For the beaten tracks
For most of us, the SUV has redefined motoring. Once there were only big tough wagons but now we have medium-sized models, compacts and, with the Trax and its ilk, we have subcompacts.
Falling within the broad definition of a SUV, the Trax is really a high-riding hatch aimed at city dwellers, whose interests do not lie in exploring the bush.
The Trax, based on the Barina hatch platform, employed engines from the Cruze. There were two models, the LS entry-level and the LTZ with all the fruit.
Despite its compact dimensions it didn’t feel small in the front seats where there was surprising legroom and, thanks to the high stance, plenty of headroom, even for tall people.
The high stance also meant good all-round vision, which is one of the features that so appealed to those in city traffic where this is so crucial to safety. It also meant that it was easy to get in and out for older folks wanting to downsize.
Room in the rear wasn’t so generous but was acceptable for occasional use with good headroom making up for restricted leg space.
The story was better in the boot, particularly with the folding rear seats that provided flexible load options.
There was also an array of storage options for small bits and pieces, with door pockets and some underfloor storage, and a quartet of cup holders.
Grey plastics used inside were hard but were easy to clean for parents with messy kids.
Initially, power came from a 1.8-litre four-cylinder, which was adequate for the task without setting the world on fire. In 2014 it was joined by a 1.4-litre turbo four, fitted only in the LTZ.
Transmission options were a five-speed manual or six-speed auto in the LS. The LTZ had only the six-speeder.
On the road the Trax was light and easy to drive. Its small size and tight turning circle meant it was easy to manoeuvre and park.
The ride was firmish, particularly for those in the rear, who would have had a bumpy ride over speed humps.
Trax owners are warm in their praise for the car. It does what they expect of it and so far isn’t letting them down.
It’s important, however, to understand its limitations and don’t buy one if it doesn’t fit your needs. It’s best around town where its size and manoeuvrability come into their own, making it a great second car for the family — but don’t buy one if you have more than a couple of kids.
Certainly don’t buy one if you have ideas of touring the country and going off-road. It’s a front-drive hatch, not a bushbasher.
Owners are happy with the build quality and the reliability. They are also happy with the servicing costs — with capped price servicing you’re up for only $185 per visit, which is every nine months or 15,000km.
When choosing your secondhand Trax make sure it has an up-to-date service history.
It’s early days yet in the Trax’s life (on average a 2013 model will have 80,000km100,000km on the clock) but be aware a timing belt change is due at 150,000km.
It’s worth checking with a Holden dealer to ensure recall works have been done.
Noel Allsop My wife wanted a small SUV, something that was nimble, easy to drive and park. We chose the 1.8-litre LTZ. It has plenty of power and good fuel economy, the cabin is nice and you can load heaps with the seats folded flat. Ken Petersen I love the Trax’s high seating position. It has good all-round vision and is easy to park with the reversing camera. It’s quiet and comfortable, the cabin is nice and the performance is quite good. So far it has been reliable. Allan Thomas My wife loves her 1.8-litre manual LS. It goes well, it’s easy to drive and is comfortable. The capped price servicing and five-year warranty are bonuses. Kathy George I bought my LTZ because it was good value for the money and great for a second family car. It’s comfortable and has been good for us with two kids.
Small, roomy and reliable city car for the commuter, couples or small family.