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A white 2021 Chevrolet Trax is parked on a city street in front of a city skyline at sunrise.

From Past to Present: The 2021 Chevrolet Trax

Chevrolet is known for building reliable and affordable vehicles, from cars and trucks to SUVs. Chevrolet turned heads in the mid-1930s when it introduced the first SUV to the industry—the Suburban Carryall. The Carryall paved the way for future models and ultimately led to Chevrolet’s introduction of its first compact SUV—the Trax—in 2012. Fast forward to the present day, and the Trax remains one of Chevrolet’s best-selling compact SUVs. Let’s look closer at its evolution over the years and what the new 2021 Chevrolet Trax has to offer.

The Trax Takes the Road: 2012 to 2017

The small SUV segment was quickly expanding in the early 2010s as drivers were looking for more fuel-efficient options than full-size SUVs without sacrificing passenger and cargo space. Chevrolet jumped into the game in 2012 and introduced the Chevy Trax at the Paris Motor Show, where the car instantly captivated the industry. The Trax was made to deliver all of the traditional Chevy values with a modern and versatile small SUV. The Trax was designed to have a car-like feel to it while still offering all-wheel drive like other Chevy SUVs.

Engine and Performance

Officially taking the road in 2013, the first-generation Trax was in production for four years and embodied agility and performance from its aerodynamic design to its integrated roof spoiler. Offering seating for five, the Trax gave drivers the option between two different wheel sizes—16-in or 18-in—and three fuel-efficient engines with an on-demand AWD system. Drivers could choose between the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, the 1.6-liter gasoline engine, or the 1.7-liter diesel engine with an automatic or manual transmission. The 1.4-liter turbo engine produces 140 hp, the 1.6-liter produces 115 hp, and the 1.7-liter diesel produces 130 hp.

An orange 2015 Chevy Trax is driving on a road past a lake and city.

Safety and Technology

Committed to offering exceptional safety in every vehicle, Chevrolet included many standard safety features on the first-generation Trax. The early models had six standard airbags, three-point seatbelts, and a releasable pedal assembly as well as Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution, and Hill Start Assist. The LT trim package also came standard with Hill Descent Control.

The early Trax models also boast an array of technology and connectivity features centered around the standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system on the 7-in high-resolution color touchscreen display. The Trax includes the Engis BringGo navigation system as well as a rearview camera. Drivers were also impressed by the MyLink’s connectivity options that enabled them to connect their smartphones to the car, receive calls, and access photo galleries, contacts, and other media with ease.

The Trax Gets a Facelift: 2017

By 2017, the Trax performed incredibly well for Chevrolet and prompted the manufacturer to give the compact crossover SUV a facelift. This meant a long list of new features to propel the Trax even further in the market. The new Trax included four brand new active safety features, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility. At the time, the Trax offered more than most of the competitors for such a low starting price.

Engine, Performance, and Aesthetics

The 2017 Chevrolet Trax offered drivers three different trim packages—LS, LT, and Premier. These trims delivered a new sophisticated design with options like LED signature lighting, chrome accents, and 18-in aluminum wheels. As for performance, Chevrolet kept the 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine proved to be the most reliable and offers drivers 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. As of 2017, Chevrolet discontinued the diesel engine option.

Safety and Technology

Chevrolet added several new active safety features designed to give drivers more confidence behind the wheel. The standard safety features included ten airbags and a rearview camera. Additional upgrades and options vary across trim packages and include Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Departure Warning.

One of the most noticeable differences in the 2017 model was the inclusion of even more technology and connectivity features. Designed to give drivers a completely hands-free experience, the 2017 Trax features a 7-in infotainment system display that is compatible with Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. It also offers an available Wi-Fi hotspot and 4G LTE connectivity, giving every passenger the option to connect up to seven devices from smartphones to tablets to laptops.

The 2021 Chevrolet Trax

A silver 2021 Chevy Trax is shown from the rear parked in front of a pier.

The Trax has come a long way since its debut in 2012. The 2021 Trax offers an outstanding variety of features while maintaining a few key components of the original design. Still providing seating for five and plenty of agility on the road, the newest Trax is only available in two trim options—the LS and the LT. However, there are two upgrade options—the Midnight Edition, which is available on the LT, and the Sport Edition.

Engine, Performance, and Aesthetics

The 2021 model carries the same 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder engine under the hood. This means it averages the same fuel efficiency as previous models with an estimated 26 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. Drivers can also opt for an available AWD system for added confidence and performance behind the wheel.

The interior boasts the Trax’s Cargo Management system designed to help drivers efficiently store their gear and offer added room for passengers. This management system is enhanced by the front-folding passenger and second-row seats and the 60/40 split-folding second row. Because of this, the 2021 Trax offers a maximum cargo length of 8 ft and a maximum cargo volume of 48.4 cu.ft., making it ideal for drivers looking to quickly and comfortably haul up to four passengers and gear.

Safety and Technology

Earning the NHTSA’s 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for safety, the 2021 Trax continues the Chevrolet tradition of offering outstanding safety features and technology. The rear-vision camera is standard on both trim packages and is housed on the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 touchscreen display. The models also come with ten standard airbags. Other available upgrades include the Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Rear Park Assist.

Chevrolet’s commitment to safety mirrors its commitment to offering the latest technology beginning with the available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability on both trim models. The LS and LT also feature a six-speaker audio system and a 7-in color touchscreen display that’s home to the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system. Through the network, drivers experience the utmost in connectivity, thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Why the 2021 Chevrolet Trax Continues to Impress

Since its debut in 2012, the Chevrolet Trax has proven to be a serious competitor in the compact crossover SUV segment. After its facelift in 2017, the Trax earned even higher praise, and that trend continues with the new 2021 model. The newest Trax boasts the same 1.4-liter Ecotec engine and many of the same components as the early models. Still, Chevrolet has done an impressive job ensuring the Trax’s safety and technology features are cutting-edge. This is why the Chevrolet Trax continues to impress as an affordable and reliable compact SUV.