2017 Holden Trax review: Quick drive

$18,590 $22,110 Dealer
  • Fuel Economy
    7L
  • Engine Power
    103kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    164g
  • ANCAP Rating
    5Stars

It wasn’t that long ago that we had a Holden Trax as part of our long-term vehicle fleet. We remember it as being cheap, cheerful and fun to drive with its turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The only real negatives we spoke of had to do with the infotainment system and the design, which looked a little too cheerful for our liking – but styling is subjective, so we could have been wrong on that front.

Following our drive of the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze in Nashville, Tennessee, or 2017 Holden Astra sedan as it will be known locally, we had the chance to have a quick steer of the 2017 Holden Trax, which is due to go on sale locally in February.

While the drivetrains will carryover, it’s the design that has received a considerable refresh. The front end now features LED daytime running lights and a new front fascia.

A gaping grille is mated to chrome surrounds and a proudly worn Chevrolet badge. While the rear remains virtually unchanged, it’s the interior that has seen the biggest overhaul.

Interior packaging is still the same – so you get a driver’s side armrest, good leg and headroom in the front and a surprising amount of leg and headroom in the rear.

Headlining the interior changes is a new MyLink infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which will give it a significant advantage in this segment and price point. The restyled interior comes with flowing angles, chrome surrounds and a simplified button structure beneath the infotainment unit.

The seven-inch colour touchscreen also comes with 4G LTE and WiFi sharing, allowing passengers in the car to connect to the vehicle’s WiFi hotspot and share mobile data. It’s unclear at this stage whether this technology will be available on Australian delivered Trax models.

The speedometer gauge cluster has also received an update with two dials now, instead of the previous system, which included a single dial and an LCD screen.

Storage within the dashboard which existed on the previous Trax has been deleted, but the glove box is big enough to store odds and ends that would otherwise have sat in that cavity.

There’s a stack of room in the boot with 356 litres available with the second row up and 785 litres available with the second row folded. From that point of view, it’s quite a versatile hatchback cum SUV.

On the open road, the Trax cuts a sleek line. The new design is eye catching and doesn’t have that feeling of cheap and cheerful any longer. It looks modern and like a small SUV fit for a younger crowd.

In the US, Trax is available with features like keyless entry and start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert and lane departure alert. Like the incoming Holden Astra sedan, the Trax isn’t available with autonomous emergency braking, even as an option.

When it makes its debut in February, the Australian Trax will come with both a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine and the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The 1.8-litre will only be available on the entry-level Trax and only offered with a five-speed manual. The 1.8-litre engine produces 103kW of power and a modest 175Nm of torque.

Every other Australian Trax will come with the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol that carries over from the previous Trax.

The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine produces 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque. While it’s the same capacity, it’s not the same as the directly injected 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine featured in the upcoming Holden Astra sedan. It’s also restricted to 95RON fuel, which could get pricey depending on the amount you travel.

It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and while fuel consumption figures are yet to be confirmed for Australia, it currently uses 6.9L/100km on the combined cycle in automatic trim. Strangely, the 1.8-litre uses more, coming in at 7.6L/100km for the base five-speed manual model.

Although the turbocharged petrol is a confident engine, it lacks punch off the line and can feel a little sluggish at times.

Despite the engine lacking a little, the Trax makes up for it with a pleasant ride and handling characteristics that make it fun to drive and give it a zippy feel once it has moved off the line. Likewise, brake pedal feel is good and gives you enough confidence on the open road.

With only a very brief drive during our time in Nashville, we’ll have to reserve judgement on a rating until we get behind the wheel of the Trax in Australia.

When it launches in Australia, we expect pricing to remain fairly similar, with a starting price of around $24,000 plus on-road costs.