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Chevrolet Trax Hatchback engines, drive and performance

2013 - 2015 (change model)
Performance rating: 3.5 out of 53.5

Written by Graeme Lambert Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

There’s three engines to choose from, meaning there’s a level of Chevrolet Trax performance to suit everyone.

Smallest is the 1.4-litre petrol turbo followed by a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol and a 1.7-litre diesel. The former produces 138bhp and 200Nm, making for a 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds.

In reality it never feels quite as strong as the figures suggest; it certainly doesn’t seem to deliver the mid-range torque the spec sheet boasts it has. We’d prefer it if it was quieter as well, and overall refinement could be better.

Still, it’s leagues ahead of the 1.7-litre diesel, which greets you with vibration through the wheels and pedals, as well as a voiciferous rattle, the moment you twist the key. Things don’t improve on the move either, and as revs increase the noise turns into a booming drone, especially once 3,250rpm is reached.

Thankfully the diesel does have the required levels of mid-range torque, and in fact the performance feels relatively lively.

The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, though a six-speed automatic transmission is available also. Likewise there’s the option of front and four-wheel drive, depending on what trim level you opt for.

In Autumn 2013, The 1.4-litre petrol Turbo will become available with front-wheel-drive for the first time capable of 0- 62 mph in 9.5 seconds. Fuel consumption on a combined cycle is 47.1mpg with start/stop, which translates into 139g/km of CO2.

First up, this is not a proper off-roader. Despite having four wheel drive (depending on version) it’s designed for urban rather than extra-urban environments. There’s not much ground clearance to speak off, especially at the front courtesy of that low front bumper.

You will find a hill descent control button on the centre console, but that and the skid plate on high-spec LT trim is the only concession to its rugged image.

So you might hope that the Chevrolet Trax is more at home on the road, where its relatively compact footprint would allow you to slip through traffic with ease. And in some ways it does, the high set driving position offering a useful view forward.

However, it’s no sports car either and the Chevrolet betrays its origins with noticeable bodyroll in the bends. It’s actually quite stiffly sprung as well, and though larger bumps are dealt with admirably, smaller sharper changes in road surface crash into the cabin.

The electric steering system isn’t laden with feel and feedback, and it exhibits that strange elasticity so often found on other Chervolets and Vauxhalls.

It shares much of its architecture and basic chassis with the Vauxhall Mokka, but with subtle re-tuning of the dampers, springs and steering. However, it’s worth noting the Trax’ we drove weren’t in final UK specification, and it’s expected responses will be sharpened up by the time it hits British showrooms.