HOLDEN TRAX 1.4 LTZ
The Trax is one of the better value compact SUV crossovers. The base LS is normally $23,990 but look for drive-away deals. The higher spec LTZ comes with a basic 1.8-litre engine for $28,490 or a perky 1.4 turbo for an extra $1500. LTZ comes with seven-inch touchscreen, cruise control, 18-inch alloys and imitation leather sports seats.
Both engines make 103kW but the turbo 1.4 has more torque, which is available more of the time. The 1.8 with five-speed manual is a bit of a slug but the 1.4 is a little ripper. It seems to always have power in reserve. It is a little thirstier than the S-Cross, claiming 6.9L/100km. The regular six-speed automatic is much better than the Suzuki’s CVT and you hardly notice it working away in the background.
It isn’t the prettiest car around but the bulging wheel arches give it some on-road presence, as do the bright colours. Avoid the optional bonnet stripes — please. A highlight of the modern and stylish interior is an instrument cluster that mimics a sportsbike’s analog tacho and digital speedo. You sit up higher in this than the Suzuki. The seats provide good support and are trimmed with a synthetic that could pass for leather. There is good space in the second row.
It is a match for the Suzuki on the number of airbags and safety stars, rear-view camera and rear sensors, as well as lack of emergency auto braking. There is no AWD option.
Holden has had hits and misses with the handling of its imported cars over the past few years but this Trax is very good out on the road. Local engineers picked a setting for Australia and the result is a car that feels solid, has limited body roll and enjoys a corner or two. The steering is so much better than the Suzuki’s and is well weighted, responsive and accurate. It sits on 18-inch wheels but the ride is still very comfortable.