Speed Dating: 2016 Chevy Trax

2015 Chevy Trax

Gas 2’s new “car dating” review format seems to be pretty well received, so far. It finds its strengths, I think, in allowing the car’s first impressions to stand alone, distinct from a more experienced conclusion later on. The “speed dating” format seems to work, too, for cars that we only have access to for a short time. This week’s speed dating article, however, is a bit different because, despite the fact that I had full and unfettered access to the 2016 Chevy Trax for over a week, I barely drove it.

In fact, I found Chevy’s “city smart SUV” to be borderline useless.

 

Definitely NOT a Family-friendly SUV


Chevy Trax child seat

This is my youngest, perched in her kickass Recaro racing child seat and ready for action. You will notice, however, that she doesn’t have a ton of legroom in the Chevy Trax and has already started kicking the snot out of the front seat. This is a new thing for her, because I’m about 5’7″ and tend to stick to something like a NASCAR driving position that keeps me close to the steering wheel. Anyone over 6′ tall can forget about putting people in the back seat.

Looking at that photo, above, you might also notice that the rear passenger foot well of the 2016 Chevy Trax is occupied by a folding umbrella stroller instead of, you know, passenger feet. That’s because the smallest stroller we own won’t fit in the Trax’ trunk. Really.

 

Basically, if you want to carry any kind of baby stroller in the 2016 Chevy Trax, you’re going to have to fold the seats down, which means this supposedly “smart” SUV is, at best, a 1-kid conveyance.

In all my years of buying, renting, and test-driving cars, that’s simply never happened. Tiny cars like the Mitsubishi iMiEV and Mirage easily accepted an umbrella stroller. Even cars like the compact Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and even Chevy’s own Sonic and Spark had no trouble fitting an umbrella stroller- or even the bigger strollers!- into the trunk. For the Trax to fail here is totally unforgivable. For its part, however, Chevy seems to be aware of the fact that its city smart SUV isn’t even remotely suited to being a family car. As such, the company isn’t marketing the Trax to families, but to people like hoarders collectors, cyclists, musicians, and artists …

2016-Trax--Small-SUV---Comp

… so, yeah. Maybe GM’s plan to market the Trax to college students more creative types will work. Assuming, of course, that they’re childless, friendless creative types who are less than 6′ tall and who can afford the nearly $30,000 out-the-door asking price of my 2016 Chevy Trax tester.

 

It Only Gets Worse From There


The 2016 Chevy Trax wasn’t made for guys like me, and that’s OK. Not every car is designed around the needs of a thirty-something semi-professional with a wife, a dog, and 2.5 kids- and that’s a truly great thing. Still, I found two other fundamental flaws in the Trax that, I believe, will make it a no-go for its target audience, too.

First, the cup holders suck.

I know, I know. That’s a pretty petty argument to make, but if you’re selling a car to “cyclists” then the car in question should be able to accommodate larger sports bottles in its cup holders, and the Trax simply cannot.

Second, there is only one USB port, hidden away in a separate “phone bin” on the passenger side of the cabin … and it was too small to fit my iPhone 6 Plus.

Granted, an iPhone 6 Plus is a large phone. And, in fairness, I do keep mine in a protective case that adds a few millimeters to its external dimensions, but the inability to accommodate one of industry’s most popular phone models in a supposedly “smart” car that’s being marketed to relatively well-off young, urban creatives is- it’s … I honestly couldn’t tell you if it was baffling, hilarious, or just sad.

The 2016 Chevy Trax, then, is a car that I wanted to like when I first saw it, but which doesn’t fit into my life. Like, at all. Or the life of anyone I know. Or the life of anyone I could think of. It is a tiny car that is probably dependable and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Other than that, I really can’t think of any reason why anyone would ever buy one.

 

Original content from Gas 2.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.