It's hard to think our little orange 2015 Holden Trax LTZ long-termer has been part of the CarAdvice Melbourne team for three months. But alas, it's time to say goodbye...
During its time with CarAdvice Melbourne, the Holden Trax has seen some 3000km worth of errands and photo shoots including a drive to Port Campbell, a trip to VicRoads, and a starring ‘behind the scenes’ role as support car for Mazda 2 Old v New and our recent five-door hot-hatch comparison between the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV, Peugeot 308 GT and Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Feedback from the team has been largely positive, if not a little surprised that the Koren-built SUV is actually quite a fun thing to drive. It’s not perfect by any means, but it certainly holds its own in many ways when compared to newer and ‘cooler’ competitors, such as the Renault Captur.
And its those competitors that help define a case for the Trax. It’s not old but its certainly not the newest fighter in the compact SUV segment. The model was launched at the 2012 Paris motor show and didn’t hit Australian roads until mid-2013. That makes the ‘ageing’ Holden Trax less than two-years old – you can hear the Volvo XC90 chuckling in the background.
Time moves fast and the growth of the compact SUV segment has been nothing short of heroic. Looking at June data, sales increased 14.4 per cent from 2013 to 2014 and a further 26.6 per cent in 2015. What really makes the Trax look dated though is a sales decline of 5.7 per cent. It’s like being last year’s winner on The Voice – you were hot, and now you are not. Being cool is a fickle thing. And lets not forget, cool sells cars.
While we had the Trax under our care, the Renault Captur, Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 all ‘popped in’ for reviews. Although we didn’t run the Trax against any of the newcomers in a specific comparison test, we couldn’t help but see how the slightly older Holden fared against the new in-crowd.
The Mazda CX-3 is a bit of a favourite in terms of design and driver enjoyment. It looks modern and smart and tends to offer a sporty feel when driving both in town and out. It is small though – that 246-litre boot isn’t quite ready for family duties and when you opt for higher spec models, the price can get up there.
The Honda HR-V has driven a bit of a sales renaissance for the Japanese brand, and while not quite as ‘funky’ as some rivals, it provides a pretty solid and complete package. It’s bigger than the Mazda, but a little less punchy and generally softer.
To the Renault Captur, with its 24 colour combinations, quirky interior style and overall European flair. It doesn’t win too many numbers arguments but it certainly looks ‘street’ and that doesn’t hurt.
So where does that leave the Trax?
The new kids on block all have plenty of positives, but the Holden can still counter when it needs to.
It’s bigger and quieter than a CX-3. It’s better value than an HR-V, and it's more powerful and cheaper than the Captur. No silver bullet, but a worthwhile compromise over some important buying factors.
I once described the Trax as being like a pair of sneakers – something that looked the part even if it might not have been able to act the part. It’s an analogy that still works. Against the Mazda’s Onitsuka Tigers and Renault’s Pumas, the Holden Trax is a pair of Reeboks: not quite as cool and not quite as fashionable as the others but still very capable and generally better value.
And value across the board is where the Trax works best.
We had no problems with the little Holden during our ‘ownership’ period. The plucky 1.4-litre turbo returning an overall average of 10.8 litres per 100km on urban cycle – up on the claimed 8.9L/100km but we certainly ‘explored’ the zippiness of the 103kW engine more than a few times.
What’s more, towards the end of our term with the little Holden, it flagged a service requirement on the dash and went in for its nine-month checkup. A quick call to our local Holden dealer had it booked in within a couple of days and, thanks to Holden’s capped-price servicing program, the service was completed for $229.
Fair to say too, we were offered coffee and a lift back to the city from the dealer (City Holden in Port Melbourne for those playing at home), for an all-round low-stress experience. As well as an oil change, they washed the car, topped up the wiper fluid and provided a comprehensive report – and all was done within a couple of hours.
Service complete, it was only a matter of days before 'Traxy' was lovingly returned to Holden, his long-term role fulfilled.
There was no emotional farewell – like when we returned our much-loved Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV dubbed 'Ralph' – but more a sense of satisfaction that the Trax had arrived with less than grand expectations and departed holding its bright orange baby SUV head high.
The 2015 Holden Trax LTZ is a good little car. It does everything mostly well, with a cheery demeanour and an inherent fun nature. There is a lot of choice in this segment but if value is a big factor in your purchasing (particularly with the model tending to feature prominently in Holden’s special offer marketing), we're sure you can negotiate strongly from the already sharp $28,890 list price. Happy buying...
Click on the Photos tab for more 2015 Holden Trax LTZ images by Tom Fraser.
2015 Holden Trax LTZ
Date acquired: March 2015
Odometer reading: 12,625km
Travel since previous update: 1285km
Average fuel consumption since previous update: 10.8L/100km