2024 Chevrolet Trax Activ Review – A Surprising Bargain

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2024 Chevrolet Trax Activ Fast Facts

1.2-liter turbocharged inline three-cylinder (137 horsepower @ 5,000 RPM, 162 lb-ft @ 2,500 RPM)
Transmission/Drive-Wheel Layout
Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPG
28 city / 32 highway / 30 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, L/100km
8.3 city / 7.4 highway / 7.9 combined. (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$23,900 (U.S.) / $31,030 (Canada)
As-Tested Price
$26,540 (U.S.) / $32,620 (Canada)
Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $2,100 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The Chevrolet Trax was once on my short list for worst vehicles on the market.

I remember some years ago, before joining TTAC, going to San Diego for the launch of the first-generation Trax. All I could think was that the little runabout was something to be avoided unless you just wanted cheap transport in crossover form.

The 2024 Chevrolet Trax Activ remains affordable, but unlike its predecessor, I actually enjoyed driving it. With the previous gen, I would’ve felt embarrassed to own one. With the current one, I’d not avert my eyes downward and mumble the name “Trax” if someone asked what I drive.

Let’s be clear upfront lest you accuse me of huffing paint during my off hours – the Trax is still no sports car or luxury tourer. It’s not going to be lusted after. But it’s no longer a cynical exercise in filling every segment, nor is it any longer a penalty box.

No, now it’s a sub-$30K small crossover that’s appointed well enough and relatively engaging to drive. Oh, and it’s fuel efficient. Perhaps not the worst choice for the urbanite who needs something cheap and easy to park.

It’s no burner – I’d not expect a ton of punch from a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder making 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Indeed, acceleration is probably the weakest component of its driving dynamics. It’s not super slow – it holds its own in traffic – but passing and merging will require a little bit of patience.

Where the Trax surprised me, pleasantly, was with ride and handling. Especially handling. Yes, it is a crossover, so you get some body roll, but the turn-in is sharp. The steering is a tad artificial in flavor, but its weighted well and accurate. The stereotype of the nimble urban crossover applies here.

It’s not all about the drive, either – the interior design is interesting, if not attractive (beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all), and the feature list is nice. Even the materials feel relatively nice for the price point – not upscale, but better than you’d expect given the MSRP.

The angular interior design may or may not be your cup of tea, but it does allow for an integrated infotainment screen.

Of course, buying downmarket often means drawbacks, and the Trax’s biggest flaws are slightly cramped quarters and a bit too much noise. And while the interior materials generally feel nicer than you’d expect, there are some occasions in which the vehicle doesn’t feel screwed together super well – a trait I’ve noticed on other inexpensive GM models in the past.

My test unit came equipped with remote start, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and starting, active noise cancellation, satellite radio, 8-inch digital gauge screen, 11-inch infotainment screen, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, LED headlamps, rear spoiler, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, and a rearview camera.

That was for $23,900. Options included two packages – one that included a sunroof and wireless device charging, and another that included rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert with side blind-zone alert, and adaptive cruise control.

The as-tested price was $26,540.

Unlike the first time I drove a new generation of Trax for the first time, I found myself charmed. No one is going to desire this vehicle – no one is going to put Trax posters on a bedroom wall or as wallpaper on their phone’s home screen – but if you need affordable wheels and/or the utility that’s offered by a small crossover, you won’t feel punished because you chose to, or had to, spend less than 30 large.

Affordable value that doesn’t totally sacrifice fun. What a concept.

[Images: Chevrolet]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Geozinger Geozinger on Jan 07, 2024

    We purchased a 2024 Chevy Trax in October of 2023. Ours is a 2RS model which has some equipment differences than the Activ model that was tested for the article. Mostly small stuff, I have a manually adjusted 6-way driver’s seat, 19” 245mm width tires (rather than the 225mm width tires on other models) and the RS appearance package which is different body parts and such. I had been interested in the car since I heard about it over a year ago. It has a lot of stuff that I like, a regular automatic transmission, manually adjustable seats, a real spare tire (not an inflator kit) a huge amount of cargo space in the back too. Plenty of standard equipment, a heated steering wheel, heated seats and dual zone automatic climate control. It also has the 11” wide touchscreen and digital dash, of which I’m not a fan. I find them kind of silly, but my wife wanted them. We bought the sunroof and the driver’s confidence packages, which most importantly gets us the blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert.

    We wanted an inexpensive car, as prices have accelerated out of control. With my wife working from home, it hasn’t accumulated many miles yet (~1800), but the car seems to fit us well. Both of our other vehicles are 14 and 15 years old now, so it was time. My wife took the car to Pittsburgh shortly after delivery (about 425 miles) and averaged about 30 MPG on a green engine. Not much better than my 2.4L Pontiac G6, but neither car delivers great fuel mileage the way she drives, either. The car is surprisingly quick for such a tiny motor, IMO. OTOH, we're not drag racing this thing, either. I've been surprised at how easily this thing gets up to extra legal speeds, with not much drama.

    We originally started looking at the Ford Maverick, but they’re rather scarce and the waiting list is/was a year-long. And the pricing we were seeing was MUCH higher than advertised; dealer add-ons were quite substantial. We gave up on that idea rather quickly. We bought the car sight unseen, as the dealers are selling them as soon as they get off the trucks. We wasted time with several Chevy dealers in our area, most of them wanted hefty deposits to hold the car, which I have always refused to do. We did find a dealer who wasn’t into playing those games finally. We got ours with a few options which pushed it into the $27.5 range, but I’m not unhappy with the car. It has all of the stuff we wanted on a new car at a reasonable price, compared to some other models.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 08, 2024

      Glad you're happy with it but nearly $30K with TTL for even the loaded one of these gives me pause.

  • Geozinger Geozinger on Jan 08, 2024

    @28-Cars: In this neck of the woods, you will pay at least 30K with TTL for most any new car these days. I'm happy with this car.

  • Jkross22 The contrived, forced, overproduced jokes and antics were fun 15 years ago, but it's been the same thing over and over since. The last few years of Top Gear were heading this direction and the 3 were phoning it in. They should have either done something completely different and tried something new. Instead they played it safe.
  • SCE to AUX "...identified during our rigorous validation process"Not so rigorous, if they ended up on dealer lots. 🙄
  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly like...de-badged Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.