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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A Mom’s Review: The 2017 Chevy Trax

Here’s a car you probably haven’t considered buying – the 2017 Chevy Trax. To be honest, this compact SUV has been so overshadowed by other family-friendly Chevys like the Equinox and the Tahoe that it really hadn’t even registered as a contender for my next family car. However, I was doing a little browsing on the Chevy website and decided check it out… and now I’m actively considering buying it.

Here’s the thing in the car world – it can be very, very difficult to stand out. In a world where new makes and models are constantly flooding the market, manufacturers must constantly compete not just with rivals, but even within their own “family.” For whatever reason, it seems Chevy has neglected to spend its advertising dollars on the Trax, so the little subcompact is little known.

But should it be? Is it possible that instead of parking next to the same Ford Escapes and Honda CR-Vs over and over again, we may start seeing more Chevy Trax in the school parking lot? Let’s see if we’ve been overlooking a gem of a family car.


Safety: Above All Else

Do I really want to start off with talking about safety features? Honestly, no. But here’s the thing: give me any car on the market – I don’t care if it has the best gas mileage in the world, the most gorgeous and well-equipped interior, or if Brad Pitt comes standard as a copilot – if it isn’t one of the safest cars on the market, I’m not putting my kids in it (okay, maybe I’d sacrifice their safety for Brad Pitt, just don’t tell my husband…).

Luckily, I can cover safety pretty quickly because the 2017 Chevy Trax is a very safe car. It has a five star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and an overall score of Good (the highest rating), from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s a car you can feel confident putting your kids into and to me, that’s paramount when it comes to discussing any model vehicle.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff…


Interior Amenities (AKA: Will I want to sit in this car during yet another youth soccer practice?)

First of all – quick question: why in the world do we schedule our kids into SO many activities? I mean, sure, I’m absolutely positive that my son’s stint as a goalie at age 7 is going to get him into Harvard. Gotta start thinking about those college applications when they are still fetuses right?

But no, seriously – while no car is going to rival the appeal of taking an uninterrupted nap on your couch on a Saturday afternoon, there are certainly some interiors that make sitting around helping your cherub develop “leadership and team-building skills” more bearable. The 2017 Chevy Trax is one of those cars.

Starting with the base model LS, the 2017 Chevy Trax comes standard with a few key features for parents:

  • full power accessories (my hands are full enough of the time, just let me be lazy and move the seat without doing any real work, okay?)
  • power lumbar adjustment for the driver (hey, it’s just like going to get a massage, right?)
  • Bluetooth phone and audio (let’s be honest, the only time parents have conversations with their friends is when they’re driving to and from events)
  • OnStar with 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot (so I can upload approximately 25 photos of my kids to Facebook daily, even though I know it’s super obnoxious)
  • A six-speaker sound system with auxiliary jack and two USB ports (because I have to make my kids think I’m cool by knowing who Selena Gomez and One Direction are even though I really just want to listen to the easy-listening station all day – I’m looking at you, Michael Buble)

Additional features include: air conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear cargo cover, 60/40 folding rear seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat. Not bad for a base model, although the starting price is slightly higher than most other subcompact SUVs at $21,000.

Move up a trim level to the Trax LT (starting at $22,900) and you’ll get satellite radio, a 110-volt power outlet, rear privacy glass, remote engine start, LED taillights, a luggage rack (for when you want to hightail it to Mexico), heated sideview mirrors (for when you realize you’re stuck living in snowy New England), and a storage drawer hidden under the front passenger seat (for all of the candy you don’t want to share with your kids).

If you get super-fancy, the Trax Premier has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, advanced safety features (think blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert), chrome exterior accents and a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system. The Premium starts at $26,100. I’m going to be honest here: for that amount of money, I think you can find a better SUV. The Chevy Trax in lower trims makes sense for the price, but when you start nearing 30 grand, it might be time to consider other options.

No matter which trim you ultimately go with, you can always add to it via Chevy’s package deals. So if having a sunroof is important to you or if you really want to have every piece of safety technology loaded into your Trax, it’s doable. You’ll just have to pay a little extra for it.


Performance: I Don’t Really Care, But You Might

Look, I think it’s pretty clear where my interest in cars lies – basically – what’s in it for me? I’m not impressed by powerful powertrains. Where you’ll get me is on the inside… give me some nice amenities and I’m all yours. Or chocolate – that works, too.

Be that as it may, it does really grind my gears when I have to stop and fill up my tank. So with that in mind, let me just tell you that the Chevy Trax offers only one engine option. It’s a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Some reviewers complain that the engine isn’t powerful enough, but I’m not exactly planning on taking this car above 70 mph. I just need something that actually works and feels good to drive (while we’re on the subject, the Trax has a 3.5 out of 5 reliability ranking from J.D. Power – better than average for the class).

And as far as filling up goes, the Trax gets 25 miles to the gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. That’s just on par, if not a little better, than many of the cars in its class. Another win for the Trax.


Traction for the Trax

So moms, let’s do it. Let’s help Chevy out. Let’s band together and branch out from the normal Hondas, Toyotas and Subarus that flood the supermarket. Give the 2017 Chevy Trax a try – it might just be the perfect family car you never even knew about.