs). On tough rural roads, the Trax was softly sprung sufficient to soak up lots of the gnarly potholes and bumpy surfaces, however I additionally felt like I had full management after I was taking a decent activate the freeway. I had sufficient security know-how, like lane hold help and computerized braking, to really feel nicely protected, however I additionally wasn’t flipping by way of numerous screens to determine how you can activate some weird-ass type of local weather management. I used to be just a little unhappy giving the Trax again to the fleet firm, it was only a completely sound all-around day by day driver that was additionally fairly enjoyable.
Just a few weeks in the past, a UK survey famous that model loyalty is dropping quickly as shoppers start to see automobiles extra as “white items,” like dishwashers and fridges, than coveted brand-name objects. Individuals simply want a automotive, so that they purchase one that matches their wants and price range.
It’s most likely sacrilege for an automotive journalist to confess it, however I put loads of credence in that mindset. Sure, I’ve spent my cash on some “enjoyable” automobiles, however my main motivation has been performance. I wanted a small automotive to park in Austin, TX, so I purchased a Mazda 2. I wanted one thing able to hauling shit and letting me reside out of it, so I purchased a Chevy Suburban. I wanted a solution to study stick alone time, so I purchased a Pontiac Firebird. I let aesthetic style and driving pleasure information my final buy, however I used to be, primarily, in search of operate inside a price range. There’s nothing flawed with that.
And that’s precisely what I really like concerning the 2024 Chevy Trax. It’s a fantastic automobile for freeway cruising, and it’s additionally going to get you thru bumpy filth roads with ease. It might make a fantastic commuter automotive, or a shuttle for trucking the youngsters to high school, or a spacious-but-compact automobile for anybody who finds themselves hauling issues like baggage or sports activities tools.
Positive, it may not be luxurious sufficient to detect your temper primarily based in your physique temperature. It may not be the very best off-roader you’ve ever seen. It may not be decked out in innumerable, loaded screens designed to monopolize the complete consideration of your passengers. However for $26,935, the Chevy Trax is a rattling good automotive — and there’s no disgrace in wanting nothing greater than that.