HOLDEN TRAX TEST
Associate Editor, Dean Evans finds plenty to like in compact Holden SUV, and Arna provides a young mum’s perspective.
IT’S THE SUV YOU HAVE WHEN YOU DON’T REALLY WANT A big SUV: Holden’s Trax scores updates and a 1.4-litre turbo motor across the range and proves bigger isn’t always better… or even necessary.
Small is big in the SUV market. Holden’s recent makeover for the Trax wasn’t just as much a luxury as a necessity, with the segment bulging from an increasingly crowded and competitive small SUV boom.
The likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Suzuki Vitara, Toyota C-HR, Kia’s Soul and the Ssangyong Tivoli are just some of the models battling it out in the junior SUV market.
When 4WD isn’t required, and bigger isn’t actually better, small SUVS like the Trax are a smart choice around town providing the advantages of an SUV, without the side-effects of the big ones.
The new-for-2017 Trax gets the same 1.4-litre turbocharged fourcylinder across the three-model range, all paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive, cleaning up the range that’s been on sale since 2013.
If the Trax sounds a little underpowered, it isn’t. The retro red 1980s ‘turbo’ badge on the bootlid isn’t there just for looks.
The four-cylinder puts out a modest but respectable 103kw/200nm horsepower/torque combo, and has to push around just under 1400kg.
That weight is the Trax’s biggest bugbear, with similar rivals up to 200kg lighter. Though the Trax is no slow-poke, the weight does dull the acceleration numbers a little.
Put to the test, we managed 0-60km/h in 4.1 seconds, and just managed to break the nine-second barrier for the 0-100km/h sprint, with a 9.8 second run, accompanied by a fair amount of engine noise as the revs rise through the range.
Around town, it feels lighter and faster, the gearbox’s six ratios always keeping the engine in its powerband, and on boost – pumping in around 10 to 11psi, so it’s hardly a stressed engine.
Though the automatic gearbox offers a semi-manual mode, it basically renders itself redundant. Buttons on the side of the shifter
Left: Small SUVS like the Trax are a good choice around town. Bottom: Test Trax looked smart in blue paintwork.