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by Tim Beissmann

The Holden Trax will go on sale in Australia in around 12 months’ time, giving the local manufacturer an all-new player in the booming small SUV segment.

Set to be unveiled at the 2012 Paris motor show in September in Chevrolet guise, the Trax goes on sale throughout Europe in the second quarter of next year and is anticipated to make its local showroom debut around the middle of 2013.

Holden director of powertrain technology Simon Cassin says a number of Trax prototypes will begin appearing on Australian roads in the near future as the company’s local engineers assist General Motors’ global development program for the car.

“Holden is well recognised within the GM world for our expertise in engine and transmission calibration and we are very pleased to be involved in the development of this important vehicle,” Cassin said.

“We are working closely with the homeroom on global calibration work and of course making further refinements to ensure Trax will be well suited to Australian roads and conditions when it arrives next year.”

Holden’s Kate Lonsdale said the local tuning work was limited to powertrain engineering and did not include developing a unique suspension tune for Australia at this stage.

Neither Holden nor Chevrolet has confirmed powertrain details for the Trax, although it will almost certainly borrow some if not all of the engines and transmissions confirmed for its sister car, the Opel Mokka.

The Mokka will be available in both front- and all-wheel-drive with the option of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Depending on the market, it will be available with the choice of three four-cylinder engines: an 85kW/155Nm 1.6-litre petrol, a 96kW/300Nm 1.7-litre diesel and the 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol from the Cruze.

At 4280mm long, 1775mm wide, 1646mm tall and riding on a 2555mm wheelbase, the Mokka will be a similar size to the Mitsubishi ASX.

The Trax will become the fourth SUV in Holden’s line-up, joining the mid-sized Captiva 5, larger Captiva 7, and the more-rugged, ute-based Colorado 7, which arrives down under at the end of 2012.

It will join the sub-$40,000 small SUV segment, which has grown 61 per cent so far this year on the back of a number of new product launches (Subaru XV, Jeep Compass) and double-digit growth from established models such as the ASX, Nissan Dualis and the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Holden Trax will compete head-on with all of those vehicles, as well as the new Ford EcoSport (also due mid 2013), and is expected to hit local showrooms with a starting price around $25,000.

More details will be revealed closer to the new SUV’s local launch.




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