The Trax offers a generally pleasing set of exterior aesthetics - and is a little less overt in its styling than its Vauxhall Mokka design stablemate - which, like us, you may rather like. The bulging wheelarches add a bit of muscle to the side profile too. This car may be based on Chevrolet's Fiesta-sized Aveo supermini but it manages to offer the space of Crossovers from the class above such as the Nissan Qashqai. In fact, a Trax actually offers more loading space than a Qashqai can, with 1370-litres of room seats-down, as opposed to the Qashqai's 860-litres. Passengers will also be pleasantly surprised by the head and legroom on offer, though as usual with a car of this kind, it's not going to be possible to comfortably squeeze three adults onto the back seat.
Equipment levels will be good whichever variant you decide upon. Go for the base 'LS' variant and you can expect to find 16-inch alloy wheels, auto headlamps, daytime running lights, front foglamps, privacy glass, roof rails, power front windows, reverse parking sensors, a Thatcham Category 1 alarm, air conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone compatibility, steering wheel controls for a 6-speaker CD stereo with MP3, USB and Aux-in compatibility and Hill Start Assist. The plusher 'LT' model gains 18-inch alloy wheels, skid plates and special door sills. Infotainment is upgraded to Chevrolet's innovative MyLink Connected Radio system with 7-inch touchscreen display and Siri speech recognition. There's also an auto-dipping rear view mirror, a reverse parking camera, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, power for the rear windows, a Driver Information Centre and Hill Descent Control.
The Trax should make for a decent second family car, provided you find one that hasn't taken a battering from a supermarket trolley or worse, had its interior stained and scratched by unruly kids. Also check that the alloy wheels haven't been severely kerbed by distracted parents. Mileage is likely to be so low, so there shouldn't be any nasty mechanical surprises. Just in case, as usual you should check that the car's service history is fully stamped.
(approx based on a 2013 Trax LT 1.7 VCDi ) A clutch is under £150 and you'll pay about £10 for an air filter. A set of brake pads are around £70, whilst a new starter motor can be less than £200.
Small Crossover models like this one are really all about their high-set seating positions, their trendy Sloane Street styling and the optional possibility they may offer of off road shenanigans. As for ride and handling, well buyers in this segment don't tend to prioritise that, so Chevrolet hasn't prioritised it either. It's no surprise then, to find that this Chevy isn't quite as sharp and wieldy as a rival Nissan Juke - the steering's a little vague for that. It also has a rather firm ride which robs it of the kind of 'big SUV' polish you get in, say, a comparable Skoda Yeti. Having said all that, what the Trax can offer is a decent compromise between these two extremes that we'd expect will adequately satisfy most potential buyers.
There are only three engines to choose from: a 115PS normally aspirated petrol 1.6, a 140PS turbo petrol 1.4 and a 130PS 1.7 litre VCDi diesel. The pokier two units got the option of 4WD. This all-wheel drive set-up is the usual automatic system that normally runs the car in front wheel drive, only sending torque to the rear wheels if they start to slip.
Performance is reasonable, the petrol 1.6 making 62mph in 12.3, a figure ou can reduce to 9.5s in the turbo 1.4. As for efficiency, the petrol 1.6 is supposed to return 43.4mpg on the combined cycle and produce 153g/km of CO2 while the 1.4T returns 44.1mpg and exhales 149g/km of CO2. The diesel is even more compelling at 62.7mpg and 120g/km of CO2 while being only slightly outpaced by the 1.4T.
Offroad ability is hampered by precious little ground clearance and suspension designed very much for on road use. It won't take much to get the Trax up on three wheels if you try to climb over a mound or drive over particularly rough ground.
The bottom line is that the Chevrolet Trax is quite a stylish, spacious and well equipped small Crossover: find a well looked-after used one at the right price and it could make a very good buy indeed as an extra family runabout. Certainly, it would be a more tempting thing to live with than, say, a new Dacia Duster.
Yes, it could be better to drive - but that's par for the course in this segment. And of course, like all small Crossovers, it won't take kindly to rough use or regular off road excursions. Otherwise, for the right money, there's not much not to like here. In fact, the Trax is a model with an appeal that builds as your interest in it grows. A car very much of its time.