Holden Trax LS 2018
Compact SUVs are not created equal and they all do not follow the same production path. Some, like Holden Trax, are undoubtedly a domestic toe. When it arrived in 2013, the faucet just turned on and the water slowly heated up.
At the time Holden, Ford and Toyota were still making cars in Australia, the affair with Mazda3 had just entered its stage and the automotive world was emerging, blinking, from the worst of the GFC.
Trax’s production path is an interesting one – based on Barina hatch, GM has bet each way with its slightly compromised approach.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 7/10
For MY17, Trax has followed the knife to innovate modernization. I quite like the eight-bit Super Mario vibe of the original, but it’s no age. This one is based on the nose of the Chevy Trax (as opposed to the slightly different Opel Mokka version) and it certainly changed the car. It’s a bit more mature, and while out taking photos, I was asked by many passers-by what it was.
The new grille is way better than the old one, and the entire effect is less bluffing. The grille extends a long way down and makes the car look taller – and from the front – bigger than it. The side configuration has not changed and the rear lights also have a bit of passing.
Inside, there’s a bigger change, with the quirky motorcycle-style instrumental band that has replaced the more mature dash layout. The old case has a bit of a laugh, but looks cheap (the better selection of materials might have overcome that) so the new case is a welcome change. The whole dash looks better and is also made better – the old glove box lid is catastrophic.
How realistic is the inner space? 7/10
Trax people like to be different but perhaps welcome to have six cupholders. Passengers in the front seat get the lion’s share, with four – two loops and two squares. Rear passengers get a pair in the rear center armrest.
Boot space starts at a reasonable 356 liters with the seats up, more than doubling to 785 liters when the seats are down. Unpleasant, you have to flip the seats before folding 60/40 but the reward is flatter than the conventional cargo floor. Passengers will appreciate the LS’s reasonable ride comfort and they may also enjoy the decorative fabric. Synthetic leather in the above models is not as bad as it goes, but the fabric is more comfortable and less slippery. Of course, Trax’s oddity about the 220 V power supply continues to surprise and delight (for devices up to 140W).
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10
LS is a somewhat confusing proposition. For a number of reasons, the manual comes with a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine with 103kW / 175Nm. The automatic, as if begging you to avoid the manual, comes with a better 1.4-liter turbo engine with 200Nm.
Our LS car is priced at $ 26,490, a sum of $ 2500 compared to the manual which almost shows the turbo engine is a free tool. In your LS, you’ll use 16-inch alloys and enjoy cruise control, air-conditioning, reversing camera, remote central locking, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights (halogen), rearview and heating mirrors, electric windows around, fabric trim and a tire repair kit.
Other technical changes on the auto include rear disc brakes to replace drums in the manual.
Like every Trax, the ‘MyLink’ system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, a curious absence in most other compact SUVs, except for Hyundai Kona. It’s a 7.0-inch screen, with decent hardware, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Six speakers are a bit on the cheap side, but do the job.
What are the important stats for engine and transmission? 6/10
The 1.4-liter turbo generates 103kW – equivalent to 1.8 without turbo – but adds 25Nm for a total of 200Nm. Importantly, both numbers come lower in the rev range, resulting in lower fuel consumption figures.
How much fuel does it consume? 6/10
Holden claims 6.7L / 100km on the combined cycle but as with other Trax turbo variants, I have struggled to put consumption figures into single digits, with the best 10.1L / 100km I have. manageable during the week.
What does it like to drive? 6/10
While 1.4 is a much more pleasant proposition than 1.8, the shortcomings of its jack-up platform mean it’s still a bit noisy.
The basic Trax, riding on 16-inch wheels and balloon-like tires, is a slightly quieter and better machine than the LT or LTZ. In most other ways, though, the LS auto is identical. The clumsy driving position is not my or my wife’s favorite and we have different proportions – she has short legs, I’m long to fit my modest 180cm frame. The difficulty was the result of Trax’s rapid introduction from the Barina platform. Some things cannot be maneuvered best and so the relationship of the two pedals and the steering wheel is a bit tense.
The steering is not bad and you can’t look out – the straight side glass and large windshield mean that the road is yours to survey at a reasonable height instead of dizziness, with seats and tall churches. Okay, the roof is like a chapel.