NOTE: stock images have been used as none were provided by owner.
As my first car, I acquired my family’s 2013 Holden Trax LTZ in 2017. Brought brand new in 2014 during the End of Financial Year deals, I was over the moon when my family brought this car home. Before, my family drove a 1998 Mitsubishi Magna Solara that had well and truly stood the test of time.
The Trax was a huge step up in terms of specs and a downgrade in performance and space.
After moving to Melbourne, driving the Trax became a different experience altogether. Being in its natural habitat amplified the nimble and comfortable characteristics.
Originally, the atmo four-cylinder engine was attractive because of the improved fuel economy. At 1.8-litres, the engine did the job of carrying around my family along the lumpy, rural roads.
Once brought into the urban environment, fuel economy ballooned astronomically, and the engine strained to get up and going.
Fuel economy was around 7-8 litres per 100 kilometres in the rural areas, which was totally acceptable for my family at the time. Compare this to the urban average, which is around 11-12L/100km. For me, this came as a shock because I can only get around 500km before having for refuel again. Luckily the Trax only needs 91 octane petrol but can also run off E10 if you’re feeling overly cheap.
This vehicle was my family’s and my first experience with a SUV. After owning the Trax for only a few months, we were all hooked, just like the majority of new car buyers. The faux all-wheel drive look was very appealing to my parents when purchasing this vehicle, despite only being offered in front-wheel drive.
The colour of the Trax I have is the orange, which was the flagship colour of the vehicle when it was being promoted at the time. Seeing the Trax in other colours is a very strange experience, as it makes the vehicle look like a budget rental car. Even in the top-of-the-range LTZ spec, it looks extremely cheap in the basic white.
One thing that has always bugged me with the Trax is the front grille. It has never looked as ‘tough’ as the rest of the vehicle. It looks quite bubbly and does not cohesively work with the overall design.
When first hopping into the front seat of the Trax, I was delighted to see a touchscreen. Something as small as this meant so much to me because it finally meant that I could listen to something else than radio or cassettes (our Magna didn’t have a CD player…).
As the years went on, the novelty faded and I was left with a vehicle that had a laggy, lifeless interface. Currently, the lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is what bugs me the most.
On a whole though, the technology for the time is quite convenient. Highlights of these are automatic headlights, digital speedometer, leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control integration, and also 60/40 split rear folding seats.
In 2020 though, this can be seen as quite a manual car now, with all of the automation in regards to automatic safety assists and radar cruise control guidance, of which these the Trax has zero.
Behind of the wheel of the Trax is quite a demanding position to be in. Held high up off the road, this is what the majority of customers want in SUVs. Visibility for the most part is quite fine. Out the front of the Trax, there is plenty of visibility, although you cannot see the front of the vehicle. To get around this, you have to practice and become spatially aware, which is not ideal.
Additionally, peering over your shoulder in the Trax does not give much inspiration as the C-pillars are humongous. Due to this, I found that I absolutely need to use the reversing camera in the Trax as it would be extremely dangerous to not.
Once out on the open road though, the Trax really gets to spread its wings and really showcase how it can be a comfortable tourer for longer roadtrips. It sits at highway and freeway speeds comfortably with only the occasional rough bump due to the 18-inch rims.
Comparing this to urban driving, for the most part it is a comfortable experience. The steering is direct and affirming, but as the engine does not have a turbo, the Trax lacks a lot in torque, which it definitely needs. If pushed, the Trax can somewhat get into motion with some working. In stop-start traffic, basically every car speeds off ahead of the Trax, unless you essentially ‘floor it’. This lack of torque is increased when the Trax is asked to overtake a semi or B-double truck on a highway. It really struggles trying to gain speed from 80-110km/h. Due to this, it really does make you second-guess overtaking unless drastically necessary.
With a boot capacity of only 356 litres, the Trax isn’t exactly class leading in practicality. One of the only things that aids this is the fact that the rear seats do fold down.
Luckily enough, if you overlook the less-than-ample boot space, the rest of the Trax has plenty of storage options. There are large bottle holders in every single door, which is a necessary luxury on longer journeys with multiple passengers. With there being six cupholders in the vehicle, you are spoilt for choice in this category. Four of these cupholders are located where the glovebox is usually situated, which has been sacrificed for this purpose.
Even though the Trax does seat five people, I would not recommend this because it can get very tight in the back. For the most part though, I do the majority of my driving by myself which means all of this is currently irrelevant to my personal life.
With the downfall of Holden, unfortunately so has the resale value of the Trax. As of now, I think I am sticking with this vehicle until something drastic happens. Overall though, this was and continues to be a solid first car for myself that has performed its duty many times. Even though I have now lost my job due to COVID-19, the Trax was amazing at being my university and work transportation. It did so with moderate ease and comfort.
I am now hooked on the SUV bandwagon and I dream about owning a Tesla Model Y. It’s kind of funny to think that a basic, plastic GM Frankenstein played such a large milestone in my life. Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing.